Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways you can help stop the spread of disease-causing germs. However, there are times when you don’t have access to hand washing. That’s when hand sanitiser can come to the rescue.
how most hand sanitisers work
Hand sanitisers sit on your skin and kill germs on contact. The hero ingredient is alcohol.
Most hand sanitisers sold contain isopropyl (isopropanol) alcohol. It’s a controversial ingredient because we absorb a certain percentage of what we put on our skin. Isopropanol is a poison that converts into acetone in your liver, which is highly toxic and can result in organ failure if consumed.
Ethanol (grain alcohol) is a safer antiseptic that doesn’t have lasting toxic effects. But you need to use at least 180 proof vodka for it to kill germs effectively. That can be expensive if you use a lot of hand sanitiser.
Alcohol also dries out your skin and can be an irritant for people prone to eczema or dermatitis. If you are making an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, use two parts aloe vera gel to one part ethanol to help protect and moisturise your skin.
alcohol-free immune protect hand sanitiser
We make our own alcohol-free hand sanitiser, using aloe vera gel, colloidal silver, hydrogen peroxide, and antibacterial essential oils.
Aloe vera contains six antiseptic agents that inhibit fungi, bacteria, and it inactivates viruses such as herpes simplex, varicella-zoster and influenza.
Colloidal silver contains nano-sized silver particles suspended in a liquid. Silver is an antimicrobial agent that is used to destroy bacteria, virus and fungal infection.
Hydrogen peroxide works by producing destructive free radicals that can attack membrane lipids, DNA, and other essential cell components. It is antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral and is also used to destroy mould and mildew.
Essential oils have powerful, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Because essential oils are so potent, you only use a maximum of 2-3% in any skincare recipe. The total amount of essential oils in this recipe is 1.5ml, which is less than 1% but still powerful.
hand sanitiser recipe
1 metric cup (250ml) aloe vera gel.
2 metric tablespoons (30ml) colloidal silver.
1 metric tablespoon 3% hydrogen peroxide.
10 drops lemon myrtle oil.
10 drops peppermint.
10 drops rosemary.
10 drops eucalyptus.
Add the aloe vera, peroxide and colloidal silver into a glass bowl and stir until the ingredients meld into the gel.
Gently stir in each essential oil until thoroughly combined.
Use a funnel and pour your hand sanitiser into dark glass bottles that have a lotion pump dispenser.
You can also buy wide mouth ceramic jars with lotion pump dispensers for larger amounts of sanitiser.
The safest, environmentally friendly storage is glass. Essential oils and alcohol degrade plastic.
Store your hand sanitiser away from heat and direct sunlight to protect the ingredients.
hand sanitiser notes
Application: You need to wait for hand sanitiser to dry after applying it. If you’re in a hurry and wipe off any excess, you will reduce its effectiveness. Just wave your hands around until it sets.
If your hands are dirty or greasy, hand sanitiser isn’t going to work for you. Wash your hands first.
For proper protection, apply hand sanitiser on the back and front of your hands, in between your fingers, under your fingernails, and around your wrists. Then wait for it to dry.
Lemon myrtle essential oil: This potent antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal essential oil is more powerful than tea tree oil. Beneficial for colds, flu and chest congestion. Fantastic natural germ buster.
Peppermint essential oil: Antiseptic, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, decongestant, makes peppermint perfect for disinfecting surfaces and inhibiting airborne pathogens.
Rosemary essential oil: Antibacterial, anti-catarrhal, antifungal, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, expectorant rosemary essential oil is traditionally used to clear the respiratory tract, asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, sinus, colds, sore throats, coughing and flu.
Eucalyptus essential oil: Antiseptic, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antispasmodic, decongestant in nature, eucalyptus essential oil is traditionally used for respiratory problems including colds and flu, cough, runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion, bronchitis, asthma and sinusitis.
Hygiene boost: Make handwashing your primary hygiene strategy in conjunction with hand sanitiser. Check out our essential oil foaming handwash recipe. You might also like to look at other natural germ busting skills we feature in our blog.
Where to buy aloe vera gel: It’s cheaper to buy aloe vera gel in bulk. If you live in Australia, have a look at Aloe Vera Australia or search online for local suppliers.
Where to buy colloidal silver: I use Allan Suttons colloidal silver solution, which you can buy from your local health food store in Australia.
The World Health Organisation provides two formulations for making alcohol-based hand sanitiser you might like to research at https://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/Guide_to_Local_Production.pdf
Essential oils can be toxic to animals. Please check with your vet before using essential oils near your pets.
If you suffer from allergies, you’re pregnant, or you take prescribed medications that are sensitive to interactions, please check with your health practitioner before using essential oils.
If you suffer from liver disease, talk to your doctor before using hand sanitisers that contain alcohol.
advice for travelling
There are websites that can help you keep up to date with changes in the destinations you plan to visit. SmartTraveller provides security, safety, disaster and health information, including the latest advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19). You can also check with your travel agent for updates before travelling overseas.