Yes, they’re useful when there are no washing facilities available, for instance at shop entrances, when you’re out and about.
Yes, sanitisers with at least 60 percent ethanol act similiar to soap in destabilizing lipid membranes, but they cannot easily remove microorganisms from the skin.
This is where water is useful – to flush away microorganisms.
So I see 6 issues with sanitizers:
- Hand sanitizers need to contain at least 60 percent ethanol. The official WHO recipe uses 80% ethanol , 1.45% glycerol and 0.125% hydrogen peroxide.DIYers using pure Vodka would only have 40% ethanol content.This means that many crafted products are not doing the job the consumer expects.
- Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy. (Vs soap that cleans the dirt and grime away AND zaps viruses)
- You need to use a large volume of hand sanitizer to reach all the nooks and crannies of your hands. But soap is better because you only need a fairly small amount of soapy water, which, with rubbing, covers your entire hand easily.
- Sanitisers are highly flammable. Which creates a danger in their storage and transport. Soap doesn’t explode.
- Methanol poisoning. Because ethanol is expensive and its sale is restricted, unethical suppliers use toxic methanol instead.
- Alcohol kills your microbiome. Hand sanitizers are extremely harsh on your hands, even if you don’t have eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis.
Sanitisers with toxic methanol
Methanol (wood alcohol) can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and lead to:
- blurred vision,
- permanent blindness,
- permanent damage to the nervous system or
If you’ve been exposed to methanol-based hand sanitizer it’s critical to seek immediate treatment to reverse the toxic effects of methanol poisoning.
Avoid these hand sanitizers that may contain toxic methanol
Despite the fact the FDA has emphasized that methanol (wood alcohol) is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers, over 101 products have been listed. (As at 3 August 2020)
This is a list from the FDA’s website in July 2020. Do not buy or use these:
- 4E Global’s Blumen Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer with 70% Alcohol
- 4E Global’s Blumen Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear Ethyl Alcohol 70%
- 4E Global’s BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear
- 4E Global’s KLAR AND DANVER Instant Hand Sanitizer (labeled with Greenbrier International Inc.)
- 4E Global’s MODESA Instant Hand Sanitizer Moisturizers and Vitamin E
- 4E Global’s BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer
- 4E Global’s BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe
- 4E Global’s BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
- 4E Global’s BLUMEN Clear LEAR Advanced Hand Sanitizer
- 4E Global’s BLUEMEN Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer
- 4E Global’s The Honeykeeper Hand Sanitizer
- 4E Global’s BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer Clear
- 4E Global’s BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer
- 4E Global’s BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe
- 4E Global’s BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
- 4E Global’s BLUMEN Aloe Advanced Hand Sanitizer, with 70 Alcohol
- 4E Global’s Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Lavender, with 70% alcohol
- 4E Global’s Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe, with 70% alcohol
- 4E Global’s Blumen Antibacterial Fresh Citrus Hand Sanitizer
- 4E Global’s Blumen Hand Sanitizer Fresh Citrus
- 4E Global’s KLAR and DANVER INSTANT HAND SANTIZER
- 4E Global’s Hello Kitty by Sanrio Hand Sanitizer
- 4E Global’s Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Vitamin E and Aloe)
- 4E Global’s Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Aloe and Moisturizers)
- 4E Global’s Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Vitamin E and Aloe
- 4E Global’s Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe and Moisturizers
- 4E Global’s BLUMEN Instant Hand Sanitizer Fragrance Free
- 4E Global’s BLUMEN Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe Vera
- 4E Global’s Assured Aloe
- AAA Cosmetica’s bio aaa Advance Hand Sanitizer
- AAA Cosmetica’s LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 4 oz
- AAA Cosmetica’s LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 16 oz
- AAA Cosmetica’s QualitaMed Hand Sanitizer
- DDI Multinacional’s Earths Amenities Instant Unscented Hand Sanitizer with Aloe Vera Advanced
- DDI Multinacional’s Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare
- DDI Multinacional’s Vidanos Easy Cleaning Rentals Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare
- Eskbiochem’s All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
- Eskbiochem’s Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
- Eskbiochem’s Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer
- Eskbiochem’s The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer
- Eskbiochem’s CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
- Eskbiochem’s CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
- Eskbiochem’s CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
- Eskbiochem’s Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer
- Grupo Insoma’s Hand sanitizer Gel Unscented 70% Alcohol
- Limpo Quimicos’ Andy’s Best
- Limpo Quimicos’ Andy’s
- Limpo Quimicos’ Gelclor
- Limpo Quimicos’ NeoNatural
- Limpo Quimicos’ Plus Advanced
- Liqesa Exportacion or Liq-E-S.A.’s Optimus Lubricants Instant Hand Sanitizer
- Maquiladora Miniara’s Shine and Clean Hand Sanitizer
- Maquiladora Miniara’s Selecto Hand Sanitizer
- Mystic International’s Mystic Shield Protection hand sanitizer
- Soluciones Cosmeticas’ Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel Fragrance Free
- Soluciones Cosmeticas’ Antiseptic Alcohol 70% Topical Solution hand sanitizer
- Soluciones Cosmeticas’ Hand sanitizer (labeled with Wet Look Janitorial and Gardening Corp.)
