Have you ever stopped to think, how many objects do we touch with our hands throughout the day (railings of the bus, doors, computers, mobiles, etc.)?
We are constantly in contact with a multitude of elements, which is also unavoidable, since we are not going to keep our hands in our pockets all day! We have to pick up and touch things.
For this reason, surely you remember when you were little the times your parents told you that before eating you had to wash your hands. Now, in adulthood, you are aware of the importance of this act, and also that they not only have to wash before eating, if not, much more frequently, in this way, we will avoid getting bacterial and viral diseases.
In this article, I am going to talk about disinfectant gels and all their benefits.
What is a disinfectant gel?
This product is an alternative option when we cannot wash our hands with soap and water, that is, it is usually more used when we are on the street or at work, since it is very comfortable to carry in a bag or in any backpack. .
Its ingredients are practically all alcohol, the two most used to make this type of gel are:
- Ethyl alcohol: We can see that it has no color, is transparent, is flammable and is widely used for the world of cosmetics.
- Isopropyl alcohol: Like the previous one, it is transparent in color and its greatest benefit is immediate volatilization, so it is ideal to use it in sanitary and cleaning products, since they do not leave any type of residue.
- If instead of these two types of alcohols, you see “benzalkonium chloride” or “chlorhexidine” in the product’s inci, they are also two principles with which the disinfectant can be obtained.
- The only problems they have, although we will see it below, I will tell you about it here, is that when using it too frequently and alcohol can dry out our skin and create some problems in it.
- Even so, I advise you that whenever you do not have access to soap and water, you have one nearby since it has been proven that those that contain more than 60% alcohol have an effect against germs.
But then, which is better, soapy water or sanitizing gel?
Without a doubt, if we have the opportunity to wash them with soap and water it is the best option, but this will depend on the state in which our hands are, for example, it is true that some of you wonder, «if it is better to wash your hands with water and soap, why are there dispensers with hand sanitizer everywhere in hospitals? »
Well, this is so, because as I have told you before, everything will depend on the dirt we have on our hands, that is, if we have just done sports or have just worked with grease, the disinfectant gel here does absolutely nothing, in this case we have to wash them with plenty of soap and water.
However, when we go to the hospital, we usually don’t get our hands dirty that way, so using the disinfectant gel would help keep them clean and free from exposure to germs and bacteria.
How should we use it, so that it works correctly?
Everyone uses them, but there are people who do not know if they are doing it well and are achieving adequate disinfection, so I am going to explain to you, step by step, how you should apply it.
- The first thing is to know that the disinfectant gel is useless if our hands are wet, so before applying it we have to make sure that the hands are completely dry.
- The second thing is the quantity, we do not have to add more than necessary, since with only 2 or 3 presses of the dispenser it is enough to cover both hands.
- We must spread the product throughout the hand, especially doing it with emphasis on the area between the fingers.
- When we have covered all the areas, you have to let it dry for only about 20 seconds, without rinsing it or drying it with towels.
- Normally in the bottle it should come how often to use the gel, but normally it is not advisable to use it before 6 hours between each application.
Beware of using the disinfectant too often
I have already told you before that the ideal is to leave about 6 hours to be able to apply it again, if not, due to the large amounts of alcohol they contain, they can harm our skin, since they cause great dryness, causing problems such as irritations, to avoid this it is advisable to let those hours pass and also if we do it at home with natural ingredients, much better, now I will tell you several recipes to be able to do it.
Increased popularity of sanitizing gel
The origin of this product took place in 1966, it was invented by a nurse in the US, but here it only began to be used in hospitals and in places with crowds of people.
It was not until 2009 with the influenza a pandemic where it achieved the highest sales peak, due to the panic of the population caused by this virus. From here, the existence of dispensers everywhere, especially in hospitals, became something normal and common, for this reason when we go to the hospital today we find it everywhere, but it also became a product that everyone world had at home , no one went out without one on top. It even became a common gift from companies to their workers, in the form of key rings, etc., to always have them at hand.
The same has happened, with the appearance of Covid-19 or better known, Coronavirus, once again the population panics again and consequently again increases the use of these disinfectant gels, and as is normal, their stocks are depleted with speed.
For this reason I have brought you these recipes, so that we can make it at home without having to go to buy it at any store.
Can children use it?
Normally there is no problem in the use of this type of gels in children older than two years, before this age it is not recommended simply due to the risk of possible ingestion, which would be very toxic for the child, causing several symptoms such as irritation in the mouth and throat, which in turn causes problems when breathing, it can also cause vomiting.
Being careful with this and avoiding that children can take the product alone, without adult supervision, the rest is all good, since it has been proven that the use in children older than two years reduces the contagion of viral diseases.
Although, like adults, if a child comes to play in the park or at school, who normally bring very dirty hands from putting them on the ground and taking it all, the use of disinfectant is useless, in this case we must help them wash their hands and gradually teach them to do it every time they come back from the street, before eating and after going to the bathroom.
Steps to wash hands correctly for both adults and children
- The first thing we have to do is put our hands under the tap to wash our hands with plenty of water.
- Pour soap in abundance on the hands and rub them one with the other, also lathering the top, between the fingers and under the nails. To be effective, we must be soaping for at least 1 minute.
- Now we must rinse all the soap until it is completely removed, ensuring that it does not remain in any area.
- Finally, dry your hands eagerly, and make sure again that there are no damp areas, as this facilitates the entry of germs and bacteria.
