Hand Sanitizer Insanity
I will always remember a mini sanitizer bottle with blue silicone travel strap that I tossed in the garbage in January 2020 because I hadn't even used it in the 2 years after I received it as a freebie at an event. Talk about blowing up a product overnight! In March of 2020, sanitizers were SOLD OUT. We received many questions on the sanitizing effects of our air purifiers (check out the FAQ here) but hand sanitizers are here to stay. Here is what to know about them:
- The FDA has identified over 77 sanitizers that are unsafe to use and should be tossed out. The main culprit is unsafe levels of methanol, which is produced during the first part of the distilling process.
- Other unsafe ingredients in hand sanitizers include triclosan, phthalates, fragrance, sodium laurel/laureth sulfate, and parabens.
- Ethanol is considered the “safe” form of alcohol that is used in safe sanitizers (at a minimum of 67%), but this is also a VOC (volatile organic compound) and it causes your skin to become ultra-absorptive to more dangerous toxins, like BPA. BPA is a chemical that’s found in paper like receipts, plastic eating and drinking containers, and it disrupts our hormones and causes 7 out of 10 hallmarks of cancer. So if you sanitize your hands before eating, then handle a receipt for your fast food, you have effectively transferred the BPA into your skin.
- Some hand sanitizers use Benzalkonium Chloride (BAC) as their main sanitizing ingredient, which is considered safe up to concentrations of 0.1%. This ingredient can be more harmful, however, to people with asthma or eczema, and is a less reliable defense against bacteria and viruses than sanitizers containing ethanol or isopropyl alcohol as their main ingredient.
- Hand sanitizers do not remove actual dirt, other contaminants like gasoline, and are less effective than hand-washing at removing dangerous germs like norovirus and C. difficile. So, if you are doing certain tasks like the following, make sure to use good old-fashioned soap and water:
- When you are exposed to stomach germs like norovirus or c. difficile
- Before and after preparing food
- After going to the bathroom or cleaning up any human or animal waste
- While caring for someone who is sick
- After handling garbage
- Before treating wounds
- When you have visible dirt on your hands
- After handling animals
Here are some sanitizers you can make on your own!
- Force of Nature is a method of making electrolyzed water, which is a completely safe and natural disinfectant that can be used for hand sanitizing and cleaning all areas in your home that can tolerate water! They have a line of reusable bottles and travel-size sprays that are great for the environment.
- Make your own sanitizer with aloe vera gel and essential oils
And here are some sanitizers you can buy that have safer active ingredients such as citric acid or hydrogen peroxide:
- EO Hand Sanitizers: use plant-derived organic alcohol
- Bee Clean Beeswax Hand Sanitizer: uses beeswax for moisturizing properties
Do healthy, good-smelling hand-sanitizers make great little gifts? We think so!