Washing your hands seems simple enough, but many people still don’t do it properly, which is a leading cause for the spread of germs. Bacteria and viruses thrive on the skin of the hands because of how many things they come in contact with throughout the day. But with a good hand soap, you can kill many of these germs to keep yourself and the people around you feeling healthy.
Here’s a look at what’s really in hand soap and how to make your own DIY version at home.
The Basic Structure of Hand Soaps
There are a few different categories of ingredients that go into hand soaps to make them effective for washing away dirt and germs. Surfactants dissolve dirt and are the cleansing component of the soap. Builders make soaps more effective by removing grease and preventing particles from remaining on the skin.
Meanwhile, alkalis are used with builders in many chemically based hand soaps, and antimicrobial agents help reduce the spread of disease. Abrasives may also be used in hand soap to exfoliate the hands while you wash them, while fragrances and scents are used to make the products more attractive to consumers.
Common Hand Soap Ingredients
Hand soap is mostly made of water because this keeps the soap in liquid form rather than solid bar form. There are also oils in hand soaps, such as glycerin, Cocamide MEA, tea tree oil, or lavender oil. If you choose a commercially made natural soap, it may have oatmeal or goat’s milk in it to promote softness and nourishing of the skin.
However, non-natural hand soaps often have added fragrances and colors to give them distinctive smells and appearances. If you are trying to live a natural lifestyle, steer clear of hand soaps with very bright colors and very strong scents because synthetic dyes and fragrances are also used to achieve those results. Some ingredients in commercial soaps are also known to have harmful side effects, such as triclosan, which is designed to reduce bacterial spread but may also cause hormone imbalances. Parabens are often used in non-natural soaps and have been linked to breast tumors because of their ability to mimic the estrogen hormone.
Homemade Hand Soap Recipes
Now that you have a better understanding of what is in a hand soap, you might feel ready to try making some yourself at home. Here are a couple easy hand soap recipes to try.
Lemon Fresh Hand Soap
Lemon is a great ingredient because it’s light and refreshing. Try this easy recipe with just a few simple ingredients to give homemade hand soap a try.
- ¼ cup castile soap
- ¾ cup water
- 15 drops lemon essential oil
- Reuse an old, empty soap dispenser to first pour the water into it.
- Add the castile soap and then the essential oil.
- Shake the container well and enjoy the refreshing natural scent of lemon.
Mint and Coconut Foaming Hand Soap
If you love store-bought hand soap that foams, then you can make a homemade foaming soap that you’ll love just as much. This soap recipe is great because it has the senses-awakening scent of mint and also the soothing ingredient of coconut oil for softer hands. The germ-fighting blend of oils in this recipe will also help you get through the winter in a healthy way.
- 3 tbsp. castile soap
- 2 tsp. coconut oil
- 15 drops peppermint essential oil
- 10 drops tea tree essential oil
- 10 drops clove essential oil
- Reuse an old, empty foaming soap dispenser and add all ingredients into it.
- Then fill to the top of the container with water.
- Shake the container well and enjoy the natural antibacterial anti-viral properties of this soap.