Safer Hand Sanitisers – A Hello Charlie Cheat Sheet

Safer Natural Hand Sanitisers - A Hello Charlie Cheat Sheet

Safer Natural Hand Sanitisers - A Hello Charlie Cheat Sheet

I’m a soap and water kind of girl, not a hand sanitiser girl.  Nothing kills germs like soap and water. There are times, however, that you need to get your hands clean and there’s no soap and water available, so a hand sanitiser is the next best thing. But after using one in Bali last year that made all the skin on my hands peel off, I thought it was time to get down and dirty and sort out some safer hand sanitisers.

Hand sanitisers are harsh on your skin. They have to be to kill bacteria. Alcohol, while it’s great at killing bacteria, is also great at enhancing skin absorption. What this means is that whatever other ingredients are in your hand sanitiser are going to be more easily absorbed into your skin. And while there are alcohol free hand sanitisers with natural ingredients, there are some doubts about whether they work as well as alcohol based hand sanitisers at killing germs.

This is why it’s so important to use a good hand sanitiser (choose one with moisturising ingredients to offset the drying effects of the alcohol), and to stick with soap and water unless there’s really no alternative.

Here’s our top picks for safer hand sanitisers:

  1. Squeakie Natural Hand Sanitiser (because the ingredients are good, plus it complies with WHO and CDC guidelines, so it does actually work!)
  2. After Touch Hand Sanitiser (alcohol free)
  3. Bentley Organic Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer
  4. Dr Bronner’s Hand Sanitizing Spray
  5. EO Hand Sanitizers (Gel and Sprays)
  6. Melrose Organic Hand Sanitiser

And here’s our down and dirty detailed analysis of hand sanitisers:

After Touch Hand Sanitiser/AntibacterialName: After Touch Hand Sanitiser/Antibacterial
Ingredients: Aqua, Citrus Aurantium Amara Extract, Olea Europaea Leaf Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis, Caprylic Acid, Glycerin, Betain, Decyl glucoside
EWG Skin Deep Rating: not available, but we estimate around a 2
Cost: 50mL for $4.50
Comments: This looks pretty good. It’s alcohol free, and according to their website, kills 99.9% of harmful bacteria. Their website also says it’s chemical free, which is clearly nonsense, but the ingredients do look okay. Nothing alarming. Be aware, though, that the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) says that alcohol free sanitisers may not work as well as those with alcohol.

 

Name: Bentley Organic Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer with Organic Aloe Vera and LemonBentley Organic, Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer with Organic Aloe Vera and Lemon
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Lauryl Betaine, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice Powder*, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Extract, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate
* Certified Organically Grown Ingredient
EWG Skin Deep Rating: not available but we estimate around a 2
Cost: 50 ml for $5.23
Comments: This looks pretty good as well. Another alcohol free choice and nothing too alarming in this one, either.

 

NaDettol Instant Hand Sanitiser me: Dettol Instant Hand Sanitiser
Ingredients: Alcohol Denat, Water, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tetrahydroxypropyl Ethylenediamine, Aloe Barbadensis Gel, Fragrance, Limonene, CI19140, CI42090
EWG Skin Deep Rating: not available, but we estimate it around a 6
Cost: 200ml for $5.69
Comments: Hmm. There are contamination concerns with the PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, there’s propylene glycol, there’s fragrance and limonene, and there’s FD&C colours (CI19140, CI42090). Not much to recommend this.

 

Dr. Bronners Fair Trade & Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizing SprayName: Dr. Bronner’s Fair Trade & Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizing Spray
Ingredients: Organic Ethanol (62%)*, Water, Organic Glycerin, Organic Lavender Oil
* Certified Fair Trade Ingredient
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 2 (Low Hazard)
Cost: 59ml for $6.95
Comments: This is a good, alcohol based product. There’s glycerin added to combat the drying effects of the alcohol, and the lavender is soothing and antibacterial.

