The best hand sanitizer spray
The use of hand sanitizers and sanitizing products has become more common since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also brought up questions about which products are best in protecting against germs and viruses. Hand sanitizing sprays have proved to be an effective and convenient option for sanitizing on the go, but there are important things to consider before choosing one.
If you don’t like traditional hand sanitizers that dry out your skin and smell strongly of alcohol, the Touchland Powermist is a good, innovative hand sanitizer that contains a high concentration of active hydrating ingredients to protect you and your skin.
What to know before you buy a hand sanitizer spray
Sprays vs. gels vs. foams
A hand sanitizing spray has unique benefits over traditional gels or foams. Sprays are typically formulated without the thickening agents found in gels. Instead, sprays use water with glycerin or some other kind of moisturizer to deliver the active ingredients to the skin. This means that sprays will take significantly less time to dry and kill bacteria.
This absence of a thickener also helps to prevent any unpleasant sticky residue that is common with gel sanitizers. Sprays can also be a more moisturizing option for hands that get dry easily and better for sanitizing on the go since it's less likely that you will have to fiddle with caps or squeeze bottles.
According to CDC guidelines in order for a hand sanitizer to be effective against most germs, it needs to contain at least 60% of some form of alcohol as the active ingredient. There are many non-alcohol based sanitizers on the market that use ingredients like benzalkonium chloride. While these do have antiseptic qualities, they are not as effective in sanitizing and thus not recommended by the CDC.
Only two alcohols are recommended as suitable active ingredients: ethanol and isopropyl alcohol. Ethanol is derived from fermenting some kind of starch and can be most effective against viruses. Isopropyl alcohol comes from sulfuric acid propylene and is very effective in killing bacteria. Additionally, the higher the alcohol concentration, the better the sanitizer will be at breaking down the outer coating of germs and bacteria.
Something important to note is that the FDA warns against any hand sanitizing options that contain methanol, an alcohol derived from wood. This ingredient is toxic and can cause serious side effects.
How to use a sanitizing spray
Using a hand sanitizer should never replace washing your hands with antibacterial soap and water; however, when water and soap aren’t available, properly using a hand sanitizer can be an effective substitute.
First, spray enough sanitizer on your hands to cover all surfaces thoroughly and provide an even coating. Then rub your hands together for 20 seconds until your hands feel dry. Do not rinse or wipe off the sanitizer before it has a chance to dry completely, as this can reduce its efficacy.
Hand sanitizer does have a tendency to cause dryness and irritation of the skin, so it may be beneficial to use a hand lotion regularly after you apply a sanitizer.
Hand sanitizer spray features
Aside from the important active ingredient of alcohol, hand sanitizer sprays will often have inactive ingredients that act as a vehicle for active ones in addition to helping the skin. Some beneficial ones often used are:
- Aloe extract: Effective in reducing dermatitis and skin irritation.
- Glycerin: Moisturizes and softens skin.
- Vitamin E: Can help to nourish and protect skin.
- Hyaluronic acid: Helps skin to retain moisture.
Antimicrobial vs. antibacterial
There is some confusion surrounding these terms and a sanitizer’s capability of killing microbes or bacteria. Antibacterial products are more targeted towards protecting against and killing germs that cause sickness like E. coli and MRSA, whereas antimicrobial products not only kill bacteria, they also protect against some viruses, fungi and even parasites. There are many sanitizer sprays that contain both capabilities.
The smell of alcohol in hand sanitizers can be very overpowering and unpleasant to many people. To help with this, many spray options are scented. Common scents you can find are citrus, lavender, mint, sandalwood, cucumber and vanilla.
Hand sanitizer spray cost
Bottle sizes and ounce amounts will obviously impact the cost of a hand sanitizer spray, but in general, prices will range from $2-$20. Sprays on the lower end of the price spectrum will typically have simpler formulations, while more luxury brands will contain different inactive ingredients beneficial for the skin.
Hand sanitizer spray FAQ
Can I use a hand sanitizer spray on surfaces?
A. Yes. If wipes or regular disinfectants are not available, you can use a hand sanitizing spray before touching things like public doorknobs or shopping carts. You should not however use regular disinfectants, spray or otherwise, on your hands or body.
Are sanitizer sprays less effective than traditional sanitizers?
A. As long as a hand sanitizing spray contains at least 60% concentration of alcohol and your hands are covered thoroughly with the product, sprays are just as effective as a gel sanitizer.
Which hand sanitizer spray should I get?
Best of the best hand sanitizer spray
Our take: A spray that is a 70% ethyl alcohol sanitizer with an innovative and sleek design. Offered in elevated fragrance choices and formulated with many beneficial skincare ingredients makes it a good option for dry and sensitive skin.
What we like: The micro-fine mist makes application effective and convenient and there’s no sticky residue left behind after use. Its fermented radish root provides broad-spectrum antimicrobial protection, while the lemon essential oil nourishes skin and the aloe extract moisturizes.
What we dislike: Some claim that some scents are too overpowering.
Best bang for the buck hand sanitizer spray
Double Dare, Bye! Bye! Germs OMG! Sanitizing Spray: available at iHerb
Our take: A simple yet effective all-purpose hand sanitizing spray that contains 62% isopropyl alcohol.
What we like: The quick-drying formula soaks into skin quickly without leaving residue and the bottle size makes this a highly portable option. It contains aloe extract to help moisturize and soothe skin conditions caused by hand sanitizers, like dermatitis.
What we dislike: Some users say the strong alcohol smell is unpleasant.
Honorable mention hand sanitizer spray
Everyone Hand Sanitizer Spray: available at Amazon
Our take: An all-natural sanitizer that contains plant-derived alcohol to protect against most common germs. Formulated without synthetic fragrances and harmful chemicals.
What we like: This spray is 62% of ethyl alcohol derived from non-GMO sugarcane. It also contains other plant-based moisturizers and oils to soothe skin and protect against irritation.
What we dislike: The bottle isn’t very ergonomically designed, so it may be difficult for some users to spray one-handed.
Tessa Flores is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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