hand hygiene kit

The Ultimate Natural & Antimicrobial Hand & Nail Hygiene Kit

Not all soaps are created equal, neither are all nail brushes or all manicure tools! Yet all of them are necessary for proper hand and nail hygiene – especially in the control of Covid. Sally, with her background in archaeology and anthropology and founder of Natural Spa Supplies Ltd, explains what she has developed for her popular naturally antimicrobial hand washing and nail cleaning kit.

the ultimate antimicrobial hand and nail cleaning kit with hemp oil soap, natural scrubbing brushes and horn manicure tools

Since the very moment my business began, I had been asking myself this question, ‘What did people used to use to keep themselves clean?’ I began to unlock the answers by reading British historical books and became intrigued by the many uses ‘soft soap’ made from Hemp Oil. Even Samuel Pepys, the 17th century diarist bought a barrel of this soap every year. Full of curiosity, I had to find out if the oil based soap really was as essential and versatile as our ancestors had suggested and how we could benefit from it in our times.

After perfecting the recipe and re-creating the green concentrated gel soap, I sent a sample to a laboratory to see if this Hemp Oil soap has the germ killing qualities which would have been consistent with its earlier uses. The laboratory owner called the next day, ‘ I don’t normally call clients when I have only just started the testing … but this soap has killed every microbe I have tested it on – all within the first test point. Often a soap can kill rod-shaped bacteria, releasing even smaller organisms, giving even more ‘germs’ at the end of the test than at the start. The hemp oil soap gave a score of zero microbes on the initial and all subsequent test points. A first for this laboratory, a victory for this soap and validation of our rich written history!

As mean as the hemp oil soap is to germs and grime, it is remarkably kind to the skin. It can be used by frequent hand washers and by people with sensitive skin. What is more, this oil-based soap has hundreds of other uses from giving rash-free shaving and making light work of dreaded cleaning tasks such as the hob, roasting pans, even burnt pans and pet mess.

Many of the germs on the hands reside under the nails. So it is best to keep the nails short and where possible to have natural nails, rather than false and painted nails. A combination of scrubbing with a well designed nail brush and judicious use of a manicure tool, is the only way to assure nail cleanliness. It is a shame that plastic nail brushes are so ubiquitous – the bristles are too thick to clean every millimeter under the nails and trying too hard causes the bristles to display.

I solved this by sourcing traditional nail brushes made form sustainable beech wood and agave fibre bristles. The agave bristles are finer than nylon, more closely spaced and seemingly stronger. The ‘agave’ bristles reach very well under the nails and these natural nail brushes are more durable.

nail brushes x 3 showing different angles

Taking nail cleaning to the next level, Sally then engaged a very talented father and son workshop in India to make some intriguing horn manicure / pedicure tools. These tools have an astonishing Surrealistic design. At one end of the tool, a pointed, talon-like end draws dirt from under the finger nails. The other end of the tool, shaped like a well trimmed finger nail, is used as a cuticle pusher. The design remarkably functional, poetic and punning!

two horn manicure tools

With just these three traditional products, sold as a kit, the hands and nails can be kept scrupulously clean and beautiful and it only takes minutes each day. Start by cleaning under the nails with the manicure tool, then scrub the nails and wash the hands with the Hemp Oil Soap with the natural Nail Brush. Finish by pushing back the cuticles while the cuticles are damp and flexible. Only then are your hands hygienically clean.

Washing the Hands and Scrubbing the Nails

How Clean are Your Hands and Nails? New Hand Washing Techniques.

We we all taught to wash our hands by our parents and at school, but were we taught the best way? Mrs Everybody brings you new ideas and improvements using natural products.

Why Do We Need Clean Hands and Nails?

We touch a multitude of things every day. In fact an adult may touch as many as 30 objects a minute when they are awake.

When we go out of the house, we are touching objects which have been touched by hundreds of people.

Furthermore through the day our hands touch our face and mouth an average of 16 times per hour. 

Take an imaginary journey out of your house. Open your car door, drop some kids off at nursery, fill up with the right type of fuel, get some cash out of the wall, grab that supermarket trolley … now pick up some shopping from the independents to be transported to your cupboards and fridge. You have just touched some of the germiest things – door handles, fuel pump handles, ATM machine buttons, and the super market trolley or basket.

