Stick To This: Natural Hand Soap & Non-Toxic Hand Sanitizers
What we do to Mother Earth we do directly to ourselves. - David Suzuki
Hand sanitizers have been flying off the shelves and skyrocketed in price due to the Coronavirus pandemic worldwide. DIY hand sanitizer recipes have been popping up all over the web. Rolling Stone published an article, "Don't Panic, You Don't Need Hand Sanitizer To Fight Coronavirus."
Purell has created a product called "Advanced Hand Sanitizer Naturals" made with plant based alcohol, pulled out triclosan due to FDA regulations and claims to be paraben, preservative free and "naturally fragranced."
When you read the fine print, an ingredient commonly found in many products is Fragrance [Parfum] which usually represents a complex mixture of dozens of chemicals. Some 3,000 chemicals are used as fragrances.
Manufacturers aren't required to disclose fragrances or other chemicals that are defined as "trade secrets". (Pizzorno 2017, 46)
Bottom line, in a time where hand sanitizers are considered a hot commodity, the common consensus is to stick to good old handwashing.
When a sink and soap are nowhere in sight, here are few natural brands on the market to consider.
Natural Hand Sanitizers On The Market
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Dr. Bronner’s uses 62% organic fair trade ethyl alcohol derived from sugar cane.
While alcohol is antiseptic, lavender is also antiseptic and is used as a respiratory ailment for asthma, coughs, influenza and bronchitis. (Tisserand & Junemann 1994, 56)
Dr. Bronner's is allotting a reserve of 2% of all hand sanitizer production to donate to at-risk communities and the organizations that serve them to have access to their hand sanitizers as well.
All Clean Natural is a Canadian company that creates products that are non-toxic, plant-based, biodegradable, cruelty-free and fragrance free. The All Clean Natural hand sanitizer is made with 62% isopropyl, purified water, vegetable glycerin, peppermint, spearmint and lemongrass essential oil. ($4.99 CDN)
Another popular natural brand currently on backorder due to high demand is EO a family-owned manufacturer based in California.
Think Dirty is an app co-created by the Breast Cancer Fund to educate users on potential toxins in your household, personal care and beauty products.
DIY Hand Sanitizer Recipes
While supplies are limited, here are some DIY recipes from leading sources in the wellness community.
My Merry Messy Life recommends making your own hand sanitizer with a glass spray bottle as essential oils disintegrate in plastic.
Adria Vasil is a Canadian environmentalist, bestselling author and journalist. In her book, "Ecoholic Body", she shares a DIY Hand Sanitizer recipe. (Vasil 2012, 81-82)
2/3 cup (150ml) ethanol alcohol
1/3 cup (75ml) pure aloe vera gel
15 drops of lavender essential oil
A DIY anti-viral hand sanitizer recipe featured this month in Vitality Magazine calls for aloe vera gel, glycerin, white vinegar or rubbing alcohol and an essential oils brand called Naka Platinum Antibacterial Thieves Oil.
Interestingly, Platinum Antibacterial Thieves Oil uses the exact formula that is reputed to have spared those fortunate few who escaped the Black Plague of the Middle Ages. (Burke, 2020)
2 parts (or 1/2 cup) isopropyl alcohol
1 part (or 1/4 cup) witch hazel, aloe vera gel or glycerine (or water if you can't find the others)
30-40 drops of essential oil(s) of choice (lavender, sage, tea tree, eucalyptus, grapefruit, lemon etc. or whatever you have)
Aloe vera gel and/or vegetable glycerine are added to combat the drying effects of alcohol on your skin.
Communities are coming together to help those in need. In Portland, a distillery made their own hand sanitizer with 80% alcohol solution, xanthan gum and water to distribute for free.
Toxins In Your "Antibacterial" Hand Soap
Many antibacterial soaps contain triclosan and triclocarbon, two ingredients recently exposed by the U.S. FDA as being neither safe or effective infection preventers. (Rona, 2020)
What's the deal with triclosan? Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor which means it wreaks havoc on your hormones.
Toxins in general interfere with your hormones, cause imbalances and affect your organs where they are unable to detoxify effectively from constant overload.
Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxicity of Everyday Life Affects Our Health written by two of Canada's leading environmentalists Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie further investigates the use of chemicals in our everyday products and the impacts it has on our health.
