Make your own anti-bacterial hand wash and hand sanitizer!

Posted by on Jul 15, 2013 in Natural Remedies | 36 comments

Around this time of year (winter for us in Australia) the ads for ‘antibacterial’ handwashes start to hit our TV screens in force.

Apparently we need to buy their anti-bacterial handwash to have happy, healthy kids! 

Dislike! Not only are these ads misleading, they are promoting a product full of chemicals with the words healthy? Arrrgh!  

Really dislike!

Okay, so what is so bad about anti-bacterial handwash?

“There are two types of antibacterial products, those with alcohol and those with triclosan. Triclosan weakens the immune system and is suspected of causing cancer. Its overuse can also lead to the creation of “superbugs.” Slow Death by Rubberduck.

“Triclosan also affects the natural environment. Wastewater treatment does not remove all of the chemical, which means it ends up in our lakes, rivers and water sources. That’s especially unfortunate since triclosan is very toxic to aquatic life.” Environmental Working Group

Alcohol in antibacterial products worries me too. A 60-75% alcohol content makes them highly flammable and dangerous around children. There have been cases of children hospitalized from accidental ingestion and poisoning. A quick google search also reveals that teenagers are drinking hand sanitizers to get drunk!

Other ingredients commonly found in hand wash and sanitizer is fragrance which can contain phthalates – known endocrine disrupters.  “They have been linked with endometriosis and early puberty in girls, and reproductive organ abnormalities and reduced fertility in males. They can also act on the thyroid, and have been linked with obesity.” Choice Australia

So what can we use instead?


♦ Plain old soap and water. Our soap of choice is Harmony Soapworks Goat Milk Soap. It contains only safe oils and goat milk powder. Soap and water, used thoroughly and with a good drying technique, can rid you of bacteria. If you want to go a little more hard core and use a natural antibacterial, you can …..


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♦ Make your own anti-bacterial handwash.

Although I do love the goat milk soap, I save it for the shower and use this home-made handwash to avoid mess! It has natural antibacterial properties and it’s particularly good if anyone in the family is sick with colds or gastro. You can use any essential oil you like for different effects and a nice aroma.

I have two Cuisipro foam pumps, one for the bathroom and one for the kitchen. I add about 50ml of Dr Bronner’s Unscented Pure Castile Soap and 10 drops of Young Living Thieves Oil. Then I top it up with water and give a vigorous shake. The result is a natural, safe, anti-bacterial handwash at a fraction of the cost you buy them at the supermarket. 


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Make your own natural hand sanitizer.

Inspired by this recipe, you can make your own hand sanitizer, really easily. Just mix 1 cup of Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel (or other pure aloe vera gel) with 1 tablespoon of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar and 30 drops of Thieves essential oils. Mix everything together well and store in a glass container.

So, what is this Thieves?

Thieves essential oil is one of the most amazing things I have come across! “Thieves Oil is a blend of five essential oils that are scientifically documented to be highly anti-infectious, antiviral, antibacterial, and antiseptic.” You can ingest (it’s food grade), diffuse or use topically. Our family use it for immune boosting, disinfecting, mould removal and getting rid of colds and flu. Since discovering it several years ago, I would not be without it. I am constantly amazed at how Mother Nature provides us with all we need.


What do you use to wash your hands? Do you like using essential oils?


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  1. 7-15-2013

    Gotta get me some of this thieves!!
    Alisha recently posted…doop….doop…..doop…doop……soup!My Profile

    • 7-15-2013

      yes, you do! you will love it

  2. 7-15-2013

    Love your work Sonia!!
    Iwa Brown recently posted…Roasted Eggplant DipMy Profile

    • 7-15-2013

      thanks Iwa – ditto girlfriend! 😉

  3. 7-15-2013

    I have been making my own goats milk soap infused with the thieves oil for about a year now. Also make the thieves hand wash for kitchen and bathroom. Its cleans really well and I know whats in it. love the perfume.

    • 7-15-2013

      that is very clever!!!

  4. 7-15-2013

    Can you please tell me where to get the Thieves oil from. I have never heard of it at all. Secondly, can you help me with how to get rid of cold sores, I have just broken out with two. Haven’t had any for over two years and now they have just come out yesterday and today…what natural ingredient can I put on them so they go down. I really enjoy reading your posts. xx

    • 7-15-2013

      Hi Anna. You can get the thieves oil from me (follow the blue links) or from your local Young Living distributor. I have never had a cold sore, so I haven’t tried it, but many people swear by a dab of tea tree oil (although the thieves would be awesome too)

  5. 7-15-2013

    The home diffuser would be an amazing gift too, wouldn’t it? Slightly decadent but I love the idea.

