Sanitization – Two Methods

When making soap, cleanliness is important, of course, but when making lotion, you need to achieve another level of cleanliness — which is sanitization.

To “clean” something means to wash away the debris.  Think of it like washing your dishes by hand.  The warm soapy water and agitation with a wash cloth removes the dirt, grease and grime, but the rinse water can contain bacteria.   The dish towel you wipe the dishes dry with can also contain bacteria.  So the dishes may be “clean” but they are not bacteria-free.

To “sanitize” something means that the item is clean, but also has had about 99% of the bacteria killed off.  Think of it like washing your dishes in the dishwasher — the intense heat and duration of exposure to the heat kills the bacteria.

For lotion making, both “clean” and “sanitized” are important.    When making a formulation that contains water, the product is susceptible to bacterial growth.   This is why you must include a broad-spectrum preservative.   The preservative, however, is only part of the equation.   It will do a good job of preventing mold and bacteria, but it can only do so much!  It is much better to start out with a clean and sanitized environment and then let the preservative do its’ job to prevent future contamination.

Step Zero of making lotion is always “sanitization”.   You must do this ahead of time because it does take a little while for the equipment to dry out and become ready to use.

Today I will discuss two methods for sanitizing:  Household Bleach Method and Rubbing Alcohol Method.

Rubbing Alcohol Method:

IMG_6563

Advantages:

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Simple
  • Fast Drying

Disadvantages:

  • Odor
  • Flammable

How to:

  1.  Make sure all of your equipment is clean (no debris).   This includes any mixing containers, stick blender attachments, spoons, fragrance pipettes, and basically anything that is going to touch the lotion at some point.
  2. Open a window for ventilation and extinguish all flammable sources (stove, cigarettes, etc.).
  3. When all of the above equipment is dry, spray it liberally with rubbing alcohol.
  4. Also make sure to clean and sanitize your work surface (like your countertop).
  5. Make sure to get all surfaces that will touch the lotion wet with the alcohol.
    1.  I used 99% rubbing alcohol because that is what I had on hand, but regular grocery store rubbing alcohol is fine as well.
  6. Let everything dry.  This is part of the sanitization process, so don’t be tempted to wipe it dry with a towel or paper towel — you will be potentially introducing bacteria again.  Alcohol evaporates quickly.  It should only take about 10 minutes or less.
  7. Once it’s dry, you’re ready to go!

Household Bleach Method:

Advantages:

  • Inexpensive
  • Simple
  • Non-Flammable

Disadvantages:

  • Odor
  • Takes longer to dry than the rubbing alcohol method
  • Bleach can oxide (rust) some metals.  Make sure all your equipment is stainless steel so you won’t have this problem.

How to:

  1.  Make sure all of your equipment is clean (no debris).   This includes any mixing containers, stick blender attachments, spoons, fragrance pipettes, and basically anything that is going to touch the lotion at some point.
  2. Open a window for ventilation — bleach fumes are not flammable, but they stink.
  3. Put 2 teaspoons of household bleach into a gallon of hot water (it should be as hot as you can stand to touch).  You could use a bucket / pail or just plug your sink to hold the water.
  4. Dip each item into the bleach water and swish it around for a few seconds.
  5. Drain the bleach water from it and put it in the dish drainer.
  6. DO NOT rinse them off unless you are going to rinse them with distilled or purified water.  Tap water will re-introduce bacteria.
  7. Let everything dry.  This is part of the sanitization process, so don’t be tempted to wipe it dry with a towel or paper towel — you will be potentially introducing bacteria again.   This will take approximately 1/2 hour to 1 hour.
  8. Once it’s dry, you’re ready to go!

 

Once you are done with sanitizing your equipment, you are ready to make some lotion.

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Sanitization – Two Methods

    1. There are only a couple teaspoons of bleach being used, so it’s not too bad — smells like you’re doing laundry. Some people are sensitive to bleach fumes though, so cracking open a window was recommended. The biggest problem with the bleach method is the time it takes for everything to drip-dry. I use the rubbing alcohol. It stinks like rubbing alcohol for a couple minutes but it dissipates quickly. It also dries very fast.

      Liked by 1 person

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