Does Hand Sanitizer Work?
The short answer is yes, hand sanitizer does kill germs. However, soap (not antibacterial) and water are hands down the best option. Washing your hands properly using clean water and soap is your best defense against getting sick and spreading germs. In fact, even the CDC suggests washing hands and only using (alcohol based) hand sanitizer in the event that clean running water is not available.
So why am I teaching you to make hand sanitizer if I think washing your hands is better? Well, there are times when running water is not an option but clean hands are. For instance, I love to hike. Many trailheads have porta-potties to use before taking off for the day. Without being too graphic, there are literally hundreds of dirty hands that have touched the door handles and latches before me and other unmentionable hang-ups. I use hand sanitizer to remove the germs that I could have picked up from previous visitors.
What’s In Hand Sanitizer?
No one cares more about my wellbeing than me. So that is why I take an active interest in what I put in my body and on my body. So many of our personal care products contain toxic ingredients that are known to disrupt our hormones, cause cancer and more. Since the EPA does not require safety data testing to be done on new chemicals before being approved, it is up to me to be mindful of what I expose myself to. That includes hand sanitizer.
There are 2 types of hand sanitizer on the market today. Those that contain alcohol and those that are alcohol free. Those that contain alcohol use ethyl alcohol which is the same as drinking alcohol. It is effective at killing germs. It is also drying to the skin, absorbs into the skin and most store bought hand sanitizers that contain alcohol also contain other ingredients that I prefer to avoid. Hand sanitizers without alcohol are thought to be less effective at killing germs but may include less toxic ingredients.
Common components of hand sanitizers include ingredients like synthetic fragrances. Synthetic fragrances found in many popular hand sanitizers contain phthalates which are known to be endocrine disruptors and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls and reproductive birth defects in males and females. Other ingredients to avoid are benzalkonium chloride (BAC) and triclosan. BAC is associated with severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and allergies, and is especially dangerous for people with asthma or skin conditions such as eczema. Triclosan has been linked to hormone issues, allergies and it breaks down into dioxin which can cause cancer.
There’s No Alcohol In This Hand Sanitizer
So there are those that would argue that this hand sanitizer is not effective because it does not contain alcohol. To that I would argue that the immune system plays a large part in whether I become sick and hand sanitizer is just a small part of the wellness journey I am on. My body is strong because I am mindful of what I eat and put on my body every day. I would also argue that the store bought hand sanitizer contains too many questionable ingredients. Basically the bad outweighs the good for me in this case.
This recipe uses essential oils for their antibacterial properties. According to Dr. Axe:
Essential oils have been around for centuries, …so the idea of using them to fight infection is not anything new. They’ve been used to stave off anything from disease-causing bacteria and viruses to fungus. Ultimately, evidence shows that antibacterial essential oils can effectively kill bacteria without becoming resistant to it, making them great antibacterial and antimicrobial resources.
If you have questions about using essential oils, check with your doctor. If your doctor doesn’t have any knowledge using essential oils, find a holistic or functional doctor. You can look for functional doctors in your area here.
Learn how to make non-toxic hand sanitizer. Check out the video & printable recipe below.
Have questions? Let’s chat below.