Ok. I’ll admit it. I have LOTS and LOTS of hand sanitizer in storage. I frequently can get it free thanks to coupons combined with sales and at the very least when I have a coupon for Purell or some other name brand, I’ll at least use it at Target in their Trial Size section and bring home the little travel sizes for free. But lately I’ve become a little bit disenchanted with the merits of using the standard hand sanitizer. I’m researching a few things along the lines of spreading germs and I’m starting to lean towards the “if you’re using hand sanitizer you’re building up the immunity of bacteria” camp. I’m not sure I’m there quite yet, but at the very least I personally feel that using essential oils are better for me in circumstances in which I’d use hand sanitizers. That being said, what the heck can I do with all that I’ve got on hand without feeling like I’m being mean to anyone that I’d give it to? Well, I’m happy to say I’ve found several alternative uses that I’d like to share with you. Keep in mind, I’m referring to the standard, clear hand sanitizers that are the consistency of jell-o that went amuck. I suspect the liquids and foams would work well too for these alternative methods, but I’ve only played around with the gel since that’s what I have so much of.
My biggest discovery was realizing that it’s actually a great fire starter/accelerant. Duh! Of course it is with all of that alcohol in there that makes my hands dry out so easily. As I was looking at some hand sanitizer the other day, I realized that it had similar ingredients to the contents of the chafing dish candles I use. Hmmm…I wonder if hand sanitizer will work under a chafing dish? Yup, sure enough it does. Of course it doesn’t burn as long as the thicker substance that comes in the cans, but when a can gets low, I can just add some hand sanitizer. Who knew? I loathe the smell of the spray stuff that the office supply stores sell to get the whiteboard clean. Yippee. Now I can use the excess hand sanitizer instead and not feel like I’m going to gag in the process of cleaning up! I found this also is true if I put a little bit on a paper towel and use it to clean my mirrors in the bathroom and chrome finishings. I have no idea what provoked me to say “Hey, I’ll just try it on this mirror.” But I did and it worked. Thus I’m thinking that it would come in handy in an emergency medical situation when I would need to sterilize a pocket knife that was suddenly enlisted into medical use. I’ve read several studies that explain why these sanitizers work. They essentially strip away the outer layer of oil of the skin and thus take the bacteria with them, drying them out. So this made me think—dangerous when I’m playing mad scientist—I wonder what it would do for acne. So, I had to wait about 20 days and sure enough, there it was…one of those embarrassing spikes of acne on my 43 year old face! (And yet Mom always told me that it would go away “soon.”) So, I just did a dab on the inflamed pore and voila, the next morning I woke up and the ugly mad, red color was gone. Mind you, being a bit of a snob about skin care, I certainly wouldn’t use this for my whole face. But when there’s a trouble spot and I don’t feel like digging out the frankincense or lavender essential oils, a little hand sanitizer would do the trick. Makes me wonder why they never got it approved to market as skin care. “They” could charge 3 times more for it if it was marketing for that purpose. Ok. Now to try the ultimate alternative. Do I dare use it to clean my Glocks? Hmmm… That worked to. I always have to lube up the action components after cleaning anyway, but I was a bit surprised how well the Purell worked as a firearm cleaner. Go figure. I should mention that I now prefer to make my own hand sanitizer. All I do is combine aloe vera gel with a little isopropyl alcohol and a couple of drops of my favorite anti-bacterial essential oil such as lavender or peppermint. This way I’m not exposing myself to harmful side effects, and my hands don’t get anywhere near as dry. I just save the containers that the original hand sanitizer comes in once I'm done entertaining guest with my chafing dishes...you do that too, right? Everybody has at least one chafing dish, right? Ok. So yesterday you had 4 pages of me discussing the necessity of freedom in our preparedness and today I’m talking about horsing around with hand sanitizer. You gotta love that kind of diversity. Tomorrow I just may talk about making your own moonshine. *grin*
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