Tis the Season to Use Hand Sanitizer!

My (young adult) children are recovering from the flu, what the Dr. assumes was the H1N1 variety. Since one of their girlfriends' works with children, and the other works in heath care, they are routinely exposed to nasty germs. But, so are you! If you go anywhere, touch anything, you are being exposed to germs. Handle money, then touch your face and you have introduced all sorts of germs to your body. Hand sanitizing is a first line defense against germs. By simply washing your hands frequently you cut your risk of contracting many different viral and bacterial ailments. Since soap and water is not always readily available, there are hand sanitizers that you can carry in your purse, keep in your car, or keep in your desk. Of course you can buy hand sanitizer at almost any pharmacy or chain super store, but, for anyone concerned with being green, or if you just like control over what you put on your body and use in your home, you can easily make you own! Many, if not most essential oils have antibiotic, germicide and antimicrobial qualities (see the various oil descriptions A-Z from last year!). Below are a few recipes that I have found, not only for hand sanitizing, but for sanitizing your home. While I have not made any of these, the recipes look to be sound and, based upon their ingredient lists, these are ones that I would make. In fact, I do intend to try each one of these very soon. Meanwhile, if you find a favorite or dislike any one for whatever reasons, please let us know in the comments.

Germ Spray

6 drops Eucalyptus Globulus 12 drops Tea Tree essential oil 6 drops Lemon 1/4 cup distilled water Combine all the above ingredients then pour into a spray bottle. Shake well before each use (oil and water do not like to mix, so you must shake well for this recipe to be effective). This antiseptic, germ fighting spray is great to use, even on cuts and scrapes, but it can also be used as a room spray.

Viral Disinfectant Spray

10 drops tee tree essential oil 10 drops pine (black) essential oil 10 drops white thyme essential oil 10 drops clove essential oil 6 oz distilled water Mix ingredients and pour into a spray bottle and make sure to shake well before each use (remember that oil and water don't like to mix, so to be effective you must shake well).
Hand Sanitizer
1 Tbs. rubbing alcohol
3 Tbs. Aloe vera juice
2 ml cinnamon leaf essential oil
3 ml tee tree essential oil
3 ml lemon essential oil
Mix the ingredients together and pour into container of choice. Shake well.
Since alcohol is a natural emulsifier this recipe does not require shaking prior to each use. Additionally, cinnamon leaf essential oil can be a skin irritant. Should it irritate your skin, try doubling the aloe juice, if it still irritates your skin, double the tee tree oil and eliminate the cinnamon oil altogether.
*This recipe is from Brambleberry's Soap and the Finer Things blog. They state that they based it upon the research in the Journal of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery (2009), available on line at www.sciencedirect.com
Natural Disinfectant Spray

1/4 tsp. French Lavender essential oil

1/4 tsp. eucalyptus globulus essential oil

1/4 tsp. lemon essential oil

1/4 cup vodka

16 oz distilled water

Mix ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle. Shake well before use.

This recipe is great for spraying kitchen counters, cutting boards, and the dish rack. It can also be used as an air freshener and on any furniture that you want your cats to stay off of!

Antibacterial Bathroom Cleanser
2 tsp Tea Tree essential oil 1 tsp Peppermint essential oil 2 tablespoons (may need slightly more) unscented liquid soap 1 Tbs. white vinegar 1 cup baking soda Measure the baking soda into a bowl with a tight fitting lid. Add approximately two tablespoons of liquid soap (you can use castile or regular dish washing soap, unscented is best). Mix well to create a paste-like consistency. If you need more liquid soap, add a little at a time, mixing as you go, until you have the consistency that you feel you can work with. Once you have the paste consistency, add the essential oils and mix well, then add the vinegar (which heps to boost the cleansing powder). To use, scoop out a little cleanser and use a sponge or other cleaning tool to gently scrub tubs, showers, and sink surfaces. A little of this goes a long way. It is a natural antibacterial cleanser that will help you clean your home without hurting the planet!
Hand Sanitizer
3 tablespoons Aloe Vera Gel or Liquid
5 ml Lemon essential oil
4 ml Tea Tree essential oil
2 ml White Thyme essential oil *This is optional
Mix all of the ingredients together, pour into a spray bottle, shake well and use. This recipe can also be used on furniture, but you will want to do a small test patch before using it all over.
*This recipe is from Brambleberry's Soap and the Finer Things blog.
Hand Sanitizer
1 ml White Thyme Essential Oil
1 ml Litsea Essential Oil
2 ml Orange Essential Oil
1/2 Cup Aloe Vera
1/2 tsp. Lecithin
Combine the lecithin and the essential oils together in a small container. Slowly pour the essential oils into the aloe vera, while stick blending the mixture. This will help to emulsify the mixture (think salad dressing). Lecithin is typically found in health food stores and is a natural emulsifier, with a shocking yellow color. This blend will go salad dressing thick and will not easily spray unless the spritzer is very hearty. Because of its lotion like texture, this recipe is best used on hands and body rather than furniture.
*This recipe is from Brambleberry's Soap and the Finer Things blog.


Kyley said...

Those recipes look excellent! One point on the hand sanitizer recipes. Cinnamon and thyme can really irritate skin (I got red, itchy hives from using thyme on my skin) so I would strongly recommend using smaller amounts of those two oils than the recipes suggest. Lavender is a good germ killer, so it might be a good replacement.

Also, citrus essential oils are photo-toxic, so you can get sunburned if you apply them to your skin and then go out in the sun. Petigrain, lemongrass and palmarosa are all citrussy-smelling and not photo-toxic, so you could replace the lemon or orange with them.

Here's a list of more antiviral essential oils... http://www.easy-aromatherapy-recipes.com/antiviral-essential-oil.html

Unique Garden said...

These are great comments and suggestions! And, yes, each person needs to temper recipes according to their skin conditions.

You can, however (and I do,) purchase orange essential oil that is not photo-toxic. Additionally, depending upon the amount used and the person, citrus oils may not seriously affect the user, sun or not, especially when the amounts are so low.

No matter how little oils are use, the potential for sensitivity is always there. Sensitive people should follow the dilution directions included with the recipe that has cinnamon listed as an ingredient. If the thyme is bothersome to you, you can either substitute another (many essential oils are antibacterial and/or antiviral in nature), eliminate it all together, or simply try reducing the amount used, whichever is your preference. Also, make sure to wash you hands with soap and water when any recipe bothers your skin!

Thanks again for your suggestions Kyley!