To sanitize or not to sanitize? That is the question….
My opinion is that our (American’s) overuse of antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer has been encouraging bacteria to change and become resistant, and harming us in the meantime.
Here are some facts for ya… Any time you use a commercial hand sanitizer, you’re being exposed to the active ingredient in most antibacterial soaps -triclosan- which is believed to be an endocrine disruptor. (source)
This means it can interfere with your thyroid, and potentially lead to greater problems, including infertility and cancer.
What’s the gov doing about these toxins?
The FDA is working on regulating and removing triclosan… but only from hand soap and body wash. Their rulings don’t apply to shampoo, lipstick, or other personal care items- most importantly, hand sanitizer!
The FDA also doesn’t cover three of the other toxins found in hand sanitizer (benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride and chloroxylenol).
And beyond being bad for you, the chemicals in antibacterial soaps and sanitizers are harmful to our environment! Even after being treated, triclosan can stick around and get into our water, harming algae and other sea life.
AND, who’s to say that whatever chemical they eventually find to replace triclosan will be any safer?
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Just say no to antibacterial hand sanitizer!
The FDA says they don’t have any adequate evidence that antibacterial products work any better than just washing with soap and water. (source)
For years, that normal old-fashioned idea of washing your hands with soap and water has been the way to go.
It actually cleans stuff off your hands, vs hand sanitizer which just takes care of the bacteria.
Not to mention the alcohol dries out your hands- and not just that, it’s dangerous because it removes the good stuff and natural antibacterials on your hands too, which actually leaves you more susceptible to bacteria and viruses!
If you have been regularly using hand sanitizer with alcohol and have dry hands as a result, I’d highly recommend a good body butter to remoisturize and nourish your skin to help it heal!
But we all know there are times when you just can’t access a sink and want a quick fix to feeling icky. Not that dirt or germs are a bad thing or necessarily harmful… kids actually need some to help develop their immune system! (source) But, ehh, I just feel the need to do something to my hands after I walk out of a bathroom in Mexico that had no running water and no toilet paper.
I dunno. Maybe it’s just me.
DIY hand sanitizer to the rescue!
Just in case you can relate to that feeling, hakuna matata! Making your own hand sanitizer is super simple, and DIY costs less than regularly buying Purell or any other hand sanitizer.
Plus, this homemade version it doesn’t have alcohol in it, so it won’t dry out your hands! And besides- alcohol in hand sanitizer just gives the bacteria one more thing to become immune to.
The essential oils listed below have been studied and been shown to have antibacterial properties. (source) Who needs toxins?
Easy DIY Hand Sanitizer Recipe
- 2 oz. Amber Spray Bottle
- 10 drops Essential Oils
- 10 drops Witch Hazel
- 5 drops Vitamin E
- 5 drops Aloe Vera
- Distilled/purified water
Put everything except the water in your spray bottle.
Shake to mix ingredients, then add water to fill up the bottle. Shake before using.
Antibacterial essential oils: tea tree, citronella, eucalyptus, geranium, lemongrass, orange, patchouli, and peppermint are all good choices. Use tea tree sparingly, some people are sensitive. For smell, you can also use lavender, lemon, rosemary, orange, or vanilla.
Store in an airtight container and keep out of reach of kids.
It’s alright to store your hand sanitizer in a plastic container since it isn’t purely essential oils, but there is a chance the plastic can break down over time.
Vitamin E acts as a preservative and moisturizer. Even purified water can contract pathogens, bacteria, virus, and fungus, and the Vitamin E helps preserve your mixture.
The aloe vera is a moisturizer but can be left out if you don’t have any, or it can be substituted with one teaspoon of sea salt. Sea salt has antibacterial properties, and, unlike refined salt, includes minerals that support skin health and help keep your skin hydrated!
Witch hazel is a critical component of this recipe, because water and oil don’t mix. So many people get this wrong with their recipes that use essential oils… If you add any essential oil straight to water, the essential oil will form little droplets that float on top of the water.
Then when you spray it on your hands, you might get straight essential oil, which might burn… We don’t want that!
Always add an emulsifier (such as witch hazel or oil) to any essential oil recipe that’s going to go on your skin.
And this won’t stain your clothes- feel free to use it as a spritzer or air freshener, and just enjoy the aromatherapy benefits!
Want to get more toxins out of your home?
Hand sanitizer is just the beginning- there are loads of toxins and chemicals that hide out in the products we keep in our houses. But the good news is, you can learn where the toxins are lurking and find good substitutes!
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