 

Ego Aqium Hand Sanitiser Name: Ego Aqium Hand Sanitiser
Ingredients: Alcohol, Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Acrylates /C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Parfum, Limonene, Butylphenyl Methylpropional
EWG Skin Deep Rating: not available, but we estimate it around a 4
Cost: 70mL for $2.99
Comments: There’s perfume and limonene, the Aminomethyl Propanol is considered an irritant, and the butylphenyl methylpropional is a fragrance compound that’s also considered an irritant. That’s enough for me to avoid it.

 

EnviroCare ready2go Foam Hand SanitiserName: EnviroCare ready2go Foam Hand Sanitiser (unscented)
Ingredients: Purified water, biodegradable surfactant (plant based), citrus pulp extract, citric acid, lactic acid, glycerine (plant)
EWG Skin Deep Rating: N/A
Cost: 50ml for $6.90
Comments: Another alcohol free sanitiser, which also looks pretty good. The Mandarin version has mandarin oil in it – delicious. However, I’m not impressed with the manufacturer of this one, who won’t disclose what the ‘biodegradable surfactant’ is. ‘Surfactant’ isn’t an ingredient, it’s a group of chemicals. As this is a skincare product, the manufacturer needs to disclose all the ingredients, but say that they won’t due to intellectual property concerns. I’m not saying not to use this (from what I can see, I like it and we’re stocking this at Hello Charlie), but the manufacturer is doing the wrong thing here, and they need to disclose. I’ll keep you updated on this one.

 

EO Hand Sanitizer Gel LavenderName: EO Hand Sanitizer Gel Lavender
Ingredients: Ethanol, Purified Water, Vegetable Glycerin, EO Essential Oil Blend [Organic Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil], Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Carbomer, Dimethicone, Aminomethyl Propanol
EWG Skin Deep Rating: not available for this product, but we estimate a 2 (based on their other sanitiser sprays on EWG with similar ingredients)
Cost: 60ml for $8.95 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: This is an alcohol based gel, with added glycerin and jojoba oil to make it less drying on the hands. The ingredients are good, and it kills 99.9% of germs.

 

EO Hand Sanitizer Spray Organic LavenderName: EO Hand Sanitizer Spray Organic Lavender
Ingredients: Organic Ethanol, Purified Water, Organic Lavendula Angustifolia (Lavender) Essential Oil, Organic Echinacea Angustifolia Leaf Extract, Vegetable Glycerin, Tocopherol
EWG Skin Deep Rating: not available for this product, but we estimate a 2 (based on their other sanitiser sprays on EWG with similar ingredients)
Cost: 60ml for $7.95 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: Another alcohol based one from EO, this time a spray. Again, the ingredients are good, and it kills 99.9% of germs.

 

Hands First Alcohol Free Hand Sanitiser Name: Hands First Alcohol Free Hand Sanitiser
Ingredients: Benzalkonium Chloride, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Aloe Vera
EWG Skin Deep Rating: not available, but we estimate it as a 4
Cost: 50ml for $3.50
Comments: The Benzalkonium Chloride in this would make me avoid it. Sure, it’ll kill germs, but it’s a skin toxicant, and allergen and particularly bad for people with eczema and asthma. It’s also one of the disinfectant chemicals that’s been linked to the rise of superbugs. There are definitely better choices.

 

Kenkay No Rinse Hand SanitiserName: Kenkay No Rinse Hand Sanitiser
Ingredients: Alcolec BS, Cellulose, Glycerin, Mannan, Water – Purified (not a full ingredients list)
EWG Skin Deep Rating: N/A
Cost: 100mL for $3.95
Comments: It’s hard to tell whether this is any good or not. As it’s got ‘bursting beads of aloe vera and vitamin e’, and there’s no mention of this on the ingredients list, I can tell that we don’t have all the ingredients. So I can’t make a judgement until we know.

 

Melrose Organic Hand SanitiserName: Melrose Organic Hand Sanitiser
Ingredients: Organic Ethanol (62%), Organic Glycerin, Purified Water, Organic Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil
EWG Skin Deep Rating: N/A but we estimate around a 2
Cost: 50ml for $5.95 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: Another good alcohol based sanitiser, with glycerin to help offset the drying effects of the alcohol. Lemon myrtle oil is a good antibacterial oil, too.