- Tropicosmeticos’ Britz Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 70%
- Yara Elena De La Garza Perez Nieto’s DAESI hand sanitizer
- Real Clean Distribuciones’s Born Basic Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer
- Real Clean Distribuciones’s Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer
- Real Clean Distribuciones’s Scent Theory – Keep It Clean – Pure Clean Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer
- Real Clean Distribuciones’s Cavalry
- Real Clean Distribuciones’s ENLIVEN Hand Sanitizing Gel
- Real Clean Distribuciones’s Lux Eoi Hand Sanitizing Gel
- Real Clean Distribuciones’s Keep It Clean
- Real Clean Distribuciones’s Hand Sanitizer
- MXL Comercial’s Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol (labeled with Resource Recovery & Trading LLC)
- MXL Comercial’s Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol Rinse Free Hand Rub (labeled with Resource Recovery & Trading LLC)
And these are only the products made in North America. There’s going to be the same dodgy stuff going on right around the world.
What’s alarming to me is the greenwashing of product names with botanicals – Aloe, Lavender, Vitamin E, Agavespa Skincare, Moisturizing, Fragrance Free, there’s even a Hello Kitty variety targeting vulnerable children.
Those names lull consumers into a false sense of safety and naturalness.
Hand Sanitizer vs Soap and Water
What is best for skin?
The most effective, skin-friendly and affordable is soap. – this is why soap is better than hand sanitizer.
So, soap is the best, but always use alcohol-based sanitiser when soap is not handy or practical .
And no, antibacterial soaps are not more effective than regular soap and water for killing disease-causing germs.
What to avoid in natural soap:
Fragrances. Most hand soaps contain fragrances. ... Parabens. ... Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) ... Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) ... Methylisothiazolinone & Methylchloroisothiazolinone. ... Cocamidopropyl betaine. ... Triclosan.
The best soap for sensitive skin
Most soaps sold through supermarkets and pharmacies are not true soap but chemical concoctions of synthetic detergents compressed into a bar shape.
These do little for you other than clean away dirt.
The very best soap for keeping your hands in good condition, would be old-fashioned cold-process soap, which is what artisanal soap makers make.
Cold-process soap is gentler on the hands as it retains the hydrating skin-loving glycerine.
It’s made with slightly acid plant oils that saponify into soap when lye is added.
Traditional soaps are naturally palm-oil free as they were made with lard, tallow, goose or duck, whatever the family was eating. The drippings were gathered and sieved to remove bits. So these are automatically rain-forest friendly and use locally available resources so are part of sustainable living and low food miles.
These traditional soaps are gentle on the skin, so suitable for those with dry or sensitive skin. In particular soaps made with goose or duck fat provide a creamy lather. (If you’re curious if the soaps smell bad. No. You can use refined or sieved animal fat. You can always add some essential oils if you are concerned.)
Goat’s Milk Soaps
My favourite soap maker in the US Borden Acres uses fresh goats’ milk in their luxurious soaps.
Goats milk makes the soap extra mild and nurturing for your skin.
Goats milk contains caprylic acid, selenium, fatty acids and immune enhancing vitamin A. All skin-food components that you wont find in regular soap.
If you suffer from any skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin, then look out for goats milk soap.
Goat milk soap is a gentle creamy cleanser rich in fatty acids that can help support a healthy skin barrier to keep skin nourished and moisturized.
The lactic acid (an AHA) gently exfoliates and adds a moistening component.
In low doses lactic acid is moisturising. (That’s why it’s often included in toners or face creams for mature or menopausal women ). Lactic acid may also benefit skin prone to acne.
Use goats milk soap to clean your hands and body.
and if you’re looking for a vegan soap, there are many small makers using the cold-process method.
What makes soap Vegan friendly?
If you're a vegan you'll avoid:
- Beeswax, honey and propolis
- All forms of milks - goat's milk or powder, camel, sheep, donkey etc .
- Lard, tallow and any animal fat eg duck, goose, crocodile, emu etc
What makes a soap palm- oil free?
For the rain-forest friendly recipes you need to avoid:
- palm fruit or oil, red palm oil - anything from the Elaeis Guineensis plant
- Stearate and Sodium Stearate
- Stearic acid
- Vegetable fat/oil (this hides the source - palm!)
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS),
- Sodium lauryl lactylate/sulphate
- Sodium laureth sulfate
- Palmityl alcohol, Octyl palmitate
- Sodium Palmate
- Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS)
- Cocamidopropyl Betaine
- Glycerin and Glycerine
- Lauric acid
- Sodium Cocate,
- Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate, ,
- Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate,
- Sodium Palm Kernelate,
- Big brands!
Can Vegan soap be made without palm oil?
Yes! A vegan soap without palm oil often contains coconut, Shea butter, cocoa butter and Brazilian babassu that provide firmness. In the mix might be olive, almond or hazelnut. Salt and sodium lactate can be added to firm up the soap.
Does Dove soap contain palm oil?
Unfortunately it does. Most big brand soaps and detergents sold in supermarkets contain palm oil so Dove is not an exception.