Tuesday, June 21, 2011
In my opinion, the 'kills 99.9% of germs' thing is really getting out of control. Advertisers would have us spraying every surface in our houses and disinfecting our hands after touching anything in the public domain. Good mums sanitize. Bad mums let kids eat dirt, or touch the sides of escalators, or pick up food they've dropped on the floor of the Manly Ferry and eat it (uh ... not that I've ever done that ... ). Because kids are particularly 'at risk' of contamination by all the horrific germs out there.
Or are they?
Scientists know that the process of killing some (even most) bacteria on your benchtop/toilet seat/hands means that the bacteria left over are the tough ones.
The ones that can withstand the chemical onslaught and will likely produce baby bacteria (so to speak) that are also good at resisting. (It's called evolution ... and you can read more about it here.) This is why doctors advise you not to stop your course of antibiotics early, even if you feel better. Because you want to knock all those bacteria, not just the wimpy ones.
I'm not saying we shouldn't clean our selves and our homes properly, or take antibiotics when we really need them. What I am saying is - there are
eucalyptus oil. tea tree oil. lemon juice. bicarb soda. white vinegar. grain alcohol. soap and water.Stuff you know by sight and smell, and which reside in your pantry. As opposed to these little goodies:
propylene glycol. aminomethyl propanol. fragrance. triclosan. benzalkonium chloride. methyl/ethyl/butyl/propylparaben. sodium laurel sulfate.
Personally, I don't really want my daughter washing or sanitising her hands with questionable chemicals, because we all know that little hands go into mouths a lot. Fair enough if I want to disinfect hands when I can't get to a sink ... but can I do it non-toxically?
Last time we travelled, I found a great santiser spray by Dr Bronners. (We love his stuff. As does my friend Linda, by the way). Ingredients? Alcohol, water, glycerin and lavender essential oil. It smells amazing, and - even better - it works as a deodorant and as a cleaner-upper of spills (for example, when you knock your coffee over at your desk ... ). Now, of course I don't want my child drinking the stuff, but I feel good about spritzing it on her hands.
Now, we're about to hit the road - er - sky again, and I'm out of my magic spray. So ... it's DIY time. You can read more about hand sanitisers (if you want) here ... but overall, it seems the alcohol-based ones are better, chemically-speaking.
And alcohol? That's something I may just have on-hand ...
1/4 cup vodka *or you can try 1/2 cup vodka to increase the disinfecting power
1/4 cup water
20 drops lavender essential oil*
20 drops tea tree oil (optional)
2 x 2 fl oz (59mL) spray bottles**
*feel free to use another essential oil you prefer ... or a lesser amount of lavender. I like the potent lavender smell this quantity produces, and lavender itself has antibacterial properties, too ... (as does the tea tree oil)
**and you can of course use a different-sized bottle. This is just my standard carry-around size.
1. Mix everything together and pour into your spray bottle.
NOTE: If you're pregnant or have sensitivities then please talk to your doctor first, ok? Also, don't let your child drink this ... it is alcohol, after all!
Around $1. Plus, it'll last you ages.
So, lots to think about, right? Might be worth pondering over a vodka cocktail?