Due to the continued transmission of coronavirus, many shops and internet stores are still low on hand sanitizer. Commercial hand sanitizer is also dangerous for kids because of the risk of alcohol poisoning. Here’s how to make a child-friendly alcohol-free version at home.
“…even just putting their hands in their mouths after using hand sanitizer could give them alcohol poisoning if their hands are still a little bit wet from the sanitizer,” Patricia Garcia, M.D., pediatrician, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
As so many of us know, the number one way to reduce the chance of germ contamination of all sorts is to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This removes bacteria and germs, and soap also kills the fatty outer shell which most viruses have, leaving them harmless.
Hand sanitizer is NOT a substitute for handwashing.
In no way is a hand sanitizer (DIY recipe or store-bought) a replacement for washing your hands. We all know washing hands with soap and warm water is the most effective way to kill germs that cause cold and flu. But when kids are on the run from school to sports, having a back-up solution to hand washing is a great aid in your family wellness kit.
Why make my own hand sanitizer?
Yes, there are brands on store shelves that contain less of the nasty ingredients, but to be store shelf stable, they need preservatives which I like to avoid. I also learned from making my own sunscreen, understanding every ingredient gives you better insight into personal care products. I have found making my own personal care products to be a great source of empowerment trying to understand how each ingredient aids in sun protection, hand sanitizing, or skincare, etc. I modified a recipe, adding more antibacterial and anti-virus essential oils with tea tree and lavender. All the ingredients to make this DIY hand sanitizer could easily make multiple batches and last all fall and winter seasons. For leftover oils, you can easily find uses so invest in the ingredients and enjoy experimenting with very safe essential oils.
DIY Hand Sanitizer Recipe
- 1 cup of distilled water
- 1/2 cup aloe vera extract liquid (not the gel)
- 1 tablespoon alcohol-free witch hazel
- 1/4 avocado oil
- 20 drops tea tree oil
- 20 drops lavender oil
Purchase aluminum spray bottles and kids can decorate the bottles. These bottles make DIY hand sanitizer look store-bought so if you’ve got school-aged kids that don’t appreciate your DIY efforts, just tell them you bought it.
I’ve been playing with different hand sanitizer recipes and unlike the witch hazel, this hand sanitizer left my hands feeling nourished and soft. Not often you can say that about hand sanitizer – the hospital grade sanitizers leave my skin raw. I also like the choice of essential oils in this recipe so that parents can use this recipe on young children that might want to avoid mint oils. Thyme is also a popular oil used in natural store-bought hand sanitizers, you could add 10 drops if you have it on hand to this recipe if you like the scent.
What ingredients do you want to avoid in hand sanitizers for kids?
- If your hand sanitizer is marketed as ‘antibacterial’ it might contain triclosan. The concern is it may contribute to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
- Remember when I said I like to avoid preservatives? We know that parabens are now linked to cancer and cause endocrine disruption and should be avoided. Any ingredient in your personal care that ends in ‘paraben’ for example butylparaben, should be avoided in children.
- For years my kids have complained about the scent that is unleashed from traditional hand sanitizer in a class room when kids bring in highly fragrant sanitizers. If your sanitizer has a strong scent, unless it’s an essential oil blend created by YOU, it’s probably loaded with toxic chemicals.
Strong microban sanitizers belong in hospitals, not homes or schools. Make up a batch of this no-germ hand spray and you’ll love having it in-stock to ride out flu season. With media already issuing reports of Enterovirus D68, let’s stay calm and empowered with finding arsenals for family wellness kits. I’m going to stick with tea tree oil’s ability to fight all three types of infectious organisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) and encourage more regular hand washing with my family.