The best hand sanitizers
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends hand washing as one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from communicable diseases, but if that's not an option, using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is a good alternative.
- Here are the most effective hand sanitizers including Purell, Equate, and Pharma C.
- This article was medically reviewed by Tania Elliott, MD, who specializes in infectious diseases related to allergies and immunology for internal medicine at NYU Langone Health.
- Due to fears of the new coronavirus, many of these products are quickly selling out or appearing at prices well above market retail. We're doing our best to keep this guide updated with in-stock purchase links.
Commonly touched surfaces like door handles, shopping carts, phones, faucets, remote controls, and more harbor billions of potentially harmful microbes. This can be amplified during cold and flu season and viral outbreaks, making clean hands even more essential.
To help kill all those microbes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend washing your hands with soap and water several times a day, spending at least 20 seconds lathering your hands, including the back of your hands as well as underneath your fingernails. We have a buying guide to the best hand soaps here, but it goes beyond the proper soap - 97% of people aren't washing their hands effectively. Here's a great how-to as well as a list of songs you can sing besides "Happy Birthday" to hit the 20-second threshold.But if you're in a situation where you can't easily wash your hands, then hand sanitizers are a viable option. Advertisement
The key to making these microbes inactive is to use a sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-free sanitizers that rely on other ingredients are not effective in killing the type of germs that can cause norovirus and coronavirus.
It's also essential to use hand sanitizer correctly. Use at least a quarter-sized dollop of the sanitizer or enough to completely cover your hands each time. Rub it in well until your hands are dry - don't wipe it off. If your hands are greasy or heavily soiled, sanitizer alone will not be effective. Dr. Tania Elliott suggests wiping your hands off with a paper towel or rinsing with water if that's available before doing a double application of hand sanitizer. This helps it penetrate the grime so the sanitizer can be effective.Due to fears of the new coronavirus, many of these products are quickly selling out or appearing at prices well above market retail. We're doing our best to keep this guide updated with in-stock purchase links.
Here are the best hand sanitizers you can buy:
- Best hand sanitizer overall: Purell Advanced Aloe Scent Hand Sanitizer
- Best hand sanitizing wipes: Pharma C Alcohol Wipes
- Best non-alcohol sanitizer wipes: Purell Fresh Scent Sanitizing Wipes
- Best hand sanitizer for dry skin: Highmark Advanced Hand Sanitizer, Aloe
- Best budget hand sanitizer: Equate Hand Sanitizer with Aloe
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