Is conventional hand sanitizer doing more harm than good? Learn how to DIY hand sanitizer for family and friends.
Have you ever accidentally tasted your fingers after applying hand sanitizer and almost lost all your tastebuds? Then this post is for you.
Damn you, ETHYL ALCOHOL!
I’m going to show you how to DIY hand sanitizer that is vegan, easy, and cruelty-free. But first, what’s wrong with conventional hand sanitizer?
Ethyl Alcohol is the main active ingredient in almost every conventional hand sanitizer on the market (even the ‘green’ ones), usually reaching percentages as high as 70%. There’s even more alcohol in the inactive ingredients in most conventional hand sanitizers in the form of Isopropyl alcohol.
There have been many studies on the effectiveness of hand sanitizer and some doctors suggest that over-sanitizing leads to antibiotic resistance. In a 2011 study by the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found that health care employees who were most likely to use hand sanitizers over soap and water were nearly six times more at risk for outbreaks of Norovirus, which causes most cases of acute gastroenteritis.
Sad news for all you germaphobes out there.
Not only are conventional hand sanitizers potentially harmful, but they can leave your hands feeling extremely dry. I’m talking scrubbing the floors all day Cinderella-style dry. After all, the active and inactive ingredients in most hand sanitizers can double as industrial cleaners, no wonder they are so drying.
Here’s another reason to give up conventional hand sanitizers: they’re shady. Legally, companies are not required to disclose all of the ingredients used to make whatever fragrance is added to the product. What does this mean for you? It means that you could literally be rubbing an unknown toxic soup onto your hands, and then inadvertently into your mouth, onto your food, and onto your kids….
Are you put off by conventional hand sanitizer yet?
Are there better Options?
Obviously Purell is a little sketch, no surprise there. But what about companies who claim their products are safer, cleaner, greener, and even honest? Before I decided to make my own hand sanitizer, I was big on The Honest Company’s orange scented hand sanitizer spray. You can buy it at Target, it’s fairly cheap and at the time I thought it was a great, safe alternative. However, just like Purell, it’s main active ingredient is still Ethyl Alcohol, 62% in fact. The difference? The Honest Company seems to clearly (and honestly) list all of its fragrance ingredients unlike Purell.
I will say that The Honest Company got the inactive ingredients right and their only downfall was jumping on the ethyl alcohol bandwagon which, unfortunately, makes them just like everybody else except with better marketing.
So what’s a pseudo-germaphobe to do?
The Benefits of DIY Hand Sanitizer
Don’t worry, my solution is fairly simple and if you’re already a little crunchy then you might have most of these ingredients on hand. 😎
Tea Tree Oil: The active ingredient in this recipe is Tea Tree Oil. It’s natural, organic, effective and most importantly it’s SAFE. Tea tree oil has been proven to kill flu viruses, E. coli and antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria, mold, mildew and other types of fungus. Tea tree oil is inexpensive and can be found at most health food stores and may even be cheaper online. I buy some of my essential oils on Ebay for a fraction of what they sell them for at health food stores so check them out as well.
Witch Hazel: Another natural cleanser that I added was Witch Hazel. Many people use witch hazel as a facial toner (myself included) because of its antioxidant and astringent properties. You can use witch hazel to remove dead skin cells, break down excessive oils, and it will leave your pores feeling cleansed and taught. Unlike many harsh commercial acne formulations, it is gentle and non-drying when used to tone and cleanse acne-infected or acne-prone skin. You can apply witch hazel to the skin straight from the bottle using cotton balls. I buy this one from Target, 16 oz for $2.49. You might as well try it as a toner while you’re at it. 😉
Aloe Vera Gel (or Fractionated Coconut Oil): I used aloe vera gel as a moisturizing agent. Even though it is a jelly like consistency, it still comes out of my spray bottle just fine when mixed with the other ingredients. If you are allergic to aloe, fractionated coconut oil can be used instead. If you choose to use aloe vera gel, please make sure that aloe is the only ingredient. I found 100% aloe vera jelly at CVS randomly and that brand sells online here. About 7 oz for $4.19. Such a great price.
Rose Water: I added rose water mainly because I love the scent of roses but it also acts as a moisturizing agent and helps to dissolve the aloe vera gel or fractionated coconut oil. Rose water has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the redness of irritated skin, get rid of acne, dermatitis and eczema. It is a great cleanser and aids in removing oil and dirt accumulated in clogged pores. I don’t have a link to the rose water that I used, but please be careful to watch the ingredients like a hawk. Roses and water should be the only ingredients in rose water. Here’s a good option.
Essential of choice for fragrance: As mentioned above, companies are not legally required to disclose every single ingredient that composes a product’s fragrance. That’s not suspicious at all, right? Using an essential oil is a great and natural way to scent your homemade products because they are safe and you know exactly what’s in them. Essential oils are powerful, potent and have great shelf lives so even a small bottle will last you months.
DIY Non-Toxic Hand Sanitizer
Learn how to make your own hand sanitizer in just 5 minutes!
- 1/3 aloe vera gel (can replace w/fractionated coconut oil if allergic)
- 1/3 witch hazel
- 1/3 rose water
- 25-30 drops tea tree oil
- 15-20 drops essential oil of choice (for fragrance)
Add aloe vera gel or fractionated coconut oil first, add in witch hazel and rose water, and add tea tree oil and essential oil of choice.
- The amount of the higher concentrated ingredients in this recipe (aloe vera gel or fractionated coconut oil, rose water, and witch hazel) should all be added according to the bottle size you use.
- Please keep in mind that unless you use an essential oil that can overpower the tea tree oil, you will most likely still be able to smell the tea tree. But the bright side is you know you'll be clean...and safe 😇
- When you first spray on the DIY hand sanitizer, your hands will feel a bit tacky after you rub it in. After about a minute, the tackiness will go away and your hands will be fresh and moisturized.
Sources and Further Reading:
- Ethyl vs Isopropyl
- Is Tea Tree Oil afe for pregnant women?
- History of Tea Tree Oil
- Tea Tree Oil effectiveness
- Witch Hazel uses and properties
- Rose Water Benefits