Germs are all around us, especially as we enter flu season.  But we certainly can’t spend our lives at home, avoiding outside germs.  Rather, we need to know how to arm ourselves in order to keep ourselves healthy and safe.

Read on about how to green your hand washing while protecting your body and the earth!

Should I use sanitizer or wash and dry with a paper towel?

A: Sanitizer can be a good supplement to normal hand washing when a sink and soap are not available. However, sanitizer should not completely take the place of normal hand washing.

Should I use paper or cloth towels?

A: Because towels harbor tons of bacteria it is best to use a paper towel. Just remember that these come from trees, so only take as much as you need to dry. For paper towels at home look for a brand that uses recycled fibers, not virgin trees! Better yet, use a hand towel that can be washed frequently in the high heat of your washing machine. This will take care of harmful bacteria and save trees all in one step!

How long should I wash my hands for?

A: Most health professions and food industries recommend their employees wash their hands for 20 seconds, or the amount of time it takes you to sing the alphabet song.

Are the ingredients in sanitizer safe?

A: Sanitizers are safe if they do not contain triclosan, fragrance, preservatives, 1,4-dioxane, and PEG. Look at natural brands like Clean Well, AE, and others that replace these chemical ingredients with botanically based alternatives.

Is there another option to traditional sanitizers?

A: Of course! A great way to know exactly what is going on your skin is to make it yourself. An at home recipe that does the job is using 2oz vodka, 5 drops essential oil, and 2t witch hazel. Young Living Essential Oils is a very reputable brand that carries varieties like tea tree and eucalyptus, which are great in sanitizing.