5 Best Hand Sanitizers of 2021
Hand sanitizers are more important today than ever.
Shopping for hand sanitizers, however, can be confusing. All hand sanitizers promise to kill germs and clean your hands.
However, not all hand sanitizers are created equal. Some hand sanitizers have been proven to work in multiple scientific studies. Other hand sanitizers are no better than soap water – or worse, they damage your hands.
In this article, we’re highlighting the best hand sanitizers you can buy in 2021, including the best budget hand sanitizers, premium hand sanitizers, and mid-range options.
Top Hand Sanitizers in 2021
#1 Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer
Purell’s tried-and-true hand sanitizer classic can be spotted in millions of car gloveboxes across the country.
Purell’s claim to fame is that just one squirt of its hand sanitizer kills as many germs as two squirts of any other national brand. The formula is also enhanced with four nourishing skin-conditioning agents, creating a formula that’s mild on hands and easy on the skin.
In recent years, Purell has also launched different versions of its hand sanitizer, including the ‘Green’ version that uses plant-based ethyl alcohol, or the ‘Refreshing Aloe’ option for additional moisture.
Some find the scent of Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer to be a little too clinical. After all, the formula consists of 70% ethyl alcohol for maximum microbial purposes. However, if you want an effective hand sanitizer, then you should be okay with the scent.
There’s a reason Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer is the number one brand used in hospitals.
#2 Purell Hand Sanitizing Wipes
Not to be outdone, Wet Ones competitor Purell has launched its own hand sanitizing wipes. The wipes kill 99.99% of most illness-causing germs, have a clean and refreshing scent, and are dermatologist tested to be safe to use.
The wipes can be used to clean your hands or to wipe up messes. Each soft wipe should be tough enough to tackle small messes, although like Wet Ones, Purell’s wipes aren’t suitable for larger messes.
#3 Dettol Sanitizer
Dettol offers decent germ-killing power at a reasonable price. The formula kills 99.9% of germs. You can apply it to your hands on-the-go without rinsing.
Dettol is a UK-based company founded 80 years ago. The company originally sold products that protected mothers from illness after child birth. Ever since, Dettol liquid has been trusted around the world to help clean wounds caused by cuts, bites, and more. Today, the hand sanitizer is a trusted way to kill germs.
It may not as well-known as Purell or Wet Ones, but Dettol has a proven ability to fight germs – and it’s been fighting germs for eight decades.
Get Dettol Sanitizer on Amazon
#4 Germ-X Original Hand Sanitizer, 8 Fl Ounce (pack of 12), 96 Fl Oz
- Price from $30.99
- Kills 99.99% of germs without water
- Effective at eliminating 99.99% of many common harmful germs and bacteria in as little as 15 seconds
- With Vitamin E
- Flavors may vary - Original or fresh citrus
#5 Artnaturals Hand Sanitizer Gel Alcohol Based Infused with Jojoba Oil, Alovera Gel & Vitamin E - Unscented Fragrance Free Sanitize
- 1 Gallon x 128 Fl Oz / 3785ml
- CONTAINS 62.5% ETHYL ALCOHOL: A must have for cold to stop the spread of illness causing germs.
- SAFE FOR KIDS: Great bulk hand sanitizer pack for parents and teachers. Pure natural ingredients are gentle enough for children’s sensitive skin, while still killing germs. Great to use at home or in your classroom where cold germs lurk.
- MOISTURIZING & GENTLE ON SENSITIVE SKIN: Pure natural ingredients deeply nourish skin. Free from the harshest synthetic chemicals used on other brands that irritate sensitive skin. Our nutrient:rich hand sanitizer formula includes aloe vera, vitamin E and jojoba oil to leave your skin germ:free and feeling silky smooth.
- COLD SEASON PROTECTION: A year:round must have that’s even more important during cold. Protect you and your family from the latest bug going around. Vital hygiene tool for teachers, gym enthusiasts, communal work areas, sales people and other jobs that put you in contact with the public.
- SCENT FREE w/ALOE VERA: ArtNaturals Hand Sanitizer 8 Fl Oz. bottles: Scent Free, infused with Alovera Gel, Jojoba Oil & Vitamin E. Convenient hand sanitizer dispenser bottles are also great for personal use. Keeping a bottle handy in your home, office, car and bag is a great preventative measure during cold season.
