BY: Carol Green

August 10, 2020

hands pumping hand sanitizer out of bottle

Ever since COVID-19 hit our shores, hand sanitizer stations are everywhere, at every turn we are slathering on a product to kill viruses and elevate our sense of safety.

The unprecedented run on hand sanitizer meant empty shelves and a simple product becoming a hot commodity. With the demand on hand sanitizers, many new brands popped up from unregulated sources, containing methanol, a wood burning alcohol.

According to the FDA, methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizer and is highly poisonous. Exposure may result in nausea, vomiting, blurred vision or even permanent neurological damage or death.

For a full list of brands containing methanol to avoid, here is the link to the FDA site.

Woman in pink shirt using bottle of hand sanitizer

The Microbiome in Danger

So you think avoiding methanol is the only danger with hand sanitizer?

Not so fast!

Most commercially made hand sanitizers are made of a plethora of toxic ingredients which could be doing harm to the microbiome , which is the millions of bacteria residing on our skin and in the digestive system.

Invisible to the human eye, our very existence and well being is determined by the balance and health of our bacterial colonies, and the microbiome is easily wiped out by excessive use of hand sanitizers, and may in fact, produce stronger, drug resistant harmful bacteria.

Toxic Hand Sanitizer Ingredients

These are the ingredients in hand sanitizers to be aware of:

Alcohol: The base of most commercially available hand sanitizers is some type of alcohol, usually a base of 60% to 80% ethyl alcohol (ethanol) or isopropyl alcohol.

Triclosan: The FDA has re-evaluated their stance on triclosan, a hormone disrupting chemical, previously commonly found in hand sanitizer and personal care products such as toothpaste.

Fragrances and Phthalates : These two usually go hand in hand, phthalates are a group of chemicals that help artificial fragrances perform effectively. Multiple studies show these as toxic allergens and hormone disruptors with carcinogenic properties.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate : These products are emulsifiers responsible for the foam in soaps, with detrimental side effects.

Hand raised in the air with blue sky behind it

Better options

While many of these sanitizers still contain ethyl alcohol in their formulas, they are free of harmful triclosan, fragrances, phthalates and sodium lauryl sulfate.

Here’s a few of my top picks!

Babyganics alcohol free foaming hand sanitizer fragrance free

EO hand sanitizer gel

Brittanies thyme organic hand sanitizer

Everyone Sanitizer Wipes

EWG Hand Sanitizer Category

Best option!

Hand sanitizer might be the best option in certain settings, it turns out good old soap and water is really the way to go!

According to the FDA  ‘Soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers at removing certain kinds of germs, like Cryptosporidiumnorovirus, and Clostridium difficile1

So go easy on the hand sanitizer, choose a healthier option, and wash your hands when possible!

Stay Healthy!

Chef Carol

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read full privacy policy here.

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