Hand sanitizers are convenient, and the theory behind them is certainly a good one, they kill germs. BUT, it comes with a price because they’re formulated with toxic ingredients. What if you could package all that convenience and germ-killing awesomeness into an all natural and non-toxic recipe your can make in your own kitchen? Good news, you can. Check out my DIY hand sanitizer spray to keep yourself safe this winter.
Hand sanitizers are certainly handy, however, they can’t replace good old-fashioned soap and warm water. I would limit their use for when you can’t access a bathroom, making them a great choice for when you’re traveling. Making your own hand sanitizer is inexpensive, and you can whip up a bottle in a matter of minutes. Toss it in your purse to use in the car, when you’re out in nature, or at the gym.
Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent that isn’t just used in hand sanitizers, but in toothpaste, cosmetics, deodorant, and other body care products. It’s also used in toys. Fortunately, the FDA has banned the use of triclosan, and other toxic ingredients, in healthcare settings, stating that it is not recognized as safe, nor effective, for use in over-the-counter antiseptic products. This includes rubs and washes, surgical hand scrubs, and antiseptic preparations used on patients.
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Due to this ban, “manufacturers have stopped the manufacture and distribution of products containing triclosan.” Keep in mind though, this only applies to over-the-counter products used in the healthcare industry. Triclosan is still in many products. Another issue with triclosan is that it doesn’t exclusively kill harmful bacteria on the skin, but kills all bacteria, including bacteria that is beneficial. It also dampens immune function, making it less likely you’ll be able to fight off infection.
Studies have linked triclosan to antibiotic resistance, skin irritation, and endocrine disruption. When combined with chlorine in tap water, triclosan is transformed into chloroform, a substance suspected to be carcinogenic to humans. In the presence of water and sunlight, it can be converted into dioxin, a known toxic compound.
Triclosan can alter hormonal signaling by mimicking hormones, binding to hormone receptors, and can even affect how receptors are made. With so many people struggling with hormonal imbalances today, this is reason alone to steer clear of any products containing triclosan. To complicate matters, traces can be detected in tap water even after being filtered.
DIY Hand Sanitizer Spray
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons witch hazel or 190 proof grain alcohol
- 2 drops vitamin E oil
- 1 drop aloe vera gel or juice
- 1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
- Several drops of essential oils ( I like tea tree oil (melaleuca), rosemary, which is a natural preservative, and peppermint.
- Using a small funnel, combine the first four ingredients in a two-ounce glass spray bottle and shake well. Then add several drops of your favorite essential oils.
- Spritz two or three sprays on the palms of your hands and rub together until evaporated
This homemade spray is not rocket science so play around with the ingredients, especially the essential oils, to get a formula that you love. Non-toxic hand sanitizer makes a great gift, especially for people with little kids.
Hand sanitizer can be a lifesaver when traveling or otherwise on the go. The recipe above is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, and only takes a few minutes to make. Protect yourself and your family this winter by making this simple, yet effective hand sanitizer spray.
Were you aware of the dangers of triclosan? Let me know in the comments:)
(1) McKESSON: Regulatory Roundup: Triclosan Ban in Hand Hygiene Products by FDA