What with a new corona virus and older seasonal viruses on the radar, there has been a run on alcohol-based hand sanitizers lately. The thing is those products are antibacterial in the main and while hand hygiene is essential to not contracting or spreading viruses, is there a way to make a more effective antiviral sanitizer?
Well the answer is yes.
Alcohol based. Alcohol has long been utilized as a disinfectant and does exert strong antibacterial and milder antiviral activity. We can boost its effectiveness by adding anti-viral essential oils such as tea tee, lemon balm, lavender, thyme, oregano or neroli. Not all essential oils are antiviral but these ones are.
You can measure to the volume of your container or spray bottle with a ratio of 20drops of essential oil (be that a single from list above or combination of two or more) to every 2 fl oz (60 ml) of grain alcohol (high proof vodka) or rubbing alcohol from local pharmacy. This simple mix can be utilized as a spritz or combined with a thickening agent (aloe gel, glycerine, carrageen or agar) to yield a gel consistency.
Aloe vera based. Aloe vera is a natural antimicrobial agent and also a skin tonic used to treat topical infections and moisturize skin, helping to protect the skins own naturally barriers to infection. Beyond disarming bacteria, the anthraquinones in aloe vera have antiviral agency. Again, it can be boosted by addition of anti-viral essential oils such as tea tee, lemon balm, lavender, thyme, oregano or neroli.
We can stick with a ration profile of 20 drops of essential oil to every 2 fl oz (60 ml) of gel. This will maintain the gel consistency of the aloe. It can be diluted with alcohol or which hazel if you wish to make it more of quicker drying spritz.
Witch hazel based. The astringent nature of the tannin rich distillation of witch hazel has a long history of helping to repair broken skin, and fight bacterial infection. The gallic acid, hamamelitannin, and other tannic compounds are also antiviral. We can also boost its effectiveness by adding anti-viral essential oils such as tea tee, lemon balm, lavender, thyme, oregano or neroli.
To keep it simple 20 drops of essential oil to every 2 fl oz (60 ml) witch hazel is effective and pleasantly aromatic.
Combination blend. A liquid base of 50:50 alcohol and witch hazel can be thickened up the consistency of your choosing with aloe vera and other thickeners (listed above) and enhanced with a single or combination antiviral essential oil.
Users note. The pure essential oil and alcohol or witch hazel blends may store in drawer or handbag/backpack pocket indefinably but generally to a year. Gels or spritzes mixed with aloe or other solid agents have an expected shelf life of 3-6months. The spritzes can be self-drying but the gels take longer to absorb in before it is safe to go about your day without slippy, sticky or wet hands.
Remember to wash hands regularly as well (with normal soapy water) and to keep your immune system heathy.