"Triclosan is taxing the environment - both the human environment and the environment at large". (Smith & Lourie, 2019)
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) is another ingredient commonly added to make products bubble and foam. SLS is known to be irritating to the skin and can strip the natural oils which cause dry skin and reactions such as eczema. SLS is also a respiratory tract irritant. (David Suzuki Foundation, 2020)
All-Natural Hand Soap Recipe
Castile soap can be used as a body soap, shampoo and surface cleaner.
An inexpensive alternative is pure vegetable glycerine soap that costs under $2 CDN at your local health food store.
The Soap Works is a family-owned natural soap company in Toronto, Canada and use only natural ingredients free of parabens, SLS, phosphates, bisphenols or microbeads.
Dr. Zoltan P. Rona suggests, "It's best to use natural soaps, tea tree oil cleansers, or those containing neem, aloe or oregano oil." (Rona, 2020)
As Holistic Nutritionists, we strive to empower and educate people on the importance of using products with natural ingredients and whole foods.
More than ever we need to return to the fundamentals of optimum nutrition regardless of cold/flu season or a viral pandemic to strengthen our immunity.
Linus Pauling was to chemistry what Einstein was to physics and has been voted the second most important scientist of the twentieth century. He is the only man to have won two unshared Nobel prizes and he also had forty-eight PhDs. (Holford 2004, 3)
Optimum nutrition is the medicine of tomorrow. - Linus Pauling
Patrick Holford. The Optimum Nutrition Bible, Great Britain: Piatkus Books, 2004, Pg. 3
Maggie Tisserand and Monika Junemann. The Magic and Power of Lavender. Wilmot: Lotus Lights Publications, 1994, Pg. 56
Jack Gilbert, Ph.D. and Robert Knight, Ph.D. Dirt Is Good: The Advantages Of Germs For Your Child's Developing Immune System. New York: St Martin's Press, 2019 Pg. 160-165
Adria Vasil. Ecoholic Body: Your Ultimate Earth-Friendly Guide To Living Healthy And Looking Good. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2012 Pg. 81-82
Rick Smith & Bruce Lourie. Slow Death By Rubber Duck: How The Toxicity Of Everyday Life Affects Our Health, Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf Canada 2019 Pg. 159, 161-168, 267
Eric Zielinski, D.C. The Healing Power Of Essential Oils: Soothe Inflammation, Boost Mood, Prevent Autoimmunity and Feel Great In Every Way, 2018 Pg. 144-145
Joseph Pizzorno, ND. The Toxin Solution: How Hidden Poisons In The Air, Water, Food And Products We Use Are Destroying Our Health - And What We Can Do To Fix It New York: HarperOne, 2017 Pg. 6, 18-19, 24-25, 47
Jennifer Ackerman. Ah-Choo! The Uncommon Life Of Your Common Cold. New York: Hachette Book Group, 2010. Pg. 148-149, 151-152
EJ Dickson. "Don't Panic: You Don't Need Hand Sanitizer To Fight Coronavirus". Rolling Stone, 5 March 2020, https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/hand-sanitizer-effective-coronavirus-covid-19-962027/
Adria Vasil. "Sticky Situation: The Hand Sanitizer Guide". NOW Magazine, 3 February 2016, https://nowtoronto.com/sticky-situation/
Ferris Jabr. "Why Soap Works". The New York Times, March 13 2020, https://www-nytimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/health/soap-coronavirus-handwashing-germs.amp.html
Environmental Working Group. "Hand Sanitizer." EWG's Skin Deep database. https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/category/Hand_sanitizer
Centers For Disease And Control Prevention (CDC), "Show Me the Science – When & How to Use Hand Sanitizer in Community Settings", 3 March 2020 under https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html
Amanda Burke, CNP, BA. "DIY Anti-Viral Hand Sanitizer: Blends Aloe Gel With Thieves Essential Oils", Vitality Magazine March 10 2020 https://vitalitymagazine.com/article/diy-antiviral-hand-sanitizer-blends-aloe-gel-with-thieves-essential-oils/
My Merry Messy Life, "Homemade All-Natural Foaming Hand Soap Recipe" under https://mymerrymessylife.com/homemade-all-natural-foaming-hand-soap/