Alcohol Free vs. Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer |

Alcohol Free vs. Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer: Knowing The Difference

For years we’ve lived on tiny, heavily scented, and sometimes very sparkly hand sanitizers that hook onto our backpacks, belt loops, and handbags. Sometimes non-alcohol based ones for the kids to keep their hands from drying out. Or sometimes none at all because good bacteria and germs help to build up our immune systems. 

After all, any sanitizer is better than no sanitizer right? We never really gave much thought to things like:

The contents. What ingredients are actually in these hand sanitizers anyhow?

The effectiveness. Are these smell-good hand sanitizers actually helping kill germs, or just making our hands smell nice.

The value. Are these tiny, ounce sized hand sanitizers worth the money, or are we being sold on hype?

The safety. What are we actually putting on our hands? Is this stuff good for us?  

With the rise of the coronavirus disease worldwide, we’ve taken a step back to really examine the products we use to clean, sanitize and disinfect our homes (and hands). We’ve become our own healthcare advocates, pouring over data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If a product doesn’t fall within CDC and WHO guidelines to be considered effective and safe, we toss it.  

 To avoid buyer’s remorse (or worse), let’s dissect the differences between alcohol free and alcohol based hand sanitizers.

What is Hand Sanitizer and What Are the Benefits?

The best way to keep your hands clean and germ free is by the use of good, old fashioned hand washing. Nothing beats washing your hands with soap and water when it comes to removing germs, even if you aren’t using antibacterial soap. In fact, according to the FDA, there’s no proof that antibacterial hand wash is more effective in keeping various types of germs at bay compared to plain hand soap.  

The truth is, sometimes we aren’t going to be able to wash our hands when we really need to.  

Whether you’re outdoors away from a restroom or simply stuck in the car, you may not have the luxury of a sink. For these times, a great hand hygiene solution is using a hand sanitizer.  

If you’re not familiar with hand sanitizer, (don’t worry your secret’s safe with us) here’s what you can expect.

Hand sanitizer is a liquid or gel that is rubbed onto your hands to decrease the bacteria population without the use of water. Hand sanitizing is incredibly beneficial, and has been around in various formulations since the 1960’s. 

You’ll find the most benefit by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. There’s simply no proof that any other ingredient is effective in reducing and killing bacteria and germs. However, not just any alcohol based hand sanitizer will work.  

For an alcohol based hand sanitizer to work, it must contain at least:

60% isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol/ethanol for effectiveness on skin; or

70% isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol/ethanol for effectiveness on non-porous surfaces.  

Essentially, this means even if you see alcohol listed as an active ingredient on your hand sanitizer bottle, it has to contain a certain amount per volume to be effective.  

Benefits to Using Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer?

Convenience. No matter where you are, a bottle of hand sanitizer is all you need to create clean hands on the go. You don’t need water or a sink. If you’re using a hand sanitizer spray, you can simply spray the solution on your hands and rub them together until dry. Hand sanitizers are available in sizes that are perfect for stowing in a purse, backpack, pocket, desk drawer, or glove box. If you’re a hand sanitizer junkie, you’ve probably got one stowed in several (if not all of these places).  

Effectiveness. Hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% isopropyl or ethyl/ethanol alcohol by volume are effective at eliminating 99.9% of germs, bacteria, and spores on your hands, which makes hand sanitizer an integral part of your total personal hygiene routine, especially during peak cold and flu seasons.  

Ease of use. Hand sanitizers couldn’t be easier to use. Simply spray on your hands, and rub together until your hands are dry. Using them is simple enough for young children, and a hand sanitizer like ours is bottled in a dispenser that makes them virtually mess-free, so you don’t have to worry about spills.  

Safety. Harmful ingredients like wood alcohols like methanol should be avoided, and it’s always important to check the label of your sanitizer to ensure the ingredients are safe and approved by the WHO and/or the CDC.

All hand sanitizers are not created equal. Some hand sanitizers contain ingredients that aren’t needed, some contain ingredients that aren’t effective, and some contain ingredients that are just plain harmful to your health. More ingredients doesn’t necessarily equal better.

What is All Natural or Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizer?

We get it. No one likes “chemicals.” The truth is, many chemicals are not harmful to us, in fact, they are helpful.

In some situations, chemical-free can cause more harm than good. For instance, if we refer back to those tiny little ounce-size, sweet-smelling hand sanitizers, the label probably lists a bunch of ingredients (chemicals) we can’t even begin to pronounce.  

But opting for a non-alcohol hand sanitizer is no safer than applying a moisturizer to our hands. It might leave our hands smelling nice and soft, especially with ingredients like vitamin E and aloe vera gel, but it won’t decrease the levels of bacteria on our skin.

Surprisingly, the FDA does not regulate the term “natural”. As such, this term can be and is used broadly and liberally to various health products. some of the most toxic substances can pass with a label of “natural.” Be aware, “natural” is more of a marketing term than a measurement of quality ingredients.

What is the Difference?

When COVID-19 hit at home, we noticed some pretty bad things (aside from the pandemic) happening.

Consumer hoarding. When people are faced with an emergency and little information or instruction as to whether or not the supply chain will be able to handle the demand, they panic. In March and April, consumers began scooping up as much hand sanitizer as possible, leaving the shelves empty for the next person.  

When the supply chain began to crumble, manufacturers had to make decisions to send necessary disinfectant supplies (like hand sanitizer) to areas hit hardest and to medical care facilities, meaning we still weren’t seeing it on store shelves.

Price gouging. If you could find hand sanitizer in March or April, chances are it was priced much higher than it normally was. In fact, some popular online merchants shut down individual sellers who were hiking up prices on hand sanitizer.  

The excessive price of hand sanitizer put it out of reach for many.  

We knew that we couldn’t sustain the price gouging and hoarding for long, so we developed a way to supply consumers with affordable, effective, and reliable hand sanitizer in a manner that doesn’t allow for either practice.  

If you’re in the market for some great hand sanitizer spray, has you covered with non-sticky, multi-purpose, broad-spectrum antimicrobial formula that’s both simple and effective.  

With, you get the hand sanitizer you need every month with our convenient subscription option. Afraid of commitment? We also offer a single-purchase option. 

Our hand sanitizer is formulated with 80% isopropyl alcohol, which makes it effective on both hands and non-porous surfaces. We also only use a few ingredients in the preparation of our hand sanitizer spray, and you can read them very easily. We are no gimmicks, no nonsense, just great, effective hand sanitizer available for all.



Photo by mrjn Photography

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published