Hand sanitizer is the of the most common household products in the United States. Most families and schools rely on it to prevent an epidemic when a child is sick or simply view it as a cleaner alternative to hand washing.
Although hand sanitizer is a lot more convenient than hand washing, especially while traveling, it may not be as safe or as effective than a good old-fashioned bar of soap.
Why Is Hand Sanitizer Harmful?
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife (1). BPA is one of these chemicals.
Bisphenol-A, commonly referred to as BPA is a chemical used in plastics and food containers. BPA can help make dyes bind to the paper, and make the printing more visible. It’s often found in the thermal paper used to make receipts, bus, plane and train tickets and other products.
A recent study shows that “hand sanitizer opens up your skin to allow BPA to get right in,” says Laura Vandenberg, who studies endocrine disruptors at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. (source)
Hand sanitizer also contains triclosan, which kills off both the good and bad bacteria (2). Thus, widespread use of triclosan may represent a potential public health risk in regard to development of antibacterial-resistant bacteria.
How To Make Your Own Natural Hand Sanitizer
- Mixing bowl
• Measuring cups and spoons
• Medium-size spray bottle
• 1 cup of distilled water
• 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol
• 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel
• ½ teaspoon of vitamin E oil
• 10 drops of tea tree essential oil
• 10 drops of cinnamon essential oil
• 5 drops of clove essential oil
• 5 drops of rosemary essential oil
• 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
- Add rubbing alcohol to distilled water.
- Incorporate aloe vera gel to the mixture.
- Mix in vitamin E oil.
- Add tea tree oil, mix, and do the same with cinnamon oil.
- Repeat with clove, rosemary and eucalyptus oil.
- Stir the ingredients together until combined.
- Use a funnel to pour the mixture into the spray bottle.
- Tighten the cap and shake before use.
- Spray some on your palm and rub it all over your hands to use.
- Let air dry.
How It Works
Vitamin E oil acts as a moisturizer that counters the harshness of the rubbing alcohol. Aloe vera gel also helps moisturize your skin as well as fight bad bacteria.
Tea tree, cinnamon, clove, rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils are all effective antibacterial agents.
Cinnamon, clove and rosemary essential oils were among the 19 out of 21 oils found to be effective against potent bacteria in a 2006 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (3).
Tea tree oil is a powerful antimicrobactial and antifungal agent whereas eucalyptus works against E. coli and S. aureus germs, according to a 2012 study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (4).