How to Make a Natural Hand Sanitizer With 3 Simple Ingredients

DIY natural hand sanitizer

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So, your hands are a tad grimy — maybe you were just clinging to a subway pole for dear life during rush hour, or you just wiped your kid’s runny nose — yet you’re nowhere near a sink to do a proper hand washing (which is always you’re best bet if possible, according to experts). In these instances, you’d probably reach for hand sanitizer that you’ve picked up at the local pharmacy or convenience store. But many families aren’t aware that conventional hand sanitizers have been known to come with their own set of risks in the past due to sketchy ingredients, including triclosan, artificial fragrances, and artificial colors.

Triclosan, an anti-bacterial agent that was once widely used in alcohol-free hand sanitizers, is of particular concern, as it has been linked to endocrine (i.e. hormonal) disruption and liver problems, and has been shown to persist in the environment and water supplies for long periods of time. In 2019, a new Food and Drug Administration ruling stated that manufacturers wouldn’t be able to use over 25 different ingredients, including triclosan and benzethonium chloride, in the United States due to newfound evidence that these agents could actually be irritants on their own. But the FDA hasn’t banned every questionable ingredient just yet — ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol, alongside benzalkonium chloride, are still being studied to determine if they’re truly safe in consumer-friendly hand sanitizers.

So, what’s a health-minded person with dirty hands to do? You can buy an organic, alcohol-based hand sanitizer like this one: EO Hand Sanitizer Spray, which is naturally scented with lavender essential oil. If soap and water aren’t available for you or your loved ones, this product could be your next best bet, according to expertise published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Don’t have time to wait for two-day shipping? Whip up a nontoxic DIY hand sanitizer with our instructions below, which packs in the germ-killing power of alcohol and anti-bacterial lavender and tea tree essential oils. Plus, we’ve included the soothing properties of aloe vera to keep your digits from drying out too much this winter. Here’s exactly how to make it:

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Step 1

Fill your bottle 1/4 to 1/3 of the way full with vodka.

Step 2

Add 10 to 15 drops each of tea tree essential oil and lavender essential oil. These two essential oils have natural anti-bacterial properties, and together they smell great, making them an ideal combo.

Step 4

Toss it in your bag or purse and use as needed! Remember, hand washing with regular soap and water is always your best bet for killing germs, but a natural, alcohol-based hand sanitizer like this is your next best bet.

This story originally appeared on Rodale’s Organic Life in February 2017.

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