Beware. There are microscopic enemies lurking all around! They are ‘the bad guys’ we call germs and even though they are extremely small, they are able to do great destruction! (I know, I know… there are also microscopic organisms that help us and our environment. But that’s a topic for another day. Today we’re covering ‘the bad guys’!)
Germs are everywhere. And while scientific advancements continue to be made in the battle against the enemies, these germs are changing as well. They’re becoming ‘smart’ germs. They’re learning how to adapt to our human inventions so they are no longer killed by methods found successful earlier. Research continues. And the battle continues. It’s a fight against virus and bacteria.
Let me share some INCREDIBLE news. “Essential oils are famous for fighting germs and supporting the immune system. And the reason pure essential oils are so effective is because (unlike drugs) essential oils contain a complex mixture of active properties that will vary due to natural growing conditions. No matter how carefully these variables are controlled, every batch of pure essential oil is going to be slightly different from the one before and the one after. That slight variance prevents fungi, bacteria and viruses from developing resistance to these natural plant remedies – and it’s why we can use the same essential oils to fight cold and flu that our ancestors were using centuries ago.” (*PamperMeNaturally class notes)
Isn’t that WONDERFUL? While we theorize and experiment over ‘new’ ways to combat the tiny terrors with our man-made chemical weapons, here’s the ‘oldest’ way in the book… a natural way that’s been around since Creation!
The most common way to clean your hands in this on-the-go culture is using a little squirt or wipe or spray from an antiseptic cleanser. Below you’ll find two recipes for natural hand cleansers that you can use when 30-second hand washing with good ole’ soap-n-water isn’t an option. They are simple to make, easy to use, and better for you then ‘Purell’-type sanitizers.
Better for me? you ask. Then Purell? Germ-X? Avant? What’s wrong with those? Not a whole lot, I suppose. If you only use them on occasion. But for those who use them often, plenty! There is danger in the alcohol content of many of them. And even for the ‘alcohol free’ versions, the synthetic chemical die list is pretty scary. Even the scent can be harmful! And overpowering! Have you ever read the warning label attached to the bottle? Or looked up ‘hand sanitizer side effects’?
Rather than get on my soap-box about the fact that the FDA does NOT require all ingredients to be disclosed in any wash-off product (because, of course, they do NOT affect your health in ANY way) and the fact that they can and DO use all sorts of cheap chemicals that are KNOWN to be toxic and carcinogenic and the fact that the FDA has not defined the word ‘natural’ so manufacturers can claim whatever they WANT on the label… oh, wait. Let me start again.
RATHER THAN get on my soap-box about using a hand cleanser that has antibacterial and antifungal agents that are man-made, chemical compounds, I propose that we simply use a product that is made with natural antibacterial and antifungal essential oils and absolutely no chemicals. At a fraction of the cost. What do you say?
***Option #1. I’ve been using this antibacterial soap spray for the past year to clean up germy hands. It calls for just three ingredients and is a refreshing alternative to those expensive, chemical formulas. I found it in Karen Logan’s book Clean House, Clean Planet. She named it Merlin’s Magic.
Directions: Fill a 16oz spray bottle nearly to the top with water (distilled or purified if you have hard water). THEN add 3 T. of your favorite liquid soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap) and 20-30 drops of tea tree essential oil. Shake it well and spray away! (I made up a small 4 oz spray bottle to keep in the van and simply refill it when it runs low.)
***Option #2. Recently, I found another nifty hand sanitizer recipe (at diynatural.com). It calls for four ingredients. This one is not a soap spray but is contained in a squirt or pump bottle. I’m happy with this one too! The key ingredient for both recipes is tea tree essential oil. (**)
Natural Hand Sanitizer ingredients: lavender (or rosemary, sage, sandalwood or peppermint) essential oil, tea tree essential oil, witch hazel, and aloe vera gel.
Directions: Add 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil and 30 drops of tea tree essential oil to a small glass bowl or container and swirl to mix. Add 1 T. witch hazel to the oils and swirl again. Add this mixture to 8 ounces 100 percent pure aloe vera gel and mix well. Put in 3-4oz. squirt bottles or a container with a pump. Shake well before each use (a dime-sized portion is perfect).
With either recipe, I think you’ll find a product that you feel good using. By using essential oils, you’re outsmarting those nasty ‘smart’ germs. The cleansers are good for you, for your family, for the environment, and for your wallet. And with both recipes, by simply adding a few drops of Vitamin E you will help to preserve the product (naturally!) for a few months… and you’ll get softened hands as well.
(*)I am indebted to Suzanne Ader, a generous and very intelligent lady that has graciously shared her wisdom with me and so many others, encouraging us on the journey of discovering how to live a healthier life! Here’s a brief introduction on essential oils and their benefits from her “Pamper Me Naturally” class notes. Essential oils are plant essences distilled or pressed from stems, leaves, fruits and flowers. They are rich in active properties that are especially potent against viruses, fungus and bacteria. Essential oils are famous for fighting germs and supporting the immune system. And the reason pure essential oils are so effective is because (unlike drugs) essential oils contain a complex mixture of active properties that will vary due to natural growing conditions. No matter how carefully these variables are controlled, every batch of pure essential oil is going to be slightly different from the one before and the one after. That slight variance prevents fungi, bacteria and viruses from developing resistance to these natural plant remedies – and it’s why we can use the same essential oils to fight cold and flu that our ancestors were using centuries ago. Best of all, because natural essential oils contain a combination of active properties that neutralize harmful effects, pure unadulterated essential oils are non-toxic and have no true side effects.
(**) A quick search online reveals some fascinating reading on tea tree essential oil.
End Note (From the Do It Yourself Naturally website): Always take care when handling essential oils. Keep in mind these are very concentrated, powerful plant extracts. If you are new to using essential oils you may want to test for an allergic reaction before slathering on this hand sanitizer. As with any natural plant, family members could be allergic. For a simple patch test mix one drop of essential oil with about 1 TBSP of olive oil. Rub a bit on the inside of your elbow, cover with a bandage, and wait 24 hours to see if there is any negative reaction.