Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hand Sanitizer vs. Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer, it's in our purses, our kids class rooms, our desks at work, in hospitals, doctor's offices, even our bathrooms.
There seems to have been a lot of comments floating around lately about hand sanitizer.  Or it could be that my ears are more tuned into such words, as they get my brain excited!  I know I am a research nerd, and I'm ok with that. :)   Either way hand sanitizers are super popular right now, especially amongst the germaphobes.

Hand Sanitizer
(photo from stock.xchng)
I had originally thought that hand sanitizer is alcohol in a gel form, that goes on your hands and kills all the germs.  Awesome!  I love the idea of something keeping me and my family from getting sick.

You know your waiting for it.... but... what's in hand sanitizer?  And what kind of effect are these brew of chemicals having on our bodies?

My first red flag was about 6-12 months ago (time gets a little blurry when you stay home with kids :).  Until this point I had been heavily sanitizing both myself and our kids anytime we went anywhere.  I heard that triclosan, an ingredient in many hand sanitizer gels, causes liver damage.  Hmmm, that sounds bad, I don't want to give anyone liver damage.

Hand sanitizers are not picky with what bacteria they are killing either.  Did you know we have good bacteria on our skin?  Well we do and hand sanitizers kill both the good and the bad bacteria.

The Environmental Working Group has a breakdown of what hand sanitizer actually does contribute to-
  • Cancer
  • Developmental/reproductive toxicity
  • Allergies and immunotoxicity
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
  • Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs)
  • Biochemical or cellular level changes
The first place I checked was the ever reliable Tropical Traditions and they didn't disappoint. There, I found thyme-extract-based hand sanitizer.  Finding a solution was easier than I thought!  To make it even more affordable, I can utilize their new 10% off coupon code (with a minimum $16 purchase): 21282.
I plan on having a steady supply and will keep one in my purse (which is currently a diaper bag) and for those above-mentioned day trips to pumpkin patches, you-picks, fishing trips, hikes, and parks for when it's time for a yummy picnic lunch.  I also plan to ask my child's teacher if he wouldn't mind that I supply all of his hand-sanitizing needs for the year with it (and explain to him why I think it's important enough to make this kind of financial investment to protect the whole class).  I totally understand his desire to keep germs at bay.  His wife just had a baby and I wouldn't want my husband bringing home all kinds of germs, either.  I have an infant of my own that I want to protect. (source Katie Riddle from

On occasion I still use some hand sanitizer, but I am trying to wean it out of our home.  I have bought these cute little spray bottle (2 for $3) that make excellent on the go homemade hand sprays.  The kids love the smell of them too!  I fill the small bottle till it's almost full with filtered water, then I add 4-5 drops of each rosemary and lavender essential oils.  Voila done! 

Did you know that Lavender is... antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory,antimicrobial, anti rheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, deodorant, diuretic, and an insecticide!?   (source)

Rosemary is... anti arthritic, antibacterial, antidepressant, antioxidant, anti rheumatic,antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, decongestant, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, fungicidal,  hypertensive, restorative, and a memory stimulant!   (source)

To make a larger amount for this purpose, and a lot of other great uses, check out The Best Spray in the World!

For a really cool article on how our skin has an acid mantle, and how these things affect it, check out this great article!

By the way, triclosan is also in toothpaste.  If you'd like an alternative check out this easy made from home toothpaste recipe.  We all use the toothpaste and like it, and my dentist says it's working fine for our whole family.  No cavities!

I hope this helps!  Let me know what alternatives you like to use for hand sanitizers, or anything else.  :)

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