How to Use Hand Sanitizer
You should apply the hand sanitizer to the palm of one hand, then rub the product all over the surfaces of your hands until your hands are dry.
Hand sanitizers are not as effective when your hands are covered with dirt and grime. If your hands are dirty, then you should wash with soap and water, dry your hands, then apply hand sanitizer.
How Do Hand Sanitizers Work?The vast majority of hand sanitizers use alcohol to kill germs. Hand sanitizers use different types of alcohol, including ethanol (the same type of alcohol in wine, beer, and liquor) or isopropanol (the stuff found in rubbing alcohol).
Alcohol is the reason why hand sanitizers kill germs. Alcohol dissolves the outer coating of viruses and bacteria, which ultimately kills the bacteria.
The average hand sanitizer contains 60 to 70% alcohol content.
Most hand sanitizers contain 5 to 10 added ingredients beyond alcohol, including scents, gel-like thickeners, vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts, botanicals, essential oils, and more.
Some manufacturers actually add unpleasant-smelling ingredients to the formula to deter customers from taking a sip of the dangerous substance. It’s designed for your skin – not your mouth.
Most hand sanitizers specifically claim to kill 99.99% of germs. This claim is mostly made for marketing and legal reasons: in lab conditions, hand sanitizers often completely eradicate certain strains of bacteria. However, even the best hand sanitizers will not kill 100% of the bacteria found on your hands, which is why hand sanitizer companies make that claim.
You may have heard people worrying about hand sanitizers creating “super germs”. Do hand sanitizers really eliminate 99.99% of germs, leaving the strongest 0.01% of germs behind to repopulate?
Nope. Bacteria do not develop stronger proteins or membranes in response to being exposed to hand sanitizer.
However, there is some research that suggests a coming threat of microbial resistance, when certain bacteria no longer respond to drugs and have developed a tolerance to alcohol. It’s not totally clear how realistic this threat is, however, so you should be okay to use hand sanitizer today.
There are some drawbacks of hand sanitizer. The main drawback is that it won’t cleanse your hands of dirt and other physical contaminants. Most hand sanitizers are specifically designed to kill germs – not slough away dirt. For that, you need soap and water.
Scientific Evidence for Hand Sanitizer: Does Hand Sanitizer Actually Work?Hand sanitizer seems to work as advertised to kill germs and reduce the spread of bacteria. Some hand sanitizer brands do a better job than others, but most hand sanitizers are backed by real science.
This study published in 2018 in Pediatrics, for example, found that children were less likely to get sick and miss daycare when they used hand sanitizer compared to water and soap to wash their hands.
The CDC recommends that your hand sanitizer contain at least 60% to 95% alcohol to be effective. Alcohol inactivates viruses. There are non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers, although they do not kill nearly the same percentage of germs as alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
You might assume that hand sanitizers work best when they have 90% or 100% alcohol content. However, that’s not the case: alcohol diluted with a little bit of water has better penetration than pure alcohol. That means a 70% or 90% alcohol formula may kill germs more effectively than a 100% alcohol formula.
We mentioned one drawback of hand sanitizers above: they don’t remove dirt and grime from your hands, which could pose its own risks. As the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains, hand sanitizers also don’t work as well when your hands are covered in dirt. Ideally, you’ll wash your hands with soap and water first, then wash them with hand sanitizer second.
A combination of soap and water and hand sanitizer (applied separately) is ideal for another reason: hand sanitizer doesn’t kill every microbe. However, soap and water can wash microbes away from your hands, reducing the risk of getting sick.
Another drawback with hand sanitizers is that they may not remove harmful chemicals, including pesticides and heavy metals, from your hands. In fact, as reported by the CDC in this study, people who reported using hand sanitizer to clean their hands had increased levels of pesticides in their bodies.
Hand Sanitizer Recall - FDA Notice:
Bottom LineHand sanitizers are a proven way to clean germs from your hands. They’re portable and effective at killing 99.99% of germs.
In times of pandemic, hand sanitizers become more important than ever. Buy one of the hand sanitizers listed above today to reduce the spread of potentially harmful bacteria.