Whether it’s H1N1 or a Coronavirus, nobody wants to get the flu. When it does hit our home, we want to prevent it from spreading with thorough disinfecting and sanitizing.
Usually, it’s a simple matter of picking up some antibacterial cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer. But when the world is threatened by a pandemic, panicked shoppers create shortages. Additionally, many people would like to use antiviral solutions that have more natural ingredients.
That’s when people start to search online for hand sanitizer recipes and DIY disinfecting solutions. Before you make your own, however, there are important things you should know.
It’s a Fact
- “Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs,” states the CDC. “Soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers at removing certain kinds of germs, like Cryptosporidium, Norovirus, and Clostridium difficile1-5.”
- Much like antibiotics, the vast majority of substances with antibacterial properties are only effective on certain viruses. Broad spectrum antimicrobials are often harsh, like bleach. Blends offer more coverage, but can also interfere with the effectiveness of one another.
- Many hand sanitizer recipes suggest using Vodka. However, the alcohol should be 80-100 proof, which isn’t sold in Canada. Using weaker alcohol may reduce germs, but it won’t kill enough to make it worthwhile.
- If your formula contains essential oils, it should be stored in a dark, glass bottle.
- High quality essential oils are a must for both effectiveness and safety.
- All disinfectants, including essential oils, must be kept out of reach of pets and children. Avoid using tea tree oil around pets. Pets are especially sensitive to essential oils and cats, rabbits and birds shouldn’t be exposed to them.
What are the Best Essential Oils for Killing Germs & Viruses?
There has been ample scientific proof of the antimicrobial properties of essential oils used topically.
“Lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint and orange oils were effective against all the 22 bacterial strains,” says one such study. “Aegle and palmarosa oils inhibited 21 bacteria; patchouli and ageratum oils inhibited 20 bacteria and citronella and geranium oils were inhibitory to 15 and 12 bacterial strains, respectively.”
The specific antiviral properties of each essential oil has been studied less.
“At present, various essential oils may be a promising alternative against viral infections,” says a 2016 study, Antimicrobial Properties of Plant Essential Oils against Human Pathogens and Their Mode of Action. “However, the detailed understanding on the antiviral action of essential oils still requires more research.”
Adding a few drops of the following essential oils may boost the virus-killing power of your homemade cleaners and hand sanitizer.
Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Niaouli (Melaleuca viridiflora) is a relative of the Tea Tree and has similar properties, but isn’t quite as harsh.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Sweet Marjoram (Origanum marjorana)
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum)
Ravensare (Ravensare armomatica)
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Oregano (Origanum heracleoticum)
Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus)
Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Grapefruit seed extract
Homemade Hand Sanitizer Recipe
- Fill 70% of a 2 ounce bottle with rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol 70%+)
- Add 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil or Niaouli
- Add 10 drops of Lavender essential oil
- Add 10 drops of Peppermint essential oil
- Top with Aloe Vera Gel until bottle is full. Shake well before use.
- Store in a dark, glass bottle to best preserve the properties of essential oils.
You can do any combination with rubbing alcohol if you don’t have all of the ingredients.
Test on a small patch of skin and watch for any reaction for 24 hours, before using it all over your hands.
Easy Homemade Antiviral Cleaners
Homemade antibacterial cleaners don’t have to be complicated. In fact, it’s downright easy to use items you probably already have: Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide.
“On their own, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are strong germ killers,” says David Suzuki’s Queen of Green. “They’re even better as a one-two combo. Mixing vinegar and hydrogen peroxide together cuts their germ-killing power [and is highly corrosive]. Using them one after the other is more effective than either substance alone — even better than bleach!”
- Wash hard surfaces with vinegar
- Spray the same surfaces with 3% hydrogen peroxide
What Kills All Viruses?
It’s difficult to know what exactly will kill each specific virus, but we can use ingredients that are known to be effective against a broad range of viruses. As always, your best defense is thorough and frequent hand washing.
??? How do you prevent the flu at your house?
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