Soaps and hand washes containing essential oils are advisable as bacteria are unable to become resistant to essential oils.

Synthetic soaps and hand washes can make you sick over time, especially if they are antibacterial as they encourage the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. And take care if using hand washes that are designed for use without water. If you leave them on your hands and don't wash them off consider this thought. Where do they go?

Remember your skin is the largest organ of your body and is able to absorb and store these chemicals. Clinical trials are finding that these chemicals can be absorbed in the skin and end up being stored in your organs. Over time this poses a significant threat to your health. Your skin needs to be protected from the constant barrage of chemicals that many products contain. It is of great concern that some hospitals, nursing homes and pre-schools use these products (and demand we use them when visiting).

Read the label of any product that you apply to your skin, cosmetics included. If you can't read or understand them be concerned. And if they can't be eaten then don't apply them to your skin.

The largest, most comprehensive study ever done comparing the effectiveness of hand hygiene products shows that nothing works better in getting rid of disease-causing viruses than simply washing one's hands with good old-fashioned soap and water. Among the viruses soapy hand washing flushes down the drain is the one that causes the common cold. Other removable viruses cause hepatitis A, acute gastroenteritis and a host of other illnesses.

A separate key finding was that waterless handwipes only removed roughly 50 percent of bacteria from volunteer subjects' hands. For removing viruses from the hands, physical removal with soap and water was most effective since some viruses are hardy and relatively resistant to disinfection.

A report on the findings appeared in the March 2005 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

Some essential oils such as lemongrass contain anti-viral properties. The essential oils alter the pH and the electrical resistance of the terrain in a way that is unfavourable to the viral organism.