To many people, February is the month of cinnamon hearts and boxes of chocolate, or perhaps feeling a bit sorry for oneself whilst watching a Nicholas Sparks’ film and lamenting your single-dom. That’s really just one day, though. In my experience, February is the month of washing my hands a whole lot and really, really hoping I don’t come down with whatever plague all my friends on Facebook are lamenting. Urg. I currently have that plague, and I am not amused. It is highly lamentable. Perhaps I shall come up with something pithy to post on Facebook regarding mucus (doubtful). Anywho—being sick is wretched, hand washing helps keep it from happening, and this Eucalyptus Mint Hand Wash is a lovely way to stop germs from setting up camp in your head.
In my efforts to inventory all my DIY ingredients I’ve been reminded that I have quite a lot of liquid surfactants and surfactant blends that I really should use. This discovery has led to this hand wash not requiring any heating, therefore being delightfully fast to make as it is simply measuring and mixing together a bunch of stuff.
We’re using Stepan Mild LSB as the main anionic liquid surfactant; it’s a blend of Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate and Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate. This blend is quite mild and really very viscous, so take care when measuring it—it tends to blob out so it’s easy to blob out too much all at once! I blended the Stepan Mild LSB with some Cocamidopropyl Betaine, and that’s it for the surfactants—check the substitutions list at the end of the recipe for alternatives.
I’ve kept the add-ins reasonably simple; panthenol and glycerin are humectants and help prevent the wash from being too drying, along with Olivem300, an olive-derived lipid that self-emulsifies in water (and also helps our essential oils solubilize).
Our essential oil blend is eucalyptus and peppermint; fresh, clean, and a wee bit tingly. The whole lot is preserved with some liquid germall plus, and that’s pretty much it! Once you’ve got it all combined, thicken the lot up with a bit of Crothix to seal the deal, and you’re ready to combat colds and the like. Out, foul virus, out!
Eucalyptus Mint Hand Wash
40g | 20% Stepan Mild LSB Surfactant
24g | 12% Cocamidopropyl Betaine (USA / Canada)
122g | 61% distilled water
2g | 1% panthenol powder (vitamin B5) (USA / Canada)
4g | 2% vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
4g | 2% Olivem300 (USA / Canada)
2g | 1% eucalyptus radiata essential oil
1g | 0.5% peppermint (Mentha Piperita) essential oil
1g | 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus (USA / Canada)
Weigh everything except the Crothix into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup or beaker. Stir to combine; I used the MICROMini™ Mixer from Lotion Crafter, which is quite a lovely gadget. It’s a Badger Air-Brush Co. Paint Mixer, which you can also get on Canadian Amazon. It’s smaller than the Minipro Mixer, and well suited to less viscous projects like this one. At this point in time the mixture is so thin that you cannot really whip a bunch of air into it—it pretty much has the consistency of water, it doesn’t have enough body to hold enough air bubbles to get all frothy and increase in volume.
Once the mixture is uniform, add the Crothix 1g at a time ( we can do this now since we aren’t heating the mixture, so it doesn’t need to cool), stirring with a flexible silicone spatula between additions, until the desired consistency is reached. I find it’s useful to wait at least two minutes between additions to ensure full thickness has been reached before deciding to add more.
When you’ve reached your desired consistency, transfer the hand wash to a 200mL pump-top bottle; I used this one from YellowBee.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this hand wash contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project is likely to eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 200g.
- If you don’t have Stepan Mild LSB Surfactant, you can use another liquid anionic surfactant (or blend—aim for something that is about 25% active), or you can dissolve 16g (8%) SLSa into 24g (12%) Cocamidopropyl Betaine, and increase the water amount by 24g (12%).
- You can use water soluble shea butter instead of the Olivem300, or 2g polysorbate 80 and 2g a liquid oil of your choice