It is very important that we wash our hands several times a day, although when dealing with children it is advisable that they do so even more frequently, since they tend to put their hands to their faces more frequently.
What about pregnant women?
This is a much talked about topic, since we all know that any illness such as the flu or a cold carries a much higher risk during pregnancy. Here is this article so that you can find out more: Catarrh in pregnancy, how to prevent and alleviate them.
For this reason, in this situation more care must be taken and preventive measures increased, where cleaning and hand hygiene play an important role.
Avoid contact with people infected with a cold or the flu. If, on the other hand, we have contact, for example, that we have shook hands to say hello, we must clean them with a disinfectant gel and as soon as we can do it with soap and water.
It is true that they say that you have to be very careful with the use of antiseptic during pregnancy, this is due to one of the ingredients that these products usually contain, Triclosan, it is a component that is absorbed immediately in the dermis and immediately it comes into contact with the blood and in this way it has been proven that it causes diseases such as cancer, allergies, hormonal and neurological problems, etc.
But as I have told you it is only due to products that contain that ingredient, if you use the recipe that I am going to give you below, which replaces this substance with Isopropyl alcohol, there is no problem in its use during pregnancy.
And if instead of doing it at home, you are going to buy it, you should look closely at the inci of the gel you have chosen and make sure it does not contain Triclosan.
Regardless of pregnancy, when winter comes the most normal thing is for colds and flu to make a hole in our life and we spend a few days without energy or desire to do anything, to combat this there are several factors that we have to take into account, I leave you here this link where it is explained in detail: How to fight colds and flu.
Homemade hand sanitizer
It is true that it is much more convenient to go buy it and have it already made, but if we do it at home, we can make sure that we do not use cosmetics that are highly harmful to our dermis.
For this reason, there are many people who ask for recipes and advice to be able to do it at home and make sure it will work.
I am going to provide you with some recipes here, easy to make and that will not take you more than 5 minutes to finish.
Recipe No. 1
With this recipe we are going to make a one-liter pot, so that later we can dose it into smaller cans that allow us to take to the street comfortably.
- 16 drops of tea tree oil
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil
- 5 drops of rosehip essential oil (optional)
- 90 milligrams of Isopropyl Alcohol (about 6 tablespoons)
- 8 tablespoons Aloe Vera gel
- Container, to be able to mix the ingredients
- One-liter bottle with a dispenser, or if we want to pour it into a smaller one later, the latter is the one that should have a dispenser.
Steps to follow
- The first step is to pour the eight tablespoons of aloe Vera into the container, if we use it natural, that is, from the plant, much better.
- Add to the aloe Vera, isopropyl alcohol and stir.
- Now we are going to add the oils, first the tea tree, then the lavender and finally the rosehip and stir again.
- With all this, the gel texture will have already been created, the less oils you add, the more gel structure it will have and the more oil you add the more liquid it will remain, it depends on how you want it.
- Finally, we put the gel in the final bottle and we would have it ready to use, then we can pour it into the little one to be able to carry it in the bag without problems. A
Now I am going to provide you with a recipe without using alcohol (although the other is recommended to a greater extent, since alcohol will ensure the disinfection of all germs), also without it we can also have an even more natural antiseptic gel.
- 6 tablespoons Aloe Vera gel
- 20 drops of tea tree oil
- 12 drops of lavender essential oil
- 7 drops of lemon essential oil
This is the only thing we are going to need; you can find these ingredients in any store that sells natural products, such as an herbalist.
- Container to mix the ingredients
- Bottle with dispenser
As I have told you in the previous one, you can pour the mixture into a pot and gradually pour it into a smaller one to take it to the street.
- Ideally, use the natural Aloe Vera leaves and extract the gel with your own hands. For this we are going to use a spoon to remove the entire gelatin and we are going to put it in the container.
- Now we are going to pour each oil one by one and stir everything until all the ingredients are mixed and it adopts a thick texture.
- Finally we are going to put it in the pot and store it in a cool and dry place.
As it is a totally natural gel, without alcohol, we can apply it to our hands as many times as we want a day.
Even so, if what we want is to disinfect our hands due to having been in contact with germs or viruses, the ideal is to make an antiseptic with alcohol, like the one in recipe 1.
Aspects to consider
Before making the gel, I am going to give you some points that you surely do not know so that the disinfecting action is completely satisfactory.
- Surely you do not know that the mobile (a device that we use daily) contains many germs, so even if we disinfect our hands, touching the mobile would not do any good. For this we must use disinfectant wipes also for the screen of the device.
- As I have said before, the ideal is that the antiseptic contains alcohol, but it is not only enough that it has it, but it also has to have at least 60% of it, with this we will make sure to eliminate all the bacteria from the hands.
- You already know that alcohol dries the skin and cracks it causing irritation, especially to people with sensitive skin. But don’t worry! There is a solution for this, aloe Vera will help the alcohol to take effect but without harming the dermis, for this it must contain at least 30%.
- Another aspect is, the way to use it, it is very important to do it well, to achieve the result we want, that is, to be able to purify the skin well, we must cover our hands completely everywhere without leaving an area without product. And of course the next step is essential to do it well, for example, to make sure we do it properly, you have to let your hands air dry without rinsing or drying with towels.
- I told you before that depending on the dirt the effectiveness of the disinfectant gel also depended, of course with high dirt, there is no doubt that we should wash our hands with soap and water.