It’s the topic of conversation lately and I’ve tried many of them. But are they safe? We can answer that question when we know what ingredients in hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer was first introduced in 1966 in medical settings such as hospitals and healthcare offices. And then popularized in the early 1990’s. According to Pharmacy Today, 91% of children 0-5 yrs have been exposed by drinking or inhaling the product by mistake. This is due to the appealing scent like apple, vanilla or citrus. And children 6-12 yrs had consumed the product intentionally. These products should always be used with caution and under the supervison of an adult.
It’s best to wash hands with soap and water when possible
Recently there was an ingredient causing public health issues that was in the news. It’s methanol. According to fda.gov, methanol was found in hand sanitizers and the FDA is saying it is not an acceptable ingredient due to toxic effects. The definition according to Wikipedia is: Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol amongst other names, is a chemical with the formula CH3OH (a methyl group linked to a hydroxyl group, often abbreviated MeOH). It is a light, volatile, colourless, flammable liquid with a distinctive alcoholic odor similar to that of ethanol. A polar solvent, methanol acquired the name wood alcohol because it was once produced chiefly by the destructive distillation of wood. Today, methanol is mainly produced industrially by hydrogenation of carbon monoxide. Do not use hand sanitizer with methanol in it.
Basically, Methanol is a toxic alcohol that when used excessively it can cause vomiting, nausea, headache and vision problems. If you have any of these types of symptoms, stop using the product and call the doctor.
Ingredients in Hand Sanitizer
There are many types of ingredients in hand sanitizer. It’s important to understand all of the choices and purchase from a reliable source. I personally choose one that has a good scent and isn’t sticky. The ones I purchase are usually better quality from a reputable store. They come in liquid flip top, foam pump, gel or spray. Obviously there needs to be some strong ingredients in order for this type of product to be effective. Typically the following ingredients (in no order) could be found in approved hand sanitizers:
- 60%-95% alcohol
- Benzalkonium chloride
- Ethyl Alcohol 63% (ethanol)
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Rosemary Oil
- Vegetable Glycerin
Preferred Hand Sanitizers
I have a couple favorite hand sanitizers like Purell, Klean+, McKesson (not currently available) or GermX. They all have a nice scent and don’t leave an alcohol or sticky feeling on my hands. There are still product availability issues today when purchasing select products so order early to insure delivery when you need it.
- Klean+ Hand Sanitizer-my new favorite choice Klean+ Hand Sanitizer comes in a wonderful lavender scent and can be purchased by clicking the ad below. It has 67% ethanol and fights 99.99% of common germs. FDA OTC approved. Available only in 1.69oz travel size spray.
- Purell-Purell Hand Sanitizer can be purchased by clicking here. It has 70% ethyl alcohol and fights 99.99% of common germs. Comes in refreshing aloe, regular scent or natural plant based alcohol scent. Available in travel, 28oz and 1 liter.
- GermX-Germ-X Hand Sanitizer can be purchased by clicking here. It has 62% ethyl alcohol and also fights 99.99% of common germs. Comes in original, aloe and new fragrance collection. Available in travle, 8oz and 30oz sizes.
Look for hand sanitizer that is triclosan, paraben and preservative free. This is usually found in natural or plant based selections that could be harder to find.
When using Hand Sanitizer follow these directions
- Apply thoroughly to one or both hands
- Rub Hands together
- Rub all over both hands and fingers until hands are dry for about 30-60 seconds
- Be aware that when a product contains alcohol, it is flammable so stay away from flame or gas burner
- Hand sanitizer may not work well if hands are very dirty or greasy
Always clean your hands before eating, after using the bathroom, after touching dirty surfaces that could be contaminated and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
It takes about 60 seconds to kill germs on hands
Check out this helpful video on how to properly apply hand sanitizer:
Benefits of Hand Sanitizer
- More accessible than hand washing station
- More convenient
- Act quickly to kill germs
- Quicker than washing hands
- Reduce bacteria on hands
- Less irritating than soap and water
Hand Sanitizers to Avoid
According to healthline.com it’s highly recommended avoiding these hand sanitizers:
- Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer
- All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
- Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
- CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
- Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer
- The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer
It is recommended to stop using any of these listed above and dispose in an appropriate hazardous waste container. Do not flush or pour down the drain.
Make your own Hand Sanitizer
If you want to make your own hand sanitizer then follow these directions below. But please note that it is only recommended making your own if you are unable to purchase any. The process is easy but needs to be an exact measurement so that its effective to protect you from germs. Improper proportions or ingredients can lead to: skin irritations or burn, exposure to hazardous chemicals by inhaling or lack of efficacy. Homemade hand sanitizer is not recommended for children.
First of all, you will need 2 parts ethanol or rubbing alcohol, 1 part aloe vera gel and for fragrance a few drops of an essential oil (I like peppermint) or lemon juice. This 2:1 proportion keeps the alcohol content at 60% which according to the CDC is the minimum amount needed to kill germs. Mix all the ingredients together until well blended.
So now that you have an idea of what ingredients in hand sanitizer you can choose if you want to continue using it. As always it’s best to use soap and water. I’m a huge fan of hand sanitizer due to its convenience and ability to instantly kill germs on hands when a sink isn’t available.
Please comment below your experience with hand sanitizer or let me know if you have any questions.
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