Why You Should Make Your Own Hand Soap
Updated: Dec 28, 2020
Washing your hands is something we do countless times a day, but have you ever thought of what's in the soap you're using? If you're like me, you'd assume there's things in it that kill germs and overall help you clean your hands. Well, you'd be right, somewhat. There's more to it than that.
Benzalkonium chlorides (BACs) are typically the active ingredient in traditional hand soaps, since these chemicals are known for their antimicrobial properties against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
However, in Europe, BACs are no longer approved for use in several biocidal products, such as consumer hand and body wash antiseptics. But you guessed it, in the United States, it's used ALL of the time.
BACs are found in sunscreen, disinfectants (used in residential, commercial, clinical and agricultural settings), fabric softeners, personal hygiene and cosmetic products, such as shampoos, conditioners, and body lotions. And way more...but let's stick to the personal care products for now.
All that's fine and dandy until you look at the research of BACs and their effectiveness. Not only are BACs harsh irritants for your skin and eyes, there has been considerable cell toxicity observed in vitro for human ocular cells exposed to BAC concentrations as low as 0.0001%. As an example, in conventional hand soap, BACs are the active ingredient at 0.13%.
Plus, bacteria are crafty. They evolve and survive against harsh chemicals and have been proven to do so against BACs, making them not as effective as you'd think.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration share responsibility regulating the use of BACs. A few years ago, they banned specific biocides in products. However, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, "BACs were excluded from the decisions and granted deferral letters as requested by manufacturers." During which time they were most likely able to conduct their own "3rd party testing" (more likely done by their own company) enough to create confusion around the safety of its use and effectively tabling the discussion.
SO. Taking matters into your own hands...what can you do about it? Vote with your dollars! Stop buying products with BACs in it...you'd be surprised at the switches you'd be making, but most of the time, the alternative is the same or more cost effective.
Let's start with a basic one, hand soap.
You want your hands to be clean, right? Well, you can do that without BACs. Soap doesn't need to be antimicrobial, it simply needs to clean. Which, disinfectants don't actually do! They may kill germs, but they don't clean the surface. Soap like Castile soap will remove germs, bacteria, dirt and grease, sweeping them down the drain where they belong!
Here's my hand soap recipe that I've been using for two years:
Simply combine all ingredients together and you've got an all natural hand soap! No drying chemicals, irritants or worries over its toxicity.
Source for scientific data: