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Saturday, October 13, 2012

hand sanitizer

I love killing bad germs. What I'm not so fond of is killing good germs. Or drying out my skin. Or paying lots of money! Herbal hand sanitizer is so easy to make, I'm wondering why I didn't discover it sooner. I only started making it after my son was born. With a tiny baby in the house, I admit I get a little germophobic. Hands must be washed a zillion times a day, and sanitized between times. If you use anything with an alcoholic base, such a routine wreaks havoc on tender skin. It got so bad within the first few weeks that the skin underneath my wedding ring was chapped raw, flaking, red, and sore so that I had to remove my ring until my finger healed. That's when I figured there had to be a better way. And no way was that better going to involve not washing and cleaning my hands.

Herbal Hand Sanitizer
1 pint glass canning jar, with lid and ring
1/2 c eucalyptus herb
the colored rind of one orange
the colored rind of one lemon
apple cider vinegar

To get the colored rind from the fruit, use a vegetable peeler. The colored part is where all the good essential oils lie, and those oils are what is not only fragrant and slightly moisturizing, but where all the good anti-germ super power lies. I suppose you could use a few drops of distilled essential oil of orange and lemon, but then you have to keep shaking your finished solution to keep it all mixed up. This way, not only is it cheaper but you never have to worry about it separating. Orange has been cited in the use of cellular regeneration. Lemon is widely known to be astringent and antiseptic. Each has many other good qualities but I am sure you can go find more information if these wonderful points are not convincing enough for you.

Eucalyptus is a tropical tree. Once upon a time, my husband traveled to Australia and swam in a natural pool surrounded by eucalyptus. The water was saturated with the stuff. He was warned not to swallow any of the water, as the oil from these trees makes them not only highly flammable but tainted that pool of water to be poisonous. So, don't drink your herbal hand sanitizer! The good news is that the oil from eucalyptus is deterrent to insects and especially germs. Distilled as an essential oil, it combats airborne viruses. In our hand sanitizer, it works magic action against all the bad germs that you really don't want making their way inside your body from hand to mouth or nose.

And apple cider vinegar? Good carrier. Gentle on the skin. I actually use it to clean my hair, as a diluted rinse following a baking soda "scrub" on my scalp, instead of shampoo.

Pack your herbs and rind into the jar. Fill up with vinegar to the top. Cap. Store in a dark, cool place, such as a kitchen cabinet or the fridge, for 3 weeks. Give it a good shake on occasion. At the end of this time, use a thin rag or cheesecloth to strain and squeeze out the solids from the liquid. The remaining liquid is your sanitizer. Store in the fridge. Use as is or diluted 50%. I have this in a dollar store spray bottle on my kitchen ledge, and a tiny spray bottle in my purse so that I don't have to use an alcoholic sanitizer when I'm on the go. My one year old son gets his hands sprayed with this stuff at least once a day. I'm not concerned about poisoning him, as I ensure his hands are either followed up with a quick wipe with a damp cloth or let to dry before he can put them into his mouth. He is still mostly crawling and his little hands go everywhere they can possibly reach. I like knowing I'm fighting germs where I can, and he is used to a quick spray and a "clap your hands dry" game after a visit to the grocery store.

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