There are a lot of things in this world that scare me. I’m terrified of tornadoes (I think I have a right to be after going through two in one year). I’m petrified of small spaces. The older I get, the more afraid of heights I get. But here’s one thing I am absolutely not afraid of: germs. In fact, I think our society’s obsession with antibacterial this and sanitizing that is actually way more detrimental to us than we can even understand right now. I’m a big believer that a bit of dirt and some bacteria on our hands is actually pretty good for us (as long as we’re not immunocompromised or living/working with folks who are).
But the truth is, sometimes you do need to kill those bacteria on your fingers. And while I think a little bit of dirt and germs on your hands is nothing to get worked up about, I do worry about some of the scarier bugs that can land on our digits. I don’t want to douse my hands in those alcohol-based, chemical-laden hand sanitizers every five minutes, but I do think there are certain situations where hands could use some cleaning. I’m a bigger fan of just washing with regular ole soap and hot water, but sinks aren’t always around. Like after you’ve chucked five leaking bags of rotting garbage into the pit at the dump. Or after you have to go in a porta-potty at a sporting event. Or after you’ve changed a diaper in the car and want to eat a snack (future-tense example). So I make my own hand sanitizer!
This sanitizer is awesome because it’s made with all-natural ingredients (water, aloe vera, witch hazel, vitamin E oil, and essential oils) and it is naturally anti-viral and anti-bacterial because of the cocktail of essential oils. Which means you get similar bug-killing and sanitizing properties of a regular bottle of hand sanitizer, but you aren’t spreading possibly toxic chemicals on your biggest organ—your skin. And unlike those alcohol-based sanitizers, it’s not at all drying on your skin (in fact, I add vitamin E oil to help make my skin even softer).
I put most of my essential-oil based recipes into these bottles. Why? Well, the dark glass helps protect the essential oils from UV light (which can break them down), and the sprayer is a very fine mist that is perfect for things like hand sanitizer. Plus, the small, two-ounce size is perfect for hand sanitizer—and tossing in your bag. If you want to use a bottle you already have kicking around, I recommend using a darker bottle, or if you only have clear ones, making sure to store the sanitizer in a dark spot. Glass or plastic would work (I just prefer glass).
Alright, let’s make some hand sanitizer!
Homemade Hand Sanitizer
Makes 2 ounces (if you have a larger spray bottle, just adjust the recipe accordingly)
- 2 ounce spray bottle
- 5 drops vitamin E oil (optional, this makes for soft hands!)
- 2 tablespoons witch hazel with aloe vera
- 5 drops lemon essential oil
- 5 drops orange essential oil
- 5 drops tea tree essential oil
- Printable label PDF
- Label sheet, printer and scissors
[box type=”info”]Essential oil disclaimer: this recipe uses what are generally considered safe essential oils, but please keep in mind that while completely natural, all essential oils are powerful plant compounds that you and your family (including your pets) might have a reaction to. Never use essential oils undiluted or take essential oils internally (diluted or undiluted) without the guidance of a professional, and always read up about the possible side effects of each type of oil before you use it. Avoid the use of essential oils (diluted or undiluted) during the first trimester of pregnancy, on small babies, and on anyone with severe allergies to the plants the oils are derived from. And if you see any reactions in yourself, your family or your pets, stop use of your essential oil products immediately and contact a medical professional.[/box]
- In the spray bottle, combine the vitamin E oil, witch hazel and essential oils. Place the sprayer on tightly and shake well for 15-20 seconds to combine.
- Open the bottle, and fill to the top with water. Replace sprayer, and shake again for 15-20 seconds. Done!
- Print, cut out and stick the label of your choice to the bottle. If you’re using a larger bottle, try printing the label at 150% or more to fit your bottle. If you don’t have label sheets kicking around, you can also print the label onto regular paper, and then use clear packing tape to neatly adhere the label to the bottle by using the tape like lamination over the entire label.
- Spray liberally on your hands whenever you feel like they need a bit of a deep clean. Rub hands together until dry.