Germs and contaminants exist everywhere, from your household goods to your desktop. Hand sanitizers have become increasingly common to reduce the risk of infection and to protect your health from harmful bacteria. Due to high demand during COVID-19, there are many hand sanitizers available in varying forms that contain different ingredients which can seem overwhelming.
To help you choose one, we browsed reviews and research to compile a list of our top 10 favorites. Germ-X sanitizer came in at the number one spot with its strong disinfectant power and moisturizing ingredients. Don't forget to read the buying guide at the end to help you figure out what you need in your preferred hand sanitizer!
Hand sanitizer is a familiar product that helps you stay hygienic and keeps harmful germs away. However, many people still wonder about the differences between hand sanitizer and soap or about the right way to use sanitizers.
So what makes hand sanitizer a formidable enemy for stubborn germs? According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, hand sanitizers often contain active ingredients with strong antibacterial properties such as ethanol and deionized and sodium lactate that can kill stubborn germs instead of just washing them away.
Yet, there are some bacteria such as cryptosporidium, salmonella, and norovirus which soap and water can remove but hand sanitizer cannot. Also, when your hands are visibly soiled or greasy, hand sanitizers may not be as effective as hand soaps.
However, unlike hand soaps which require you to wash with water, you can just dispense some sanitizer on your hands and rub for 30 seconds. It's very convenient and can be used anytime, anywhere!
Below are the top 10 hand sanitizers that we recommend! Each product is based on the amount, type, fragrance, active ingredients, and other information that may be beneficial to you.
|Amount||8 oz. per bottle|
|Fragrance||Fresh and clean scent|
|Skin-friendliness||Paraben and cruelty free|
|Active ingredient||Ethyl alcohol 63%|
|Amount||2 oz. per bottle|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Aloe vera, vegetable glycerin|
|Fragrance||Coconut and lemon|
|Skin-friendliness||Paraben-free, no artificial fragrances, dye-free|
|Active ingredient||Ethanol 62% (derived from sugar cane)|
|Amount||2 oz. per bottle|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Organic glycerin, lavender oil|
|Skin-friendliness||Organic, non-GMO, no harsh chemicals|
|Active ingredient||Organic ethyl alcohol 62%|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Glycerin, squalane|
|Skin-friendliness||Paraben and sulfate-free|
|Active ingredient||Ethyl alcohol 61%|
|Amount||10 oz. per bottle|
|Active ingredients||Ethyl alcohol 65%|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Aloe vera|
|Active ingredient||Ethyl alcohol 70%|
|Active ingredient||Ethyl alcohol 70%|
|Amount||8.45 oz. per bottle|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Citrus fruits|
|Skin-friendliness||Paraben-free, sulfate-free, no artificial fragrances, dye-free|
|Active ingredient||Benzethonium chloride 0.1%|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Monoi coconut oil, aloe vera|
|Active ingredient||Ethyl alcohol 62% (derived from sugar cane)|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Aloe vera, jojoba oil, vitamin E|
|Skin-friendliness||Sulfate-free, paraben-free, vegan|
|Active ingredient||Ethyl alcohol 62.5%|
Moisturizing Original Hand Sanitizer
Coconut & Lemon Hand Sanitizer Spray
Organic Hand Sanitizer Spray
3M Health Care Sanitizer Hand Gel with Moisturizer
70% Alcohol Hand Sanitizer Wipes
Advanced Hand Sanitizer Refreshing Gel
Foaming Hand Sanitizer
Baby Bum Hand Sanitizer
Scent Free Hand Sanitizer
Kills Germs in as Little as 15 Seconds
62 Percent Ethanol from Non-GMO Sugar Cane and Vegetable Glycerin
Organic and Fair Trade Ingredients With an Enticing Lavender Aroma
Effective Sanitizer That Meets WHO Guidelines
Portable, Alcohol-Based, and Simple Spray Hand Sanitizer
Powerful Disinfectant Wipes for Quick Cleanups and Travel
One Squirt to Stay Hygienic and Eliminate 99.99 Percent of Germs
An Alcohol-Free, Kid-Friendly Hand Sanitizer