    PS – I am putting in a special request for a blog post on natural perfumes – a whole bunch of links from the cheap to the luxury. I’m tired of smelling like tea tree oil. I miss my fragrance!
    Kirri White recently posted…Waiting for your Big Moment.My Profile

    • 7-15-2013

      It’s on my list, but I will make it sooner rather than later just for you honey xxxx

  6. 7-15-2013

    i just started making my own thieves blend – it is seriously the best all purpose cleaner and dr bonner liquid soap my fav – 2 of my essentials…

    • 7-15-2013

      they are my faves too :)

  7. 7-15-2013

    oh and thanks for showing hand pump saw this exact one in howard storage – now found at a great price..

    • 7-15-2013

      they are fabulous!

  8. 7-15-2013

    What a great post Sonia. Those ads could suck us into having whole cupboards full of `specialised’ cleaning products that just take up space and money, without any real benefit. In fact, they are quite damaging!
    As well a the good old bi-carb soda and vinegar, we’ve been using pure castille (liquid) soap for most things for quite a while now. Hand-wash, body wash, `shampoo’, laundry, household cleaner, car wash etc. I’ve got a whole bunch of containers with a variety of essential oils added – depending on what the purpose is. It really does simplify things too.
    We get our Aussie made product from in Queensland. Love their products and love that you can get the castle soap in bulk.

    • 7-15-2013

      Hi Judith. Thanks for the tip ! I need to get it in bulk too :)

  9. 7-15-2013

    Interesting information!! Its been great to know that goat milk can also be used as sanitizer.

    • 7-15-2013

      sorry, that is not really a sanitizer, it’s more just to wash your hands with… normal soap is full of yuckies x

  10. 7-15-2013

    I remember when swine flu was pressing and the company I worked for, a huge QSR company had to go into overdrive on how to handle it. All possible solutions were discussed, researched and mainly eliminated. Washing your hands with soap, still is, the best way to combat germs. In hot water and sing the alphabet twice. That was actually in the instructions!! heheh
    Mandy recently posted…How Do I Start Baby Led Weaning.My Profile

    • 7-16-2013

      yes! very thorough hand washing and scrubbing nails (which most people don’t do!)

  11. 7-16-2013

    We use Dr Bronners liquid mixed with water as our soap, but adding the Thieves is a great idea. Thanks!
    Brenda recently posted…Dip-a-licious!My Profile

  12. 7-16-2013

    Very clever!
    Kristin recently posted…Coming CleanMy Profile

    • 7-17-2013

      thanks Kris :)

  13. 7-17-2013

    “A quick google search also reveals that teenagers are drinking hand sanitizers to get drunk!”
    Wow, that is rather depressing!

    I prefer to just stick to soap and water generally, but I do keep an antibacterial spray in the cupboard made out of vinegar and my own version of thieves oil. I do love using essential oils too, in a diffuser, in inhalations (when we’re sick) or on a hanky (when someone has a cold), in homemade cleaning products, in the bath…

    I haven’t tried the Young Living oils yet, but I do keep hearing good things about them!
    Kirsten McCulloch recently posted…Kids ‘n’ Cleaning, Chore Cards and Family FunMy Profile

    • 7-17-2013

      I am in love with essential oils! So many good things :)

  14. 7-17-2013

    Actually Sonia, now that you are distributing Young Living oils, can you point me in the direction of any research that supports the idea that it is really important to buy these (presumably) higher grade oils, for therapeutic benefits?

    I have often read/heard from companies like Young Living (and years ago Le Reve – don’t know if they are still around)that cheaper essential oils are not as pure, may not be what they purport to be, etc. I’d love to see some independent research though. Young Living seems to have differentiated themselves partly based on the blends they provide and a strong focus on health, but also, I assume, based on quality.
    Kirsten McCulloch recently posted…Kids ‘n’ Cleaning, Chore Cards and Family FunMy Profile

  15. 7-18-2013

    Do you know what oils are in the thieves oil? I am a bit wary of essential oils as i am pregnant at the moment.

    • 7-18-2013

      Hi Melanie – yes you need to be super careful!! It has cloves, lemon, cinnamon, rosemary and euaclyptus :)

      • 7-20-2013

        Clove oil is definitely not okay during pregnancy, guess i will have to wait a few months to give this a go.

        • 7-22-2013

          Hey Melanie – you can substitute with other oils that are anti-bac like tea tree if you like – although check which ones are suitable :)

  16. 3-25-2014

    Sonia do you find that this handwash separates? Do you have to shake it every now and then before use?

  17. 3-26-2014

    I’ve just made up a batch of the hand sanitizer – just wondering if safe to use on infant hands? Do I need to wash it off before they eat? The thieves oil smells pretty strong too

    • 3-27-2014

      Hi Lili – no it’s safe for everyone as the oils are food grade (if the brand is Young Living, not sure about others). If you don’t like the smell too strong, just drop back the amount of oil. You don’t need to wash it off before you eat. :)

  18. 6-21-2014

    I have just got all the ingredients to make anti-bacterial handwash however I want to know would you add a couple of drops of another essential oil (like a citrus one) for smell?


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