To date: The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible because handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. But if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.
Most store bought hand sanitizers have the following ingredients:
Ethyl alcohol has an excellent bactericidal and fungicidal activity of all agents used in hand disinfection, but it does cause oxidative metabolism (damage to our cells). It also is associated with skin irritation and/or contact dermatitis.
Isopropyl alcohol (a propane derivative) in small amounts on the skin, is generally not dangerous, but repeated skin exposure can cause itching, redness, rash, drying, and cracking. Prolonged skin contact can cause corrosion.
Glycerin can add moisture to the skin and according to the FDA, is categorized as generally safe.
Carbomer are a series of polymers primarily made from acrylic acid used to gel a substance. It has been shown to cause cancer in animals when ingested. Its toxicity in topical applications is unknown.
Fragrance indicates the presence of up to four thousand separate ingredients, many toxic or carcinogenic. Clinical observation proves fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, and irritability.
Aminomethyl propanol is typically used to establish and hold the pH. It is considered safe when 2% or less in a product.
Propylene glycol is a humectant (hydrating), also used to keep products from freezing or melting, and helps active ingredients penetrate the skin.
Isopropyl myristate is a synthetic oil composed of Isopropyl Alcohol and Myristic Acid (a naturally-occurring fatty acid). In general it is considered a safe ingredient at recommended concentrations less than 5%.
Tocopheryl acetate is a specific type of vitamin E, in a class of organic chemical compounds known as tocopherols. These compounds are considered fat-soluble antioxidants and is generally considered safe for skin.
Most schools and most public places have these hand sanitizers available, and some expect you to use them. This is unfortunate because of the toxins they contain. My children know to use only the Thieves hand sanitizer by Young Living or our homemade hand sanitizer below.
Do dry your hands before applying any hand sanitizer. A 2019 study published in the American Society for Microbiology’s publication, found that wet mucus protected the influenza A virus, rendering hand sanitizer less effective.
DIY Hand Sanitizer
- 2 oz. Spray Bottles
- 3 tbsp 60% (or higher) Isopropyl Alcohol AKA rubbing alcohol
- 3 tbsp Aloe Vera Gel
- 1 tsp Rosehip oil helps moisturize
- 4 drops Bergamot Essential Oil
- 4 drops Thieves Essential oil
- 4 drops Orange Essential Oil
Mix all ingredients in a glass or stainless steel bowl and pour into a spray bottle. I use a small funnel and it is much easier.
Again, washing hands is the number one avenue for deterring viruses and other illnesses.