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Keeping it Clean. Fighting Germs with Essential Oil Hand Cleansers

Yes I got an A in Virology :)

Fall is upon us. And for many back to school and more time indoors means more exposure to germs and the start of cold and flu season. In a previous post I shared about the benefits of a steam tent for supporting sinus health and fighting germs. Another simple way to stay well is to wash or clean your hands often.

According to the CDC "regular hand-washing (with soap and water), particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others." 1 And when soap and water is not available the CDC recommends alcohol based hand sanitizer.

If soap and water are not available and you are not a fan of alcohol based sanitizer, an hand cleanser contain essential oils may be a good option. Essential oils contain aromatic compounds that fight germs. Tea tree for example contains terpinin-4-ol which research shows is highly effective against germs. 2 And many essential oils such as lavender (Lavendula angustafolia), Eucalyptus globulus, oregano (Origanum vulgare), and clove bud (Eugenia caryophallata) for example contain aromatic compounds that are anti-microbial. 3 and 4

Adding essential oils to a base of distilled water and aloe gel can be a wonderful aromatic way to create a hand cleanser that can help fight germs and support the immune system. You'll also get the aromatic benefits of inhalation as well. Here's how to make a natural hand cleaner. It's easy and economical.

What you'll need:

1 oz. PET plastic bottle with a flip top or glass spray bottle

aloe gel (preferably organic)

distilled water

10-12 drops of essential oils (great choices include lavender, orange, pine, tea tree, eucaplytus, ravintsara, peppermint, rosemary, and lemon to name a few)

To make a spray. Clean workspace and tools with isopropyl alcohol. To a clean, 30 ml sanitized glass spray bottle add 10 mls (2 teaspoons) of aloe gel and 20 ml of distilled water (4 teaspoons). Add 10-12 drops of essential oils for example:

5 drops lavender, 5 drops of orange (for kids under 12 try 2-3 drops of each oil).

5 drops peppermint, 5 drops of rosemary, 2 drops or orange.

or come up with your own combination. Cap, shake gently to combine, and it's ready to use.

To use. Spray a small amount on the hand and rub gently into hands.

To make a thicker gel

Add 15 ml of aloe (3 teaspoons) and 15 ml of distilled water (3 teaspoons) to a 30 ml PET plastic bottle. Add 10-12 drops of essential oils, cap, and gently shake to combine (great choices include lavender, orange, pine, tea tree, eucaplytus, ravintsara, peppermint, rosemary, and lemon to name a few). Shake 3 drops or so onto hands and rub gently to distribute.

Since oil and water don't mix you'll have to shake to combine before each use or use Solubal dispersant. Since this is a water based application it will need to be make fresh every few weeks. If creating to sell you'll have to add a preservative.

If you have questions about using essential oils for fighting cold and flu please contact me. Click the links if you'd like to take the class "Protect Your Family from Cold and Flu" or purchase blends for fighting germs in my store.

And if you order before Sept. 30th you can save 25% on immune support products and classes. Use the code STAYWELL

And if you'd like a custom product I have more than 100 essential oils in my oil fridge. Contact me for a consult for a custom essential oil product to support your health and wellness.

Stay healthy my friends.


Research Examples:

1. Astani, A., Reichling, J. and Schnitzler, P. (2010) Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils. Phytotherapy Research 24, 5, 673-679.

2. Edwards-Jones, V., Buck, R., Shawcross S.G., Dawson, M.M. and Dunn, K. (2004) The effect of essential oils on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus using a dressing model. Burns 30, 8, 772-777.

3. Cermelli, C., Fabio, A., Fabio, G. and Quaglio, P. (2008) Effect of eucalyptus essential oil on respiratory bacteria and viruses. Current Microbiology 56, 1, 89-92.

4. Edris, A.E. (2007) Pharmaceutical and therapeutic potentials of essential oils and their individual volatile constituents: a review. Phytotherapy Research 21, 308-323.

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