Back to school means new shoes, No. 2 pencils, and—especially for young kids—a seemingly endless battle against colds, eye infections, and the flu.
Lots of parents try to take a stand against germs with hand sanitizer, and some schools even put it on the supplies list. While hand sanitizers all have the same active ingredient, alcohol or triclosan (a probable human carcinogen), they also contain a lot of "inactive ingredients" like fragrance, propylene glycol, acrylates, and crosspolymers that are almost as gross as the germs!
Luckily, that one active ingredient, alcohol, is pretty easy to come by, making it simple to DIY your own chemical-free hand sanitizer.
DIY Hand Sanitizer Spray for Back To School Germs
4 oz spray bottle
3 oz 190-proof alcohol, such as Everclear
1 oz distilled water
10–30 drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender, rosemary, or tea tree
Combine water and alcohol in the spray bottle and add essential oil to your desired level of fragrance. Shake well before using.
Spritz your hands 5-10 times, and rub together until dry for hand sanitizer. You can also use this as an air freshener, a surface disinfectant, and an eyeglass cleaner.
Check the proof of your alcohol before using; you want the final concentration to be at least 63% grain alcohol.
Also, the essential oils you choose can increase the efficacy of this spray. In one study, 10–20 drops each of rosemary and lavender oil mixed in plain water was found to be as effective as the standard hospital sanitizer in French hospitals, and even more long-lasting. Combine that with the power of alcohol, and you've got a sanitizing spray strong enough to fight even the worst back to school germs.
Tea tree oil is also a highly effective antibacterial agent, but some people find the smell to be overpowering.
If you prefer a gel for some reason, you can try this DIY hand sanitizer recipe which uses aloe vera gel.