Want to stay healthy? One key is keeping your hands clean. Washing your hands is one of the best ways to optimize your health and help stop the spread of germs and viruses.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides these instructions for hand washing:
Follow these five steps every time.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
If soap and water are not available, your second best best at keeping your hands clean is using hand sanitizer. Look for one with 60% alcohol content and/or combined ingredients that contain antiviral/antibacterial properties.
Natural hand sanitizers have multiple benefits, particularly if they contain both alcohol and some water content, which will help penetrate the skin and provide more germ protection. Many natural hand sanitizers also contain oils that can help protect skin from dryness.
What you want to avoid are synthetic ingredients.Triclosan, for example, is currently being investigated by the FDA because it is a hormone disrupter and may be contributing to antibiotic resistance. For the same reasons, avoid parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances.
Here's a Do-It-Yourself recipe that you can try at home to make 22 ounces of all-natural hand sanitizer. It may be stored safely for up to six months.
What You Need:
hand-held electric mixer
glass spray bottles (1-2 oz bottles for carry-around size; 4 oz for home use)
2 cups vodka
1 cup witch hazel
1/2 cup aloe
1 tablespoon jojoba oil
1 tablespoon xantam gum (thickening agent, optional)
2 tablespoon eucalyptus, lavender or peppermint essential oil
1 teaspoon frankincense essential oil
In a large mixing bowl, combine vodka, witch hazel, aloe, jojoba oil and Xantam gum. Mix with a hand-held electric mixer until it's combined into an even, white mixture.
Once combined, add in essential oils and mix again.
Pour contents (with a measuring cup) through funnel into glass containers.
Some anti-viral and antibacterial benefits of the natural ingredients above:
1. Vodka: Vodka is a natural disinfectant that can work to keep wounds, counter tops, hands and equipment clean and reduce the amount of bacteria.
2. Aloe gel: Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) has been used for thousands of years for the treatment of different ailments. Aloe naturally contains antiseptic properties that can kill bacteria and viruses.
3. Witch hazel: Contains several compounds with potent anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties
4. Jojoba Oil: Jojoba oil naturally has some bacteria and anti-viral properties as well as being anti-fungal. It can tackle candida and E-coli.
5. Eucalyptus Oil: Eucalyptus oil was used as an antiseptic agent during surgeries prior to the 20th century, as well as for cleaning catheters. It has been proven to effectively kill 22 types of harmful bacteria, including E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
Many bacteria strains have become antibiotic-resistant, Bacteria, however, are unlikely to build resistance to eucalyptus oil and other antibacterial essential oils.
6. Frankincense Oil: Considered the holy oil of the East for centuries, frankincense has antiseptic properties and can reduce inflammation. Studies have demonstrated frankincense essential oil's immune-supporting properties throughout the body.
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