Since school has been out my children have been playing outside in the backyard non-stop. They've been digging in the dirt, making mud pies, watering the gardens, and playing with our chickens, so as you can imagine, it's pretty dirty. I'll put it this way, there has been a lot of hand washing going on in my house lately.
Almost everywhere you go these days you'll see anti-bacterial hand wash in the bathroom. I'm talking about the commercial products with synthetic anti-bacterial chemicals like triclosan. Triclosan is polluting our water and damaging aquatic life. It's been discovered that it alters hormone regulation in animals (and possibly in humans) and may be a contributing factor to the newly forming superbugs. Even the FDA has stated on it's website that there is a possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
The overuse of chemicals like triclosan is bad for the earth and the life it supports. Each time these products are used it contributes just a little bit more to the pollution and the ever expanding superbugs. In my opinion, it should be outlawed, but government agencies still claim there isn't enough evidence to say it should be avoided.
So What Can Informed Consumers, like you and I, Do?
Avoid it. Don't purchase or use any commercial anti-bacterial soaps. Period.
Make your own (or purchase) natural alternatives. There are a number of essential oils that help keep hands clean without stripping skin of all the good stuff or creating a possibility for health risks.
If you are skeptical at all about essential oils, I suggest you read this blog post. I came across it a few months ago and was really impressed with this information. This is real scientific proof.
How to Make Your Own Natural Hand Soap
Making your own natural hand soap at home is easy.
- Start with a base liquid castile soap like Dr. Bronners Magic Soap
- Fill a soap dispenser 3/4 full (like this foaming dispenser) and then fill the rest of the way with water.
- Add some essential oils for natural anti-microbial properties. Depending on the size of your dispenser you can add anywhere from 5-25 drops of the essential oil. The more diluted the solution, the less powerful the oils will be. These are some essential oils that work well in hand soap (if you are starting to use essential oils a lot you might want to read this to learn how I get top quality oils at a discounted rate):
- Thieves oil (a young living oil blend)
- Cinnamon essential oil
- Peppermint essential oil
- Tea tree essential oil
It's that simple. I keep these ingredients on hand so that I can easily re-fill my dispenser as needed (which has been a lot lately!).