OK let’s take a walk to the office. Stroll along the road, push the button at the lights, enter the building. Do you share a telephone, a computer keyboard, card terminals, the kettle and toilet? Sorry bad news again. Keyboard and mice in shared offices are more germy than public toilet seats. I just hope it won’t provoke a case of nervous nail biting!

Maybe stay at home! You will need to go to the toilet at some point, the cat is waiting for its food and after dinner cuddle, the bins need emptying and the windows and fridge cleaning. Plus you will need to prepare and eat food,! At least you will easily be able to wash your hands and scrub your nails at home.

The truth of the matter is, we have all unintentionally spread germs through our hands and we have all picked up colds, the flu, stomach bugs and more through indirect contact with other peoples’ hands. We are all a little bit guilty, but then again our parents and back then, at school, we didn’t know what we do now in the light of new research.

hand wash kit with anti-bacterial hemp oil soap and a natural fibre nail brush

An all natural hand wash kit with hemp oil soap and a natural fiber nail brush

There are lots of specialty hand washing products out there, but many studies show that the more ‘scientific’ the hand wash products are, the less likely people are to use them properly.

It is because the highly formulated products are more likely they are to cause skin redness, burning, itching, roughness, dermatitis and allergies, as well as nail damage.

There is a common consensus that people find real soap less harmful the skin and prefer to use it. So  soap, water and a good nail brush are essential, but equally so is a good washing technique. So starting with anti-bacterial soft soap and the stiff vegetable fiber nail brush, lets go over the techniques.

Hand Washing Techniques

1. How to Wash the Hands and Clean the Nails: Old Method

This old fashioned ‘random’ method does get the hands visibly cleanish, but it is not totally systematic. It is what most people do most of the time unless they are taught other methods. Simply get the hands wet in a basin of warm water. Take a small dab of soft soap, rub it over every part of the hands, fingers and wrists. Apply a further dab of soap to a nail brush and scrub under the nails. For hands with embedded grime, use a nail brush (gently) over the finger pads, palms cuticles and nails. Rinse the nail brush and finally rinse the hands and dry them. I learn this way at home and at school in a sink of warm water. I did have to pass ‘finger nail inspections’ before dinner at home.

2. Newer Method: How the Wash the Hands: Current Method Recommended by WHO (the World Health Organization)

More recently (2009), after bring together lots of research, WHO have issued guidelines on hand washing, mainly directed to health care workers but intended to filter down through society by national government initiatives.

As a result, in the work place and public places, colourful posters are pinned up at hand washing sinks show a structured series of images with captions. They portray the steps to washing every part of the hands, but with barely a mention of the nails. The WHO hand washing process takes about 1 minute and it has been adapted in the work place for between 30-60 seconds. In reality, the time normally spent washing the hands in the work place, even with poster displayed is about 17 seconds.

What is more, the cleaning of the nails is massively under-emphasized by both WHO and in the work place – This important nail / hand hygiene step doesn’t even get its own image.

3. Comprehensive Method! How to Wash the Hands and Clean the Nails at Home: Natural Spa Supplies Ltd

Photos with captions showing 8 steps to perfect hand and nail hygiene using natural products.

Feel free to share or download our poster which shows all the steps to getting both the hands and nails totally clean and a video, showing the steps very clearly. [coming soon] Most of the microbes on the hands are concentrated in the first 1mm of nail growth and nail scrubbing should never be overlooked. The nails should be scrubbed at least once every day even if they look clean already. We are using our anti-bacterial soft soap and the stiff vegetable fiber nail brush.

Water Wet the hands preferably with warm water.
Soap Take a Dab of Hemp Oil Soft Soap.