Pediatrician and Dermatologist Tested Hand Sanitizer for Babies and Kids
Strong Antibacterial Power With Added Moisturizers
|Amount||8 oz. per bottle||2 oz. per bottle||2 oz. per bottle||16.9 oz.||10 oz. per bottle||20 count||8 oz.||8.45 oz. per bottle||2 oz.||8 oz.|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Glycerin||Aloe vera, vegetable glycerin||Organic glycerin, lavender oil||Glycerin, squalane||Glycerin||Aloe vera||Glycerin||Citrus fruits||Monoi coconut oil, aloe vera||Aloe vera, jojoba oil, vitamin E|
|Fragrance||Fresh and clean scent||Coconut and lemon||Lavender||Unscented||Scent-free||Scent-free||Refreshing||Unscented||Coconut||Scent-free|
|Skin-friendliness||Paraben and cruelty free||Paraben-free, no artificial fragrances, dye-free||Organic, non-GMO, no harsh chemicals||Paraben and sulfate-free||No fragrance||-||-||Paraben-free, sulfate-free, no artificial fragrances, dye-free||Hypoallergenic||Sulfate-free, paraben-free, vegan|
|Active ingredient||Ethyl alcohol 63%||Ethanol 62% (derived from sugar cane)||Organic ethyl alcohol 62%||Ethyl alcohol 61%||Ethyl alcohol 65%||Ethyl alcohol 70%||Ethyl alcohol 70%||Benzethonium chloride 0.1%||Ethyl alcohol 62% (derived from sugar cane)||Ethyl alcohol 62.5%|
When choosing hand sanitizer, there are some factors you'll want to remember before making a purchase. These include its ingredients, the types of hand sanitizer, the fragrance, and the purpose behind using it.
There are some ingredients that a hand sanitizer needs in order to effectively kill harmful germs while there are others you should be aware of that may pose a risk to your skin's health. As a result, carefully examine the ingredient list to make the best decision and consult a professional if you need further guidance.
Active ingredients such as alcohol and benzethonium chloride decide the antiseptic power of a hand sanitizer. Most products are alcohol-based since alcohol is highly soluble in water, and most germs don't develop a resistance to it.
The type of alcohol and amount used in hand sanitizer is extremely important to pay attention to. Most brands will label the ingredient as "ethanol," "ethyl alcohol," or "isopropyl alcohol" and should come in a concentration ranging from 60 to 95 percent to be considered effective as suggested by the CDC.
Be aware that alcohol may trigger irritation which could lead to major damage to the outer layer of your skin if used too much over time. If this is a concern for you, go with an alcohol-free hand sanitizer with benzalkonium chloride, a more mild ingredient.
Alcohol-free hand sanitizers contain less than 0.1 percent of benzalkonium chloride while the rest of the solution is typically made of water and other skin conditioners. The CDC states that alcohol-free sanitizers might not kill germs as effectively, but it still serves as an alternative for those with sensitive skin.
Because alcohol-based hand sanitizer can dry your skin out, consider a hand sanitizer enriched with humectants, emollients, and moisturizers to prevent your skin from further breaking down.
Humectants "hold" water to attract moisture. Common humectants to look for include glycerin and propylene glycol. Emollients like isopropyl myristate, made from nutmeg and coconut oil, seal the moisture in your skin to make the surface smooth. As for moisturizers, aloe vera, and vitamin E are great additions to help soften the skin.
Some hand sanitizers contain chemicals such as triclosan, phthalates, and parabens which have been researched and studied for their possible health risks you should take note of.
Triclosan is used in sanitizing products because of its strong antiseptic properties. However, studies have associated it with animal hormone disruption and possibly making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. It is still under review and monitored by the FDA; while it may be safe in low doses, you should be aware of its growing concerns.
Parabens and phthalates are preservatives associated with endocrine disruption, cancer, and skin irritation. However, products containing those chemicals can still be safe if used in small amounts. It is best to proceed with caution if these are a concern for you.
Hand sanitizers can be divided into five categories: foam, gel, liquid, spray, or wet wipes. Each type has its own pros and cons, so you should consider them carefully before purchasing.
Gel sanitizer has been around for decades and is, in fact, the most commonly-used type of hand sanitizer. It has a jelly-like consistency that may make it harder to spill when dispensed, so it can be used in classrooms or on the go in the car. With gel, it typically takes 30 seconds to evenly spread and kill bacteria across your hands.
Liquid hand sanitizer is quite similar to gel except for its obvious aspect: its consistency. Unlike gel, it can be runny and make for a messy experience. However, its thin substance makes it quick to spread all over your hands. Really, you can't go wrong with a gel or liquid hand sanitizer; it simply depends on your preference.
A great perk about foam hand sanitizer is that it sticks to your hands throughout the application and does not drip easily, so you don't have to worry about it making a mess at home or work. This is a great option if you use it in a facility that has waxed floors as sanitizer may leave stains if not cleaned properly.
Kids typically love bubbly things as well, so you may get them to use this sanitizer much more easily. Something else to consider is that foam tends to run higher in price because of the ingredients and pump that is used to create the foamy texture. If price isn't a concern for you, you should definitely give a foam hand sanitizer a try!
Spray sanitizers have more watery formulas that are dispersed through a spray pump on the top. It is easy to apply with one press and can be a great way to uniformly disinfect your hands without any worry of it dripping.
One aspect that can't be helped is that it will more than likely disperse in the air, which could seem wasteful; however, it is still a great option that is perfect to travel with if you decide on a pocket-sized bottle.
If your hands are greasy or dirty, unfortunately, gel or foam sanitizers will not be able to clean your hands effectively. As a great alternative, wet wipes can help you remove dirt and kill germs at the same time! Because of its wipe form, these can be used on multiple surfaces and get in the cracks and crevices of most areas.
The one concern is that these are not an environmental-friendly choice since each wipe creates more waste. However, they are still convenient if you travel a lot or need something more heavy-duty for kids with sticky hands. You have zero worries about making an even bigger mess with these.
Since hand sanitizer contains a high percentage of alcohol or other active ingredients, its natural scent tends to be strong. That's why many brands have started to infuse their products with fragrances. However, artificial fragrances may trigger allergic reactions, so if you have sensitive skin, you should definitely skip them.
Instead, you can choose products that are naturally scented with lavender or fruit extracts. You can always opt for unscented products as well.
It is recommended to use a sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent of alcohol to be considered effective. Whether you use a gel, liquid, or foam hand sanitizer, be sure to cover the entire surface of your hands and rub it in thoroughly until it is completely dry. This will ensure the substance is absorbed and is not wasted.
Do keep in mind there are cases when you should absolutely try to find soap and water instead of relying on hand sanitizer, including when your hands are visibly dirty, when you have been in touch with chemicals, or when your hands are greasy from touching oil or raw meat.
Hand sanitizer also has the potential to kill the microbiome or good bacteria living on our bodies. Therefore, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that you should only use hand sanitizer if you do not have access to soap and water.
However, for those who travel, have jobs where you are in contact with multiple people or are in a classroom setting, hand sanitizers are convenient to use in between for basic hygienic care. Be aware that some hand sanitizers can only last for a couple of minutes, so whenever recontamination occurs, make sure to re-apply.
If you are looking for some products that can help you stay hygienic and healthy beyond just your hands, look no further! Check out our other articles by clicking the links below.
Hand sanitizer is extremely important to have for convenience and basic hygiene when you can't get to water and soap. The plethora of products available on the market may seem daunting, which is why we hope our Top 10 list and buying guide proved helpful in making the right decision for you.
Author: Thuy Nguyen
As you've explored the many types of hand sanitizers, go even further to look at products that will disinfect your space as well. Here is the Humblesuds All Purpose Cleaner recommended by Clean Living Blogger Erica Baron that will keep your home and office fresh and clean without harmful ingredients.
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