Anyone that knows me knows that I am strange. With that said, I like germs. Not that I like being sick, or seeing other people sick, but that germs help our immune systems to develop. Currently, in modern America, everywhere you go you see antibacterial this and antibacterial that. I think all of these antibacterial products are contributing to the prevalence of certain diseases such as resistant strains of bacteria. There are actually quite a few of scientific studies that back up my beliefs in this, check out this article from Scientific American for a good introduction to the concept. There is a lot more information out there about this rising problem, I encourage you to check it out.
That little rant being said, we need to be mindful of cleanliness as well. It’s no secret that many diseases are spread through contact with a sick person or animal. You can still protect yourself from these without all the added issues that come with overpopulating the world with harsh antibacterial chemicals. Many plants are naturally antibacterial and products made with these are not as harsh on both your body and the environment. Homemade, natural hand sanitizer is a great way to protect yourself from the spread of contagions. I don’t necessarily think that you should carry it around and use it after washing your hands or touching everything, but I always take some with me camping or on road trips in case I end up having nature call in a less than sanitary environment (think about those yucky convenience store bathrooms you always encounter on road trips).
A Quick Word on Ingredients
Aloe Vera gel is a great base for hand sanitizers because it is gentle on the skin and naturally both antifungal and antibacterial.
Vitamin E Oil is a great moisturizer for your skin and acts as a preservative which can prolong the shelf life of your sanitizer.
Witch Hazel is a great astringent (meaning that it tightens the tissues) which helps it to get rid of excess oils from the skin and shrink down pores.
Rubbing alcohol is a great disinfectant and cleaning agent.
All essential oils are also antibacterial, so to an extent you can feel free to vary the essential oils in my recipes, but tea tree and lavender essential oils are typically considered the best antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal oils. Essential oils are really strong medicine and should be treated with respect. Rosemary, eucalyptus, camphor and certain kinds of lavender essential oils have been known to trigger seizures in epileptic patients, please use caution when using these oils.
Moisturizing and Gentle Hand Sanitizer
¼ cup 100% Aloe Vera Gel
20 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
10 drops Lavender Essential Oil
5 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
5 drops Lemon Essential Oil
¼ teaspoon Vitamin E Oil
*optional 1 teaspoon either Witch Hazel or Rubbing Alcohol
Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix. Pour the mixture into the bottle/container you want to use (Specialty Bottles has a great selection ). The Vitamin E Oil will act as a preservative (as well as softening your hands) so that the gel will be good for several months.
Like all of my recipes (both edible and non-edible), you can feel free to play around with it. I rarely use the exact same recipe twice for my own purposes. You can even turn this into a spray by making a strong antibacterial tea (some good herbs for this would include lemongrass and green tea) to add to this recipe. I hope you enjoy making your own hand sanitizers and let me know what you think in the comments below!
DIY Natural: http://www.diynatural.com/homemade-hand-sanitizer/
Everyday Roots: http://everydayroots.com/diy-hand-sanitizer
Live Strong: http://www.livestrong.com/article/191247-common-uses-for-rubbing-alcohol/
Natural Living Ideas: http://www.naturallivingideas.com/14-reasons-why-witch-hazel-should-be-in-every-home/
Scientific American: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-antibacterial-products-may-do-more-harm-than-good/
Specialty Bottles: http://www.specialtybottle.com/plastic-bottles/natural-hdpe
We Love Aloe: http://www.aloeplant.info/the-antibacterial-qualities-of-aloe-vera/
Wellness Mama: http://wellnessmama.com/281/homemade-hand-sanitizer/