We’re all looking for great hand sanitizers in the COVID-19 era. Even as we find ways to safely live with the disease still out there while a vaccine is developed, maintaining a steady supply of top-tier hand sanitizer will be a priority for both members of the public and medical organizations for many years to come.
Even when we’re not in the midst of a pandemic, hand sanitizer serves a vital purpose: it allows anyone to quickly sterilize their hands when soap and water aren’t available. While hand sanitizer isn’t a direct replacement for hand washing, it’s still quite valuable and a key tool used for fighting against the spread of viruses and disease-causing bacteria.
Compared to bulk hand sanitizers you can find in most stores, all-natural hand sanitizers can offer the same sanitizing benefits without artificial ingredients, providing the same germ-killing potential without harming the environment or your skin. Additionally, many all-natural products are sourced ethically or organically to improve their value.
Let’s break down what makes a hand sanitizer “all-natural” and examine how well it works.
What Makes Something “All-Natural?"
Any product, whether it’s a hand sanitizer, a type of makeup, or any other topical cream or salve, is really only all-natural if all of its ingredients are natural ingredients--no synthetics, artificial fragrances, parabens, PEGs, and much, much more.
Basically, every main and active ingredient of the product needs to be sourced from the environment, be it a plant or animal.
There are a few all-natural hand sanitizers you can find, though they’re few and far between compared to their chemically-laden counterparts.
Green Goo’s All-Natural Sanitizer
Let’s begin with an overview of the best example of this product on the market: Green Goo’s All-Natural Sanitizer. It has everything needed to qualify as an all-natural alternative to the more chemical-laden sanitizers you can find in grocery stores, pharmacies, and even gas stations all across America.
Benefits and Ingredients
Our hand sanitizer is all-natural, so it only has 5 active and inactive ingredients combined (6 if you get our naturally scented ones--lavender is our favorite). In total, the sanitizer has:
- Ethyl alcohol, the ingredient needed to actually sanitize your hands, naturally derived from the process of fermentation. Note that the CDC recommends that any working hand sanitizer have an alcohol concentration of at least 60%.
- Isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, made by combining water and the organic compound propene
- Aminomethyl propanol at a concentration of less than 0.3%, this is a perfectly safe, organic pH adjuster
That’s it! Just a few helpful ingredients to do the simple but important job of sanitizing your hands.
To make things even better, Green Goo offers the same hand sanitizer product in a variety of sizes. There's a 16-ounce bottle, a smaller and pocket-sized bottle, and even a 1-gallon jug that’s better for industrial use or for filling up multiple smaller bottles.
The benefits are exactly what you would expect. It can kill up to 99% of germs, which is what all other types of hand sanitizer do anyway.
There are some other brands that claim up to 99.99% efficacy, but in truth, this is likely a marketing trick to get around the same overall legal requirement: hand sanitizers cannot claim that they eliminate 100% of germs since there’s always a chance that a few bacteria will escape, especially since germs such as Nora virus, Clostridium difficile, and Cryptosporidium are all relatively resistant against most types of hand sanitizer products. This description prevents hand sanitizer companies from being culpable if some germ exposed to the sanitizer does end up causing a health issue later on.
Because of Green Goo’s sanitizer formula, the sanitizer evaporates rapidly and doesn’t feel slimy or sticky on your skin. The concentration of at least 60% ethyl alcohol means that it’s good at killing common types of germs and bacteria, but isn't so concentrated that it will overly dry out your skin or cause negative side effects.
But Does It Work?
That’s because, even though the sanitizer is “all-natural,” it still does the same job of killing germs and bacteria with every use. All-natural just means that the hand sanitizer is only created with ingredients sourced from natural products or places in the environment.
This includes ethyl alcohol, which is more commonly known as ethanol and is a natural product of the environment that anyone can source for themselves.
In fact, ethanol alcohol is the main ingredient of most alcoholic beverages. That’s because it’s a natural byproduct that arises from plant fermentation, or you can produce it by hydrating ethylene. Either way, ethanol alcohol is incredibly common in both alcoholic beverages and tons of common cosmetic and beauty products.
People also use ethanol for hand sanitizer in place of regular alcohol for a couple of reasons.
- Ethanol alcohol is incredibly effective at killing microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria by dissolving the protective cellular membrane that holds them together
- Ethanol alcohol can mix very easily with water (which is part of the reason that it is one of the main ingredients in many adult drinks)
Ultimately, ethanol alcohol is the best version of alcohol to use for hand sanitizer.
On another note, our hands can very easily be dried out when exposed to alcohol in its pure form since alcohol is an astringent. Astringents tighten the skin and can cause moisture to evaporate more easily, which can exacerbate existing skin dryness or other conditions.
Thus, it may be wise to use all-natural hand sanitizer over other kinds if you have sensitive or dry skin, or if you just don’t like rubbing synthetic chemicals all over your hands.
When to Use All-Natural Hand Sanitizer
While all-natural hand sanitizer is an excellent thing to keep in your sterilization kit, pocket, or purse, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution for bacterial decontamination or germ elimination. Just like with other types of hand sanitizers, all-natural hand sanitizer is best used in situations where there isn’t any soap and water.
However, soap and water are still generally more effective at removing certain types of potentially harmful germs compared to even the most potent hand sanitizers. For instance, the CDC indicates that germs such as Nora virus, Clostridium difficile, and Cryptosporidium are all relatively resistant against most types of hand sanitizer products.
Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s critical that people recognize when and where to use hand sanitizer rather than utilizing it as a total replacement for soap and water. Soap can more easily break down the cellular membranes of most types of bacteria and germs, and the hot water makes this even more effective.
In general, here’s when to use all-natural hand sanitizer:
- Use all-natural hand sanitizer when you don’t have access to hot water and soap
- Use all-natural hand sanitizer to give your hands another layer of protection when touching multiple surfaces frequented by the public
- Use all-natural hand sanitizer in hospitals or medical care settings when you need to re-sterilize your hands quickly. Properly washing your hands with soap and water takes up to a minute or longer, while hand sanitizer can be applied in just seconds
- Do not use all-natural hand sanitizer when your hands are visibly dirty or greasy. That’s because hand sanitizer’s effectiveness is limited if it can’t directly contact the surface of your hands. Thus, hand sanitizer may not be the best choice when camping, gardening, fishing, or playing sports
Green Goo offers a variety of all-natural hand sanitizers. For instance, Green Goo’s Aloe Shea Hand Sanitizer continues the trend of only using all-natural ingredients even when it comes to the scents in our products.
This being said, the aloe vera and shea butter don’t do anything to affect the overall efficacy of the hand sanitizer. These just add an aesthetic boost to the product, just like the lavender and wildcraft in our other hand sanitizers – consider using it if the regular fragrance of alcohol or plain hand sanitizer sets off your nose or is otherwise too unpleasant.
All in all, Green Goo's all-natural hand sanitizers are a great choice for your sanitizing needs!
Consider picking up a tube or two for you and your family, or check out the 1-gallon jugs if you work for an office or hospital and need plenty of hand sanitizer to go around. Stay safe, everyone!