Thursday, 6 October 2016

Homemade herbal chemical-free hand sanitizer gel with organic aloe vera gel and essential oils

As Amritdhari Sikhs, my husband and I keep a strict rehit (discipline) around sucham (hygiene) when it comes to preparing and eating food. Just as most Amritdhari Sikhs will do, we keep the kitchen and all utensils very clean, don't allow shoes in the kitchen, wash everything that we buy in shops or on the market before we put it away, to wash off anything that might be stuck to it, especially cigarette smoke or the touch of people who smoke and who might have touched the cans/jars/bottles/... we bought.

We constantly wash our hands while cooking: once we have touched the fridge, the stove, a drawer, ... and we're about to touch a spoon or pot again, hands get washed again. It's a simple way of keeping things hygienic and is part of the Sikh teachings. No spoon goes back into a pot or pan if it has touched anything else than the food (so definitely no tasting and then using the same spoon again for stirring!!).

As we also try to remove all chemicals from our household, we don't use store-bought washing up liquids or hand-soaps - I make all cleaning products myself. (Here you can find the recipes for my DIY washing-up liquid).

And all vegetables and fruit get washed with a white vinegar or apple cider vinegar solution to remove possible chemicals.

But when we're out and about, we take just as much care about hygiene and washing our hands regularly. And sometimes there simply isn't the opportunity to just wash your hands (or you wash your hands, but have to touch the door of the toilet again in going out, and that's not really the last thing I want to have touched before putting any food in my mouth...). In India, we bought some great natural hand-sanitizer gels from the Himalaya brand, but here in the UK it's proven nearly impossible to buy a natural, chemical-free hand-sanitizer; most contain alcohol, triclosan, (animal) glycerin and antibacterial ingredients that may contribute to resistant strains of bacteria. And we don't want to simply substitute bacteria for chemicals! And thus I had to start making my own. As so often, blogger Wellness Mama came to the rescue, as I found that she managed to make a hand-sanitizer gel from organic aloe vera gel and a selection of essential oils - 2 things I happen to have in the house and use regularly anyway! And because of the use of aloe vera, this gel doesn’t dry the skin and is actually nourishing.

Here is a wonderful and simply DIY recipe. It does contain essential oils in quite high concentrations, so do check her post about the risks of essential oils first.

Essential oils that are used:

* Orange - Natural antiseptic and antioxidant
* Cinnamon leaf - Antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial & astringent
* Clove - Antimicrobial and antibacterial
* Rosemary - Anti-fungal and antibacterial
* Lavender - Antibacterial and antiviral

The essential oils also leave your gel smelling wonderful - and not like so many chemically-rich store-bought versions.

The recipe is ridiculously simple. I use small brown glass bottles with droppers to keep mine in (easy to use on the go), but you can use other containers if you like.

Ingredients

1/4 cup aloe vera gel (preferably organic - I use the Several Minerals brand)
20 drops orange essential oil (I generally use Freshskin essential oils and am very pleased with their quality)
5 drops clove essential oil
10 drops cinnamon leaf essential oil (don't use cinnamon bark essential oil as it's not safe for topical use)
10 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops rosemary essential oil

Instructions

Mix all ingredients and store in a glass bottle or reusable silicon tube.
Use as needed to naturally remove germs from hands.

Notes

Always check with a doctor or health care provider before using essential oils, especially on children or if you have a medical condition.

This version wouldn't be sanitizing enough after for example a visit to a hospital or a place where there are resistant strains of bacteria, but it works great for general purposes, and you can make a more powerfully sanitizing version by adding witch hazel.

Wellness Mama also shares a recipe for a stronger hand sanitizer that contains rubbing alcohol and witch hazel and is more similar to commercial versions without the triclosan.

Ingredients

Rubbing Alcohol
Vegetable Glycerin (optional)
(Organic) Aloe Vera Gel
Cinnamon leaf Essential Oil
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Distilled Water (or Colloidal Silver/Ionic Silver if available)
Other Essential Oils if you like the smell

Instructions

To make, mix 1/4 cup aloe vera gel, 1/2 teaspoon glycerine, and 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol in a small bowl. Add 10 drops of cinnamon essential oil and 10 drops of tea tree oil along with any other oils you want to add for scent (lemongrass, orange, lavender and peppermint are good choices).

Mix well and add distilled water (or Colloidal/Ionic silver) to thin to desired consistency and add any other oils to desired smell.

Use a small funnel or medicine dropper to transfer hand sanitizer into spray or pump type bottles.

Use as you would any other type of hand sanitizer.


Feel free to let me know how you get on with this!
Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh