I'm looking for a hand cleaning liquid and use like a sanitizer without water. I don't really need it to be antibacterial, but to keep my hands as clean as washing for 40 seconds (20 seconds soaping, 20 seconds rinsing) with soap and water.
Hand washing is supposed to be one of the biggest ways to stay healthy during cold and flu season, but I don't always have access to a sink. Antibacterial sanitizers make my skin blister. I can't stand strong smells like essential oils.
What are some recipe ideas for making my own sanitizer?
I have been researching this a bit for the obvious reasons, and one thing I have learned is that for killing cold and flu virus, the gold standard is alcohol, at very high concentrations (70-90 percent). It doesn't need to be ethanol (expensive and taxed, or "denatured" with random toxins); it can be isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) which is cheap and even more effective, although often sold at concentrations too low to be useful. Wikipedia has a lot of useful info and cites.
With such high alcohol percentages, you're not usually looking at a gel; most preparations sold into the medical system are referred to as "alcohol rubs". But from a preparation standpoint, you've got 10 to 30 percent to play with of "what do I mix with this alcohol to make it easier to use and to repair my hands"? My first thought would be aloe vera gel or something to help restore skin oils -- perhaps lanolin or a vegetable oil, an emulsifier, perhaps a tiny bit of water to help with the emulsification. But that's as far as my thinking has gotten.
Location: Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep clay/loam with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
posted 2 weeks ago
As Dan says, plain old 70 percent isopropyl alcohol is our go to (if and when we remember) when we feel we need to wipe down doorknobs and 'things'. I often use it for chigger bites, just splashed on my ankles and much less rarely use a little to 'wash' my hands. I don't have any reaction or sensitivities to it though and some folks might. It does not seem as drying to my skin as I thought it might be. I used to use it often as an underarm 'deodorant'.
If you are not looking for antibacterial though how about a jar with small squares of cloth covered in a lesser percentage of alcohol with some water? Pull out one at a time and hang to dry and wash them later. I've always intended to do something like that to keep in the car. A wide mouth quart would hold several.
"We're all just walking each other home." -Ram Dass
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder."-Rumi
Maybe the other option would be to consider bringing along whatever you would need to wash your hands, with the soap you best tolerate, where you might not have sink access. If you can go outside and drip on a lawn, maybe just bringing a squirt bottle and washing your hands outside might be a better idea (and maybe using the ends of a scarf, gloves, etc to open doors and touch random things on your way back in. You're still in the winter, so it's easier. In the summer I also tend to be wearing a scarf and if I'm in a place that is ridiculously germy I will use an end to touch things, and I try to do whatever I can without touching.)
These 70+% alcohol solutions do a job on your hands.
(this isn't really part of your question but lately everyplace I go people comment on it and it seems surprising that more people don't do it: bring your own pen!! I am NOT going to use that pen in the post office or, heaven forbid, on the counter at the doctor's office or pharmacy. I always have a pen on me.)
I get a bunch of paper towels, the half width ones and stack them in a single layer in a freezer quality gallon size zip lock bag. Then in a large container I mix a good quality aloe vera gel, 90% etoh, a few drops of a biodegradable soap to break surface tension but not soapy. Mix well and pour it over the paper towels in the zip lock bag. (Yes pachamama, I'm sorry I know I am using plastic and I use the same ones for a decade.) Not too wet but saturated.
The paper towels give you a surface to wipe/scrub with, alcohol cleans, disinfects, aloe vera is gentle on skin and the few drops of soap break the surface tension. I keep them in the car, the apiary, the fields. Tuck them away in the shade in a protected place. Keep well sealed so they don't dry out.
Hope this works for you too.
PS - Dear Gir Bot, seriously, may I have more apples to toss? Three isn't nearly enough for all these awesome posts!
The biggest challenge is going to be to change my behaviour pattern. To remember to use this sanitizer. This means I have to find something that is as convenient as possible and fits with established behaviour patterns.
One of the reasons why wet wipes don't work is that I have to find a place to dispose of them. Same with washable damp cloths - I have to remember them when I get home and put the old ones to dry/wash and replenish the supply.
Since I always carry at least one small piece of dry cloth for hand drying and other things, I think something that I can put in a mini spray or pump bottle would work best for training myself into using it.
I avoid aloe as it's one of those things that causes nasty pussy blisters on my skin.
But please keep the ideas coming. I'm a difficult case, but other people might be inspired by the suggestions.