If by now you don’t know the importance of having a good stock of hand sanitizers, you must have been living on the moon. Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, worldwide sales of hand sanitization products have soared. In 2020 in the United States, the hand sanitization sector generated $111 million, compared to almost $70 million in 2019. As early as April 2020, market reports were being issued projecting an ongoing rise of up to 22.6% in the market value of these products between 2020 and 2027.
Why Use Hand Sanitizers?
The soaring popularity of these products sometimes obscures their genuine value. The CDC’s current advice is that “ if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.” Alcohol-based hand sanitizers work by destroying either the cell membranes of microbes or the protective outer coatings of viral particles. They are an ideal product to keep on hand in settings where soap and water handwashing is impractical (for instance, at the entrance to shops and cafes).
A September 2020 study in the American Journal of Infection Control concluded that “By extrapolating effectiveness of hand sanitizers on viruses of similar structure to SARS-CoV-2, this virus should be effectively inactivated with current hand hygiene products, though future research should attempt to determine this directly.” A WHO hygiene leaflet states “• Alcohol-based hand rub products should contain at least 60% alcohol, should be certified and where supplies are limited or cost prohibitive can be made locally by carefully following WHO guidelines.” CDC guidance echoes the assertion that appropriate hand sanitizers should contain at least 60% alcohol, and adds that they should be FDA-approved.
Are Alcohol-Free Products Safe?
It is worth noting that people with a strong aversion to rubbing alcohol, or those that may not feel able to use alcohol-based products due to religious or cultural constraints, may have to find more traditional soap and water alternatives. As a WHO publication notes, “The Islamic tradition poses the toughest challenge to alcohol use. […] Alcohol is clearly designated as haram (forbidden) in Islam because it is a substance leading to sukur, or intoxication leading to an altered state of mind.”
That said, some countries, including Saudi Arabia, have issued no fatwas against medicinal alcohol use so long as it is not ingested. It is important to bear the above in mind when encountering resistance to alcohol-based sanitizers. One final suggestion – the FDA has approved hand sanitizers containing the active ingredient Benzalkonium chloride as a slightly less-effective but alcohol-free alternative.
What to Look for in a Hand Santizer?
There are several key must-haves in any product designed for effective hand sanitization. In summary, these are:
- Easy availability or refill availability.
- Minimum 60% alcohol content, either ethyl or isopropyl alcohol. Though not proven as effective, Benzalkonium chloride is an acceptable alcohol-free alternative.
- Scent-free (to make them maximally inoffensive to as many users as possible)
- Dispensing at least 3ml per squirt, ideally.
- American-made – as much to ensure a reliable supply chain as to support homegrown businesses.
Bearing all of the above mind, let’s look at some of the top hand sanitizers for sale which fulfil these requirements.
The Best Hand Sanitizers on the Market
Best for Industrial Wholesale
Corechem will supply you with an FDA-approved American-created hand sanitizer in industrial quantities. They have an ethanol-based product which contains 80% alcohol, which is certainly strong enough to wipe-out those viruses. Their products are scent-free and can be obtained in liquid, gel, and foam formulations.
Since they can supply in massive containers if you want, it’s probably best to request a sample or speak to an advisor before purchasing, to ensure you get the best deal.
Best for Commercial Bulk-Buy
If you’re a small-business owner and you want to fill a shelf in the stockroom with sanitizer, so you never run out, there are a few popular brands to choose from. However, there’s one brand that stands out in the public consciousness and evokes trust and that is, of course, Purell. Gojo International may sound like a Japanese megacorporation but they are headquartered in Akron, Ohio and are America’s number one hand sanitizer brand.
Purell Advanced comes in a 354ml table-top pump bottle and contains 70% ethyl alcohol. It’s available in boxes of 12 or pallet-loads direct from the manufacturer.
Best Pocket Sanitizer
We’ll stick with the market leaders for their iconic pocket pack of Purell Advanced. At just 30ml, this is small enough to fit in any purse or inside pocket and it’s also available in a pump spray formulation too. You should be able to get this in your local 7-11 or drugstore.
Famously, Purell sold out at the start of the pandemic – unsurprising really when people were panic-buying and hoarding and multipacks were being sold on Amazon for up to $100. Fortunately, Gojo has ramped up production in the last year. By May 2020 it had opened up two new production facilities, also in Ohio, so they should have plenty of hand sanitizer stock.
Best Alcohol-Free Product
Bear in mind the following CDC guidance before committing to an alcohol-free sanitizer: “Benzalkonium chloride, along with both ethanol and isopropanol, is deemed eligible by FDA for use in the formulation of healthcare personnel hand rubs. However, available evidence indicates benzalkonium chloride has less reliable activity against certain bacteria and viruses than either of the alcohols.”
This Babyganics benzalkonium formulation is the 8th best-selling hand sanitizser on Amazon and is sold as baby-friendly and hypo-allergenic. This fast-growing company operates out of Westbury, New York and supplies a full range or organic and infant-friendly hygiene products.
Best Alcohol Wipes
There are a lot of very similar-looking disposable sanitizing wipes on the market and a lot of them are alcohol-free and therefore less effective against COVID-19.
The wipes made by Honest contain a 65% alcohol formulation as well as a hint of aloe to soften the skin. They ship from their Californian base in packs of up to 450 wipes.