Ask the Pharmacist: Hand sanitizers – What to buy and what to avoid

Suzy Cohen
The FDA has expanded its list of hand sanitizer products to avoid because they may contain toxic methanol.

As the country has opened these past few months, I find myself carrying hand sanitizer with me. Hand sanitizers are a must if you travel because they quickly eliminate 99.9% of germs (at least the ones tested) and you can carry these in your purse, or pocket, and keep in the car.

With the pandemic this year, hand sanitizers became instantly essential. A lot of sanitizers can destroy certain pneumonia and influenza strains, E. coli and MRSA in seconds.

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There’s a reason sanitizer sells like hotcakes, but please be careful because some opportunistic business folks are now making a killing at your expense. They’re formulating toxic garbage at home, and then selling it online to people. You cannot trust everything available right now. 

On Aug. 27, the Food and Drug Administration issued a new warning to consumers to make sure that we do not buy or use any hand sanitizers that contain “methanol” or “1-propanol.”

Today, I’ll list some of the safest commercial hand sanitizers on the market. Some of them are sprays, others are wipes, and so on. I’ve based my list below on the famous organization called EWG Skin Deep. They have a website by that name too. As to where you can purchase any of these, I’d suggest looking online, or asking your local health food store manager. Here are my favorites:

Hero Wipes: These have alcohol and aloe in them, plus more. Each wipe is individually wrapped in a pouch to keep it sterile. They are resilient if you are vigorous with them.

Elyptol Antimicrobial Hand Sanitizer: These come in wipes, gel and spray, so you can pick.

As you may have guessed from its name, the product boasts the use of natural eucalyptus, which reduces risk of contact dermatitis and provides a broad range of ‘kill’ properties. 

  • Everyone Peppermint Citrus Hand Sanitizer: There are other scents aside from that one, but this brand offers another option utilizing alcohol (derived from non-GMO sugar cane), with aloe and glycerin so it won’t feel as drying.
  • Organic to Green Lavender Lemon: This contains some alcohol along with glycerin, organic coconut, lavender and lemon peel oil. When I read the natural, but powerful ingredient list, I was jealous I hadn’t thought of this formula myself, lol.
  • Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Hand Sanitizer: Another awesome product and sold widely in health food stores, this brand utilizes the strength of Fair Trade ethanol along with organic peppermint oil and glycerin.
  • EO Hand Sanitizer Spray or Wipes: This is an easy-to-find brand that is great because it uses alcohol (sourced from non-GMO sugar cane), plus lavender essential oil, Echinacea herb (an antibacterial), and some glycerin.
  • Grove Collaborative Blood Orange Sanitizer: This product utilizes ethanol plus aloe, orange oil, coconut and sunflower seed oil, plus jojoba. This is an awesome combination, and one that will leave your hands feeling nourished. It also comes in lavender.

I have a longer version with more options posted at my website if you’re interested:

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Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit