Make a gentle hand sanitizer that is safe for you and your children. Support your immune system, and keep your family safe and healthy with these hand sanitizer recipes, and five additional methods of beating seasonal flu and colds.
Cold and flu season is here. There’s a few easy things you can do now to defend you and your family against sickness this year. One is to wash your hands with soap and water often. But when you are out in public, it’s not easy to do. And of course, that’s when you end up exposed to viruses and bacteria. You can find alcohol based hand sanitizers in most public places now.
I just ordered two natural hand sanitizers from Grove cooperative, to compare them for a future post. They both come in 2 oz. bottles. Both are alcohol based. The Grove brand has a fresh orange scent and is 60% alcohol with aloe gel to keep hands from drying out. It is thicker and doesn’t spill or leak. The other is a spray hand sanitizer with lavender essential oil from Dr. Bonner’s that tends to leak in the car. It is also 60% alcohol. I prefer the Grove Brand gel. But with the Covid-19 viral scare, these products can be hard to find. Hand sanitizer is one of the commodities that is quickly running out.
When you can’t find hand sanitizer at the store, make your own
You can make your own hand sanitizer using a high proof alcohol like Ever Clear or 99% Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). While it might not be as moisturizing as a commercial product it can be effective in killing germs. Use a lotion bar or moisturizing lotion after using hand sanitizer to keep hands from drying out and cracking.
Hand sanitizer for your flu season needs, that is 60% alcohol as recommended by the CDC. The essential oils in this recipe do more than just disguise the scent of the alcohol. They are also antimicrobial, increasing the strength of this hand sanitizer.
- Mix all the ingredients in a glass measuring cup. Use a stick blender to mix the alcohol and aloe gel. The aloe gel may stiffen and resist mixing if you mix with just a spoon. Blending it with a stick blender will solve the problem.
- Put the mixture into a 2 ounce silicone squeeze bottle.
- You can also use a 2 oz. spray bottle. It’s thin enough to work through the sprayer.
- Label and date the bottle.
- Use as needed
The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer that is 60% alcohol to kill germs and reduce the spread of Covid-19. Alcohol is very drying to the skin. Use a lotion bar after hand sanitizer to keep the skin soft and prevent cracking.
A Gentle Hand Sanitizer
This hand sanitizer doesn’t contain alcohol and instead uses essential oils for the antibacterial benefits. This is not the 60% alcohol hand sanitizer recommended by the CDC and WHO. Instead the naturally antimicrobial essential oils provide cleansing and protection. Note that this is more than the usual 2% essential oil recommended for daily essential oils use. In this case the essential oils provide antibacterial and antifungal benefits. This is why we are recommending 4% essential oil or 48 total drops of essential oil for 2 ounces.
Make a gentle hand sanitizer that really works. Without alcohol that will dry your skin and without antibiotics that contribute to antibiotic resistance. Naturally antimicrobial essential oils like lemon, tea tree, and lavender will take care of the bad stuff and defend your family against flu and colds this season.
2 ounces aloe vera gel
12 drops of lemon essential oil
12 drops of lavender essential oil
12 drops of tea tree essential oil
12 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
Mix all the ingredients and put into a 2 ounce silicone squeeze bottle. These ones are leak proof and durable. You can also use a 2 oz. spray bottle. It’s thin enough to work through the sprayer. Label the bottle. Keep one inside your car for trips to the store. Keep one at home and one in the office.
In less than 5 minutes you can make enough hand sanitizer to keep you through the season.Print
A gentle hand sanitizer formulated for children’s skin. The essential oil blend in this hand sanitizer is antimicrobial and is used in a high enough concentration to kill germs.
- 2 ounces of aloe vera gel
- 18 drops of Kidsafe Defender Blend
- Mix all the ingredients and put into a 2 ounce silicone squeeze bottle.
- Use as often as needed, especially when you are out in public and kids may be exposed to microbes that their immune system hasn’t been challenged with yet.
Gentle Hand Sanitizer (For children ages 5 to 12)
Kids shouldn’t use adult hand sanitizers. The extra potency of commercial hand sanitizers can challenge the delicate immune systems of kids. Instead make this gentle hand sanitizer that will cleanse without drying skin. Plus it smells great.
2 ounces of aloe vera gel
4 drops of lemon essential oil
6 drops of lavender essential oil
6 drops of sweet orange essential oil
Mix all the ingredients and put into a 2 ounce silicone squeeze bottle. Use as often as needed, especially when you are out in public and kids may be exposed to microbes that their immune system hasn’t been challenged with yet.
If you are allergic to aloe vera or don’t have access to it, you can use flax jelly. See this recipe for hand sanitizer made with flax jelly
Other tips to protect your family against colds and flu
Keep your vitamin D levels optimized.
Spend a bit of time every day in the sunshine and if you live in the wintery parts of North America, take a vitamin D supplement beginning September 1st.
Supplement with Vitamin C
Dr. Richard Cheng is an American doctor who is in Shanghai right now doing clinical trials on IV- vitamin C, and seeing patients with severe Covid-19 and co-morbidities recover. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and is useful to support the immune system to overcome infection and viruses.
Listen to this story of oral V-C as a prevention of coronavirus.
Clean the light switch plates and door knobs
Wipe door knobs, fridge and microwave handles, light switch plates, and keyboards once a week with an antimicrobial solution to keep the microbes in check. These areas are often neglected and are places where outside hands touch first. Here’s my recipe for Thieves Vinegar that will give you extra umph in your cleaning. If you don’t have time to wait a month for it to maximize, and lose some of that acidic scent, just add 1/2 tsp. of lemon essential oil, 25 drops of cinnamon essential oil, and ½ tsp. tea tree essential oil to 2 cups of white vinegar, in a spray bottle. Give it a good shake. Spray your cloth and wipe.
When your kids (or you) are sick stay home
So often the claims that the world (or church) has on us, outweigh the claims we have on our own health and well-being. How many times did I take my baby into the church nursery, only to find 3 other kids with runny noses and coughs? Of course, by Wednesday my own cherub has the virus that was going around the church nursery that week. When your child is sick, let him rest at home, with you. And when you are sick, don’t go out.
Have enough food in your pantry that you don’t need to run to the grocery store when you are sick. Rest and drinking lots of fluids are the best support in sickness. When we pop a pill to mask the symptoms and carry on as usual, we cheat our bodies of the rest they need and often bring complications on. We might also infect others. So love yourself and get the rest you need.
Use a disinfecting room mist
8 drops of rosemary essential oil
4 drops of lavender essential oil
Water to fill the reservoir of your diffuser
Place water in the reservoir of your electronic room diffuser. (This is the one I use.) Add the essential oils. Turn it on. It will put cool mist into the room air and disinfect at the same time. If you don’t have a room diffuser, you really want to get one. It makes keeping healthy in winter smell so nice. But you can put your essential oils in a pan of water on a warm burner or on the back of your woodstove. They don’t last as long in high heat though as they do in a room diffuser.
Herbs to take at the first sign of a cold or flu
Elderberry prevents viruses from replicating in your body. Experiments have shown Elderberry to be more effective than Tamiflu at lessening the duration of a cold or flu. One drawback of the syrup is it’s short shelf life. It only lasts about 2 weeks in the fridge for me. You can process it in a boiling water bath to extend the shelf life. Elderberry tincture (2 cups of dried elderberry or 3 cups of fresh elderberries macerated in 4 cups of vodka for 4 weeks) lasts indefinitely, but it has alcohol and so shouldn’t be used with young children.
I keep dried elderberries on hand at all times, and make the syrup fresh on an as needed basis. But I also make 1 quart of elderberry tincture each fall, for those times when you just need a couple doses to stave off a cold. 1 quart of tincture makes about 6 – 100ml bottles of tincture. It’s very economical to make your own. ($30.50 for 4 ounces of prepared ready made tincture or $8 for enough dried berries for $180 worth of tincture.) Note that raw berries should be cooked before eating, and heat processed if juicing.
There are many other herbs that can support your immune system to fight viruses. Yarrow, mullein, astragalus, St. John’s Wort, and woad should be in your arsenal. But having a homestead apothecary won’t help if you don’t know how to use them safely and judiciously.
Echinacea supports the immune system by modulating the immune response. It is safe to take echinacea at the first sign of a cold or flu and then continue taking it throughout the infection. Echinacea is antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and supports your body’s own ability to heal itself.
Learn about Herbs
Learning all you can about herbs and essential oils can help you keep your family safe and well all the time, not just during pandemics and seasonal flu. Join my membership, the DIY Herbal Fellowship to learn about growing and using herbs for your family’s wellness needs. The doors to the DIY Herbal Fellowship will be opening soon, join my VIP list so that you will be the first to know when the doors open.
When you join my VIP list I’ll send you my ebook, Using Ginger for Cold and Flu Relief right away, so that you can learn to DIY with natural remedies quickly and easily.