On-the-Go Hand Cleanser

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Although it is clear nothing beats washing our hands with basic soap* and hot water, we may often find ourselves in a pinch where a portable hand cleanser would be handy (pun intended). Notice how I’m not choosing to call this a “hand sanitizer”…you can probably guess why. Instead of some drippy-drabby post that goes on and on let’s get right to it with a recipe that you may turn-to in a pinch. (*Rant: Consider using BAR SOAP. Why use plastic containers where the dispensing top is probably never cleaned.)

What you need:

  • 2 ounce (60 ml) bottle with an easy to use applicator top
  • 48 ml Ethanol (over proof such as Everclear or Polmos’ “Spirytus Rektyfikowany”)
    • Note: I often use Polomos’ product in my spritzers and in tinctures when I am out of my organic neutral spirits as I can usually find it at my local liquor store.
    • Note: I prefer not using Isopropyl alcohol out of principle as it is very drying and the fumes are not good for our respiratory tracts .
  • 10 ml Aloe vera gel (Update: 3APR20: Gel, not Jelly as the preservative comes out of solution in the presence of alcohol)
  • Optional Enhancers: 2 ml Essential oils
    • Suggestion 1: 6 drops Thymus vulgaris, 12 drops Salvia rosmarinus, 20 drops Pelargonium graveolens.
    • Suggestion 2: 4 drops Cymbopogon citratus, 10 drops Citrus paradisi, 20 drops Melaleuca alternifolia
    • Suggestion 3: 5 drops Eugenia caryophyllata, Clove, 10 drops Pelargonium graveolens, 20 drops Lavandula angustifolia
    • Note: as you surmise, there are other possible combinations…

Following is the math by volume for those who are interested in scaling…

  • 80% (48 ml) Ethanol
  • 17% (10 ml) Aloe vera gel
  • 3% (2 ml) Essential oils

Putting it together: Simply put all of the ingredients in the bottle, affix the dispenser top and shake the heck out of it to combine the ingredients. Be sure to label it with a name, the ingredients and the date made.

To use it: Dispense a dollop on dry hands and rub your hands together vigorously, all over. Don’t be shy. Do this until your hands are dry. Once you are by soap and water, get to it and wash your hands. A “dry” cleanser such as this is not a substitute for simple yet verifiably effective hand washing. Use this batch up within 3 months.

Mind you, this recipe has not been subjected to rigorous studies nor can claims be made about disinfecting, “kill rates” of bacteria or other microbial beasts that are always in our environment and have a  right to be here too, just like mosquitoes, cockroaches and the plant we know and love called poison ivy.

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