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*


Kimberly · February 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Here’s another use for hand sanitizer: http://www.survivalblog.com/2010/12/letter_re_better_than_sterno.html

Mary · February 8, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I personally think all the anti-bacterial products are making us more susceptible to germs. I like good old fashioned soap and water.Also, pay attention to ingredients in lotions… a lot of them have alcohol in them which drys you more. Utter cream for cows works well for added moisture.

Kathleen · February 9, 2011 at 4:28 am

Kelleen you are just too funny, cleaning your gun with hand sanitizer, chafing dish fuel etc., I refuse to use the darn stuff in the hospital where I work. It makes me wheeze and dries my hands to much. I can’t wait to share this with my co-workers. I hope you think of some more uses and share them. I personally prefer soap and water to wash my hands.

Mary Jane · February 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Wow, and here I thought I was the only one to use it to clean white boards in the classroom. Thanks for the heads up on other uses, never thought to use it in a chafing dish.

Kris · February 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I have been all about hand sanitizer for the past few years. However, now that I have learned a bit more, I am not a big fan. We are returning to regular soap and water. And I am learning more about essential oils.

Ok…but if you talk about making your own moonshine ‘ya have to promise you will talk about maing it in the bathtub. 😉 Seriously, my hubby was at work and they were talking about making their own moonshine in the bathtub over the past weekend. Ummmm….glad I’m not a drinker and if I was; not sure I’d want to try that. Makes for a good laugh anyway.

razr · February 9, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Have to admit that I use hand sanitizers for several uses………NOW, you hit upon something that would be great fun to learn…”MOONSHINE”…would it be against the law for you to write an article on it?? It would be a great trade article down the line…plus it would be fun…My ex used to try to make beer…..except I did all the work…I have thought about learning to make wine….even in Montana….I make some nice liquors for friends..but use prebought vodka or brandy in them ….I would like to learn to make good ole moonshine! What do you think…..It worked for our ancestors way back when!

    Kellene · February 10, 2011 at 12:55 am

    LOL…missed you lately razr. I’m afraid that my religious beliefs might get in the way of me teaching others how to make moonshine. 🙂

Tammie@SimpleHealthyTasty · February 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm

I personally have never been a hand sanitizer fan. I do worry about superbugs that become antibotic resistant. I think trying to keep your system in a good balance and your immune system healthy is the best defence against germs. And since none of us are perfect and struggle at times I think having good essential oils is a great help and well….essential!!! 😉

Mareen · February 10, 2011 at 3:48 am

It is recommended that one read the labels on hand sanitizers. Isopropyl alcohol which is in most of them is toxic, is absorbed by the skin and is very hard on the liver which has to detoxify it. Ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol is only mildly toxic, is easily metabolized but will also be absorbed. It has been said that teens are using quite a bit of it, since it is alcohol, they can get a buzz from it if they overdo.

mama4x · February 16, 2011 at 9:14 pm

I absolutely love that you tried it on your face, and then when that worked out ok, THEN you put it on your Glock. LOL!!

Susan Nielson · May 6, 2011 at 1:03 pm

What a great idea to make your own hand sanititzer. I personally think I could bathe in lavender oil. I use it to make my own foaming soap, and also for kitchen cleanup spray, along with liquid Castile soap.

David · August 11, 2011 at 12:18 am

For those concerned about alcohol, there are now some very good hand sanitizers available that are alcohol-free. Of course, that would rule out the “fire-starter” usage. But other than that, you should be fine.

Matt · October 28, 2011 at 6:03 am

Beyond washing your hands with soap, I don’t think that you need a hand sanitizer. You can’t escape bateria and germs. Everytime to touch something you pick up more germs.

I think the ultimate solution is to have a healthy immune system and the best way to do that is to eat the most fresh fruit and veg as you can. This way your body can easily combat all germs you get on a daily basis without using hand sanitizers.

    Kellene · October 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Actually, I agree nowadays. I only use essential oils, hot water and good ole fashioned soap to eliminate germs. But good thing I know to use the hand sanitizer as fuel which is what THIS article was about.

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