Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good alternative if handwashing isn’t an option. Learn how to look for a hand sanitizer and make your own.
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After careful consideration, we chose our top picks for hand sanitizers, each representing a different category.
To help you find a hand sanitizer that not only kills germs, but also works for you, we read product reviews, talked with experts, and considered user comments for a variety of products.
When it comes to preventing the spread of germs, nothing beats soap and water. But if handwashing isn’t an option, the next best thing is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says a hand sanitizer should contain at least 60 percent alcohol to help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs.
Hand sanitizer is a portable and convenient product. When used correctly, it can help prevent the spread of infections.
We considered the following criteria when selecting the best hand sanitizers:
Online and brick-and-mortar retailers carry several hand sanitizers, but some brands have more benefits than others.
A top pick for hospitals, doctor’s offices, and homes is Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer. Why? Because it’s formulated with 70 percent ethyl alcohol, which is higher than the minimum recommended by the CDC.
If you’re looking for a hand sanitizer with a light fragrance and soothing qualities, Purell offers a formula with aloe vera.
It effectively kills germs, yet is gentle enough for sensitive skin. CHI Natural Gardens Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer is an excellent option for anyone looking for a natural hand sanitizer.
CHI includes organically grown aloe vera and glycerin to help soothe and seal in moisture.
When you’re traveling, you’ll want a conveniently sized bottle that’s also easy to open. That’s why Germ-X Moisturizing Original Hand Sanitizer is a great choice for on-the-go.
Available in a variety of travel sizes including 2, 3, and 8 ounces, it also comes with a flip-top cap that prevents spills.
Small enough to fit in your pocket yet strong enough to kill 99.99 percent of many common harmful germs and bacteria, Germ-X is a trusted brand that has been around for years.
If you’re looking for an organic and portable hand sanitizer spray, then check out Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hand Sanitizer.
This travel-size formula is certified organic, packaged in a recyclable bottle, and contains 62 percent organic fair-trade ethyl alcohol. Plus, it comes in two different fragrances: lavender or peppermint.
Hand sanitizing wipes come in handy when you’re on the go and need to kill germs while also wiping away dirt and messes.
Pharma-C Isopropyl Alcohol Wipes are a great choice for sanitizing wipes, says Mike Golpa, DDS, a dentist, and CEO of G4 by Golpa. “It’s a safe solution with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol, and it comes in a convenient canister,” he says.
Megababe contains 62 percent ethyl alcohol as well as sweet almond oil, marula oil, geranium oil, and more. The essential oils give the formula a pleasant, sweet smell and provide extra hydration for your skin.
Most kid-approved hand sanitizers are alcohol-free, so finding a formula with ingredients safe for your little one’s hands is priority number one for many parents.
That’s why Babyganics Alcohol-Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer is such a popular option for families on the go.
Made from plant-derived products, this Babyganics hand sanitizer is also free of harsh ingredients like artificial fragrances, dyes, parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.
Hand sanitizer is notorious for drying out your hands. This formula contains squalane, a popular skin care ingredient known for its moisturizing properties.
It contains 70 percent alcohol to kill germs, but you’ll still have soft hands in the process.
Those looking for a vegan-friendly hand sanitizer should check out Desert Essence. It’s made with plant-based ingredients and is cruelty-free.
It also contains kefir, a source of probiotics to soothe and condition the skin.
Gel hand sanitizers can leave a sticky residue. Hand sanitizer sprays are an alternative that feels more lightweight on the skin, and they’re easy to use.
Honest makes a hand sanitizer spray that comes in four different scents, including an unscented version for those who prefer fragrance-free cosmetics.
If you use hand sanitizer frequently throughout the day, you’re likely familiar with the drying effect this good hygiene habit can have. Hand sanitizers formulated with aloe are a bit more soothing.
This option contains aloe vera to moisturize dry hands. It also contains coconut, glycerin, and vitamin E for extra nourishment.
For babies, children, and people with sensitive skin, opt for a fragrance-free hand sanitizer. This formula is hypoallergenic, non-sticky, and nondrying.
It comes in a variety of sizes, including portable travel-friendly sizes and jumbo sizes to refill smaller bottles.
This hand sanitizer spray is made with 62 percent ethyl alcohol and other plant-based, clean ingredients. It dries down quickly and feels moisturizing on the hands due to the presence of glycerin and aloe vera.
The ingredients are simple and mostly organic.
An effective hand sanitizer should contain at least 60 percent ethyl alcohol to kill germs and bacteria. This one has a whopping 80 percent.
It also contains aloe vera to help offset any dryness that results from the high alcohol content.
Repeated use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer can lead to dry hands. Alcohol-free hand sanitizers are made with benzalkonium chloride, an antiseptic that kills germs but doesn’t dry out your skin.
The formula also comes in travel-friendly bottles and wipes.
Hand sanitizers in plastic bottles create a lot of waste if not properly recycled. These hand sanitizer bottles are made with aluminum to cut down on plastic waste. They also come in multiple scents, including an unscented version.
Each bottle contains 2.4 ounces of product with 65 percent alcohol.
A hand sanitizer mist has a smooth stream compared to sprays, which aren’t always the most accurate.
Touchland hand sanitizer mists come in visually appealing packaging, a variety of fun scents, and in a micro-mist form. Each bottle has enough product for 500 sprays.
If you’re a fan of foaming hand soaps, you’ll appreciate a foaming hand sanitizer. They’re not as common as gels, liquids, and sprays, however.
This foaming hand sanitizer comes at a great value and ships in leak-prevention packaging. It uses alcohol-free benzalkonium chloride to kill germs and aloe to restore moisture.