How It's Made

How Much Alcohol is in Your Hand Sanitizer?

Most hand sanitizers, whether you get them at the mall or at your local drugstore, will contain some kind of alcohol. This is ultimately what gets those pesky germs off your hands.

Why is alcohol in your hand sanitizer? Are there natural options instead? Let’s dive into all the details about hand sanitizers!

How Effective Are Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers?

Hand Sanitizer

Experts agree that the more alcohol in a hand sanitizer, the more effective it will be at reducing germs. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you use a sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.

This isn’t any new advice. Alcohol has been used as a disinfectant for centuries, starting in ancient Egypt and going all the way to the modern world of medicine.

Overall, alcohol is extremely effective at removing the germs that would otherwise cause you to get a cold or the flu. It’s important to always know which ingredients are in your sanitizer!

Hand Sanitizer

How Does Alcohol Kill Bacteria?

How Does Alcohol Kill Bacteria?

Alcohol fights off bacteria through a process called denaturation, which is a fancy way of saying the bacterium is altered from its original state. Say you have a germ on your hand that could cause the flu. The alcohol in your sanitizer will change that germ’s chemical makeup before it can do any real damage.

This is why it’s important to be picky with which sanitizer you choose. You want to go with something that contains alcohol or at least has a natural substitute that works just as well. Even if your sanitizer smells like a delicious vanilla cupcake, it’s not going to fight off those pesky germs unless it contains the right ingredients.

How Does Alcohol Kill Bacteria?

Assessing the Alcohol Levels in Your Hand Sanitizer

Whether you want to order custom hand sanitizers for your next fundraiser or just want something to keep around the office, it’s important to know the ingredients in every bottle.

What Are the Most Popular Hand Sanitizer Brands?

Purell Bottle Image Source:

You’ll see many different sanitizers on the shelves at your local pharmacy or grocery store. The most popular hand sanitizer brands include:

  • Purell
  • Germ-X
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Cleanwell
  • Dial
  • Babyganics
  • Ecolab
  • Burt’s Bees
  • Ulta
  • Equate
  • McKesson
Purell Bottle Image Source:
Purell Bottle Side Image Source:

Each brand of sanitizer is made differently, which means it will contain its own specified amount of alcohol. To determine how much is in your bottle, consult the label on the back that lists the ingredients.

You can also cross-compare and find the right brand for you with this handy chart*!

Purell Bottle Side Image Source:


Typical Alcohol Content





Bath & Body Works










Burt’s Bees








*These numbers are based on individual products from each brand and may vary. Be sure to always check the label on every bottle of sanitizer for an accurate alcohol content amount.

Every sanitizer brand has its pros and cons, including pricing, fragrances, ingredients, and availability. Do your research before you fill up your shopping cart.

Do Organic Hand Sanitizers Work?

Organic Hand Sanitizers Image Source:

If you don’t want a sanitizer that’s made with alcohol, organic options work just as well. Look for a brand that contains either Aloe Vera or witch hazel. These plants have healing properties that fight all kinds of bacteria.

Cleanwell or Babyganics are a couple of good natural choices. They are as effective as alcohol-based sanitizers when used correctly and can be found at most drugstores.

Organic Hand Sanitizers Image Source:

Hand Sanitizers at Quality Logo Products®

As a business owner, a great way to advertise is by printing your logo and company name on hand sanitizer giveaways. It’s important to go to your trade show, networking event, or fundraiser with one that will actually work. The good news is many promotional sanitizers contain about 62% alcohol.

Try any of these popular options!

*Disclaimer: The alcohol levels for these hand sanitizers are based on 2019 data and are subject to change. Ask your sales rep for more details.

Warnings About Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers

Warnings About Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers

While alcohol-based sanitizers come highly recommended, they do pose some risks.
These include:

Warnings About Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers
  • Swallowing can cause alcohol poisoning
  • Not always safe for children
  • Harmful if ingested by pets
  • Skin may be itchy or red after use
  • May cause irritation if it gets in your eyes
  • Increases your sensitivity to ultra violet rays
  • Extremely flammable

If you’re worried about any of these side effects, it may be best to go with a sanitizer that’s made with organic ingredients instead. There are plenty of options out there, so be sure to check the labels and pick the one that works best for you!

Why is Drinking Hand Sanitizer Dangerous?

Why is Drinking Hand Sanitizer Dangerous?

Why is Drinking Hand Sanitizer Dangerous?

It’s extremely dangerous to consume any hand sanitizer, but especially the ones that contain alcohol. Not only can this lead to alcohol poisoning, but ingesting it, whether purposefully or by accident, can also lead to death in some cases.

Alarmingly enough, however, minors in the United States are swigging sanitizer like it’s water. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported over 19,000 incidents in 2014 alone, and it looks like this trend is still a problem to this day.

Remember, there’s a reason you can’t order “sanitizer” from a drink menu. Use it responsibly and keep it only on your hands!

Stats for Success

Alcohol-based sanitizers will reduce an average of 97.72% of the germs on your hands.

There are an estimated 1,500 germs on each square centimeter of skin on our hands.

The average adult will have 2 to 4 colds every year.

The Bottom Line

It’s an extremely germy world out there, and you have a choice as to which sanitizer you use. Whether you go with one that contains alcohol or something more natural, make sure you use it only when handwashing isn’t available!


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