 

Natralus NatraSan Hand Sanitiser Aloe Vera and CucumberName: Natralus NatraSan Hand Sanitiser Aloe Vera and Cucumber
Ingredients: Purified Water, Alcohol (Derived from Sugar Cane), Vegetable Glycerine, Kakadu Plum Extract, Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5), Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Polysorbate 20, Acrylic Polymer, Benzalkonium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, PHMB, Potassium Sorbate, Chloroacetamide, Vanilla Extract, Tea Tree Extract, Fragrance.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: N/A but we estimate it at a 5
Cost: 28ml for $4.80
Comments: Eek! I have no idea how this one slipped under my radar, but until recently we were selling this at Hello Charlie. As soon as I checked the ingredients list, I dumped it. Fragrance, Chloroacetamide, Benzalkonium Chloride, what was I thinking? Avoid.

 

Natures Sunshine Silver Shield Skin and Hand GelName: Nature’s Sunshine Silver Shield Skin and Hand Gel
Ingredients: Silver Shield® Solution (colloidal silver and purified water 98.5%) 24ppm silver with TEA and carmbomers
EWG Skin Deep Rating: N/A
Cost: 85g for $11.19
Comments:  The TEA (Triethanolamine) in this is a skin sensitiser and an irritant, so I’d avoid this product because of that. However, I’m even more concerned when I read the claims on their website about what a miracle colloidal silver is. I’d give it a miss.

 

Perfect Potion Natural Hand SanitiserName: Perfect Potion Natural Hand Sanitiser
Ingredients: alcohol (plant derived ethanol), aqua (water), glycerin, vegetable (derived from Palm oil) oil, dehydroxanthan gum, citrus limon (lemon) certified organic, Limonene, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) certified organic, linalool, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil
EWG Skin Deep Rating: N/A
Cost: 50ml for $8.95
Comments: There’s nothing too scary in this. The only thing is the palm oil. There’s nothing on Perfect Potion’s website about whether their palm oil is sustainable. If this is an issue for you, this may not be a product you’d choose to use. There’s also lemon oil in this, and while it’s organic, it can still be irritating for some people.

 

Simplyclean Lemon Myrtle Hand SanitiserName: Simplyclean Lemon Myrtle Hand Sanitiser
Ingredients: Ethanol (plant derived alcohol), water, carbomer (thickener), glycerin (vegetable based skin moisturiser), aminomethyl propanol (ensures correct pH for perfect skin compatibility, less than 5%), pure Australian lemon myrtle oil, green colour (food grade)
EWG Skin Deep Rating: not available on EWG, but we estimate it as a 3
Cost: 250 ml for $8.50
Comments: The aminomethyl propanol is a skin irritant, and the green colouring is just not necessary. Food grade or not, we don’t know what’s in it, and I choose not to use products with unnecessary ingredients.

 

Soap2go Antibacterial GelName: Soap2go Antibacterial Gel
Ingredients: Alcohol, Water, Xanthan Gum, Glycerine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Allantoin, Ocean Fragrance, Tocopherol, Cellulose, Lactose, Jojoba Esters, CI 42090
EWG Skin Deep Rating: N/A but we estimate it at a 4
Cost: 60mL for $3.00
Comments: It’s the fragrance and the colour (CI 42090) in this that would make me avoid it. Otherwise there’s nothing else scary, but as fragrance is one of the top ‘must avoids’, that make this product an ‘avoid’.

 

Squeakie Natural Hand Sanitiser Name: Squeakie Natural Hand Sanitiser
Ingredients: pure milk whey alcohol, purified water, bladderwrack extract, rosehip oil, aloe vera, omega 9, lime essential oil, palmarosa essential oil, cellulose gum, vegetable glycerine
EWG Skin Deep Rating: N/A but we estimate it at a 2
Cost: 75ml for $8.95 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: Another excellent alcohol based sanitiser – in fact it’s our favourite. The lime oil in this is steam distilled from the fruit so that it’s not an irritant, rather than from the peel which can be. As an aside, the manufacturer tells me that Squeakie is Australia’s only natural hand sanitiser that meets WHO and CDC (Centre for Disease Control) guidelines.

 

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