1. Palms Rub the hemp oil soap between the palms and fingers on the palmar surfaces in order to disperse the soap, mix it with water and even produce a small lather. The soap will turn from green to white.
2. Fingers Allow the fingers to loosely interlock and slide along each other and let the palms slide across each other.
3. Fingers Place one hand on top of the other and allow the fingers to loosely interlock, following the motions described in the previous step. Repeat with the other hand.
4. Knuckles Make a fist with one hand and rub it in the palm of the other hand. This stretches out the skin folds in the knuckles and keeps the skin here clean and flexible. Repeat with the other fist.
5. Thumbs Enclose the thumb joint and thumb with the thumb and finger of the other hand and clean up and down the thumb. Repeat on the other thumb.
6. Finger Tips Place all of the finger tips of one hand onto the palm of the other hand and rub. This action cleans the finger tips and gets some extra soap under the nails. Repeat with the finger tips on the other hand.
7. Wrists Clasp the wrist and clean around the wrist. Repeat to clean the other wrist.
8. NAILS Scrub the all nails with the ‘cactus’ fibre nail brush.

Rinse The nail brush, the hands and nails. The water will rinse the soap and germs away. Allow the nail brush to dry.
Dry Dry the hands.

Once you know what you are doing, it doesn’t take long at all.

Extras It is not necessary to moisturize after using the hemp oil soap as the skin is left supple. However I do moisturize the hands once or twice a day with Organic Argan Oil to protect the skin from the elements and to reduce the signs of aging. I have also found that the Argan Oil and /or the Argan Lip Balm does strengthen the nails.

What is Hemp Oil Soap?

Made from nothing more than British grown hemp seed oil and lye water, it is the most basic of soaps and if any of these ingredients were omitted, it would cease to be soap! While this soap is gentle on the skin, it kills germs and cleans the skin without stripping the protective oils or natural flora. It is suitable for all skin types even sensitive skin, and it can be used by frequent hand washers and people with sensitive skin.

Naturally AntiMicrobial Soap

Remember, our soap is the most simple formula of just 3 ingredients – with hemp seed oil as the principal and evidently key ingredient. The recipe was inspired by a similar important soap made in Britain from the 12th century!

When we had the soap voluntarily tested for its anti-microbial qualities, the test lab especially called us to say that they had never seen such fast and thorough anti-microbial action with any soap they had tested before. It killed 247 million colony forming units of Pseudomonas aeriginosa, 10 million colony forming units of Staphylococcus aureus and over 3 million colony forming units of Candida albicans at the first test point. Microbial levels stayed at zero through subsequent test points. This string of ‘zeros’ had never been seen before.

Nail Brush

There is a world of difference between nylon nail brushes and natural nail brushes. We supply an untreated beech wood nail brush with stiff cactus fiber bristles. A good nail brush is essential for cleaning the nails and hands. This superb quality nail brush makes hand washing and nail scrubbing effective, gentle and thorough.

The nail brush is made with sustainably produced untreated beech wood. All of the edges are chamfered. The brush feels smooth, very well finished and it is easy to hold. The naturally stiff bristles are made from ‘cactus’ plant leaf fibers, or more precisely, the agave lechugilla plant which grown in the semi-arid regions in Mexico. This plant fibre is renown for being durable, elastic, non-electrostatic and for its polishing attributes and shape retentive qualities. Leaves of the plant are still wild gathered by special collectors called talladores who strip the flesh off the leaf to reveal the fibres’ which are then dried, sorted and cut.

Findings

So far we have found that nail cleaning is faster with a natural fibre bristle brush and remarkably, the nails appear cleaner in between nail scrubbing. Perhaps it is the polishing action of the nail brush on the underside of the protruding nail, the anti-static effect or just the thoroughness of the cleaning? Although we can’t see the microbes, using the naturally anti-microbial hemp oil soap, they will be cleaned, but not at the expense of your natural protective skin flora. Even if the nails appear to be perfectly clean, it important to thoroughly scrub the nails every day and as often as required to maintain personal hygiene standards and to protect others that we come into contact with.

Frequent Hand Washers

Most of us are in fact  ‘frequent hand washers’ and certainly my family have always encouraged, well made sure, of hand washing before meals, on coming into the house and at any other relevant time, but without being obsessive. I do enjoy a good hand wash and nail scrub – it is sort of yoga for the hands and they always feel better afterwards.

Get your supplies! Hemp Oil Soap and a Really functional Nail Brush.

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Natural Spa Supplies Ltd
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Weybread, Diss, Norfolk IP21 5TL.
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