How to Make Natural, Eco-friendly Hand Sanitizer & Soap
The number of times my partner washes his hands on a daily basis has become a standing gag amongst friends and family. There is just something about an unhygienic looking surface or even the idea of bacteria that completely grosses him out. Maybe you can relate.
Unfortunately, many hand sanitizers and soaps are filled with equally nasty ingredients that are harmful to both our health and our planet. Most of us won’t use this item as often as my partner, but nonetheless, he inspired me to start looking for a healthier and natural alternative for keeping those hands clean!
3 Reasons To Wash Your Hands
Fight Sick-Making Germs!
Although you can’t see them, germs are everywhere and when they get onto your hands and are not washed off, they can make you sick. Germs commonly live on everyday objects such as cell phones, shopping carts, your toothbrush, and your pets! These can enter your body by first touching contaminated objects and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Without even realizing you’re allowing sick-making germs to enter the body. These germs come from feces (both animal and human…), other people coughing, sneezing or touching objects that are then touched by you. I know, gross! Wash those hands!
Stop The Spread!
Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. When you wash your hands with soap it removes germs and can help prevent infections and illness like diarrhea, respiratory infections, and even skin and eye infections to spread from person to person.
I will be the last person to say to stay away from antibiotics completely. If you really need them according to your doctor, by all means, don’t feel bad about it. However, washing hands frequently can help prevent sickness and the overuse of antibiotics – which is a leading factor in creating antibiotic resistance globally. Stop the spread of MRSA, Clostridium, Salmonella, E.Coli and more by just washing those hands of yours!
Why Choose Natural Hand Sanitizer & Soap
A super easy way to live healthier, more eco-friendly and feel better is to stop slathering on products with dubious ingredients that could potentially harm us and our environment. However, natural is not always better and we have to be careful and check labels.
When we use personal care products, they are often absorbed through our skin and make their way into our bloodstream. Then they wash down the drain and go on to impact the ecosystem. Even hand sanitizer and soaps often include ingredients that are potential carcinogens, hormone disrupters, plasticizers and more that are harmful to our health and could potentially harm aquatic life, wildlife, and plant life.
What is great about making your own hand sanitizer or hand soap is that you have full control of the ingredients that you put on your skin.
The Difference Between Sanitizer & Soap
There really is no good substitute for killing disease-causing germs other than soap and water. Hand sanitizer isn’t going to work for certain nasties like the NoroVirus or Clostridium difficile, which can cause serious infections that can be life-threatening. So make sure to frequently wash your hands with regular simple soap, scrub thoroughly and drying off completely.
Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and running water helps lift dirt, grease, and microbes, including the disease-causing kind, from your skin. It is the best way to reduce the number of germs on your hands in most situations.
However, if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer can help you out by reducing the number of germs on your hands in some situations. They do not eliminate all types of germs or harmful chemicals.
Is Naturally Sanitizing Hands Really Effective?
Again, a hand sanitizer, whether it is natural or otherwise, is NOT a replacement for frequently washing your hands with water and soap. With that being said, personally, I look for a sanitizer that makes my hands feel clean enough that I am comfortable handling food and eating when I don’t have the former option.
In all honesty, natural sanitizers probably won’t work as effectively as conventional sanitizers with heavy chemicals like triclosan, alcohol, and parabens. More research is needed to figure out how to make more natural options work best. Nevertheless, I am more comfortable using a natural hand sanitizer that uses anti-bacterial essential oils that makes my hands feel fresh and clean, without drying out my hands and pairing that with a natural hand soap.
It is not recommended to use hand sanitizer if your hands are noticeably dirty. Go for soap and water instead!
How To Wash Your Hands
You should always wash your hands after touching anything that might be contaminated with germs, such as raw meat, and after using the toilet.
The key to washing your hands effectively is to make sure you are washing and drying them off thoroughly. This will remove dirt, germs, and bacteria.
The Best Hand Washing Technique
Handwash Step 1
Make your hands wet with clean, running water (warm or cold is equally fine), turn off the tap (#savetheplanet), and apply soap.
Handwash Step 2
Lather your hands with soap by rubbing your hands together. Don’t forget the backs of your hands, between your fingers and underneath your nails.
Handwash Step 3
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
Handwash Step 4
Rinse your hands thoroughly under clean, running water.
Handwash Step 5
Dry your hands completely with a clean towel or use an air-dryer.
Best Natural Hand Sanitizing Recipes
On The Go Natural Hand Sanitizer
For those times in need when soap and water just aren’t available. This homemade sanitizer goes with me wherever I go and is made with just a few natural ingredients. Should make around 50mL of hand sanitizer (one tube), double or triple the recipe if you need more.
- Handy eco-friendly squeeze bottles
- Aloe Vera Gel (2 tbs)
- Witch Hazel 2 tbs (or 1 tbs rubbing alcohol)
- Fractionated Coconut oil (1 tbs)
- Melaleuca and Wild Orange Peel essential oil (10-15 drops).
- Optional: Vitamin E oil (1/2 tsp)
First, measure out ingredients. Mix all ingredients in a sanitized empty bowl. Pour the mixture over into your container or tube, and voila! Ready to use!
Shelf life: 2-3 months
Gentle Foaming Hand Soap
Hand soaps often have the tendency to be harsh on the skin and leave it feeling tight and dry. This foaming hand soap is super gentle, moisturizing and great at killing no-good microbes! Not really into DIY? This brand has amazing hand sanitizer and foaming hand soap infused with their protective essential oil blend.
- Foam dispenser (or a normal pretty glass dispenser)
- Unscented liquid Castile Soap or my favorite On Guard foaming hand soap (2 tbs)
- Fractionated Coconut Oil (1-2 tsp)
- Anti-bacterial essential oils like Melaleuca and Wild Orange Peel (20 drops)
- Top with clean (preferably boiled) water
First, measure out ingredients. First, fill soap dispenser with water about halfway to prevent the whole thing from foaming up. Add liquid castile soap, fractionated coconut oil, and essential oils. Mix it up gently. You may want to add a tad bit more water (not all the way to the top). Done! Foam away!
Shelf life: 1 week
I love using the OnGuard blend from dōTERRA, a great protective blend which is perfect for hand sanitizing because it combines several oils with antibacterial properties, including wild orange, eucalyptus, rosemary, cinnamon, and clove essential oils. You could use other antibacterial essential oils too, like melaleuca also. Whatever you like best!
Don’t confuse fragrance oils with essential oils. Fragrance oils are synthetically made, most often include all sorts of additives, cannot be taken internally and have no therapeutic properties. That’s why I only recommend high-quality essential oils to not only add a nice scent but also provide loads of other benefits.
Will You Try These Recipes? Or Do You Have A Favorite Recipe?
Do share! I am always learning and would love to hear from you. So if you have any great tips or products to share, do let me know in the comments below!
I hope you enjoyed this article! If you did, sharing is caring!
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Katelyn has a Masters degree in Nutrition & Health Sciences. She helps people find easy ways to live a healthy life. She loves everything related to nutrition, health, nature, travel, and personal development. She is also Carol’s right hand at Soul Essentials.