How Do You Know If Your Hand Sanitizer is Effective?

by Joshua Matzkin

Hand sanitizers and disinfectants are big on people's minds right now, alongside things like social distancing and quarantining. COVID-19 needs no further introductions.

In terms of keeping hands clean, a thorough soap-water wash remains the most effective germ killing method but you won’t always have a faucet around. Even if you can access a sink, washing hands with soap and water after every contact sounds largely impossible.

Accordingly, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends, “Hand sanitizers when you can’t use soap and water.

Supporting bodies of research say in the absence of water, alcohol-based sanitizers may be as effective as, if not more than, hand washing.

A 2018 research study found about 97% of people wash their hands incorrectly. This, among other points, gives hand sanitizers an edge over the soap and water approach.

Knowing where to buy hand sanitizers and determining an effective hand sanitizer are common questions lately.

If that sounds like your concern, no worries, this article looks at what makes an effective hand sanitizer, where to buy the recommended over-60% alcohol-based sanitizer, and other safety guidelines.


CDC Recommends 60% Alcohol-based Sanitizers.

Is my sanitizer effective? 

All sanitizers are not created equally. Ingredients and concentration vary across products. Hand sanitizers with at least 60% to 95% are the CDC standard recommendation.

Ethanol, ethyl alcohol, isopropanol, and isopropyl alcohol are all names for active alcohol ingredients. Confirm that one of these names is on your hand sanitizer label. If the alcohol percentage falls within CDC’s 60% minimum recommendation for ethanol and 70% minimum recommendation for isopropanol, you’re safe.

Anything slightly below this alcohol percentage benchmark would reduce the efficacy drastically and increase users’ exposure to germs. Having wet hands or drying your hands too quickly after application will also decrease the efficacy of your hand sanitizer. 

Ignore products that claim they contain ingredients "as active as alcohol" or "alcohol-free." If it is not alcohol, nothing else quite measures up.

With hand sanitizers, content is important. The FDA considers hand sanitizers to be over the counter drugs and have specific requirements for their manufacture and sale, like having a 60% or greater alcohol composition for public use. 

bacteria growth on agar plate

Yet, Non-alcohol hand sanitizers are selling out

Despite health experts’ campaign for alcohol-based hand sanitizers, alcohol-free and many low-quality alternatives are flying off vendors’ shelves at disturbingly exorbitant rates.

For instance, Purell Hand Sanitizers, from $11.88 in January, hit an alltime-high of $199 in March. Now, they’re all sold out!

The household hand sanitizer Germ-X, with a $10 price tag in January, sold for $49.95 by the end of February.

Thankfully, in the wake of the Coronavirus, e-commerce giants like Amazon have been de-listing sellers engaged in price gouging.

It can be difficult to distinguish the non-alcohol sanitizers by merely scrolling through the listings. These non-compliant, fly-by-night companies are cashing out big on users’ ignorance.

Many such products don't place the "alcohol-free" print in an obvious enough spot on the label; they instead conceal it with hard to read font sizes. Don’t expect to find an “alcohol-free solution” statement on their listings, either, so make sure to check ingredient lists to be sure the sanitizer you're buying contains alcohol. 

How Do Hand Sanitizers Work?

Applying hand rubs can be a breeze. Here’s a quick four-step application guide:

  • Remove all organic matter from your hands. Your sanitizer may be inefficient on visibly dirty or greasy hands.
  • Apply a squirt of your sanitizer with one hand on your other palm.
  • Rub content over both hands until it covers the entire palm, fingers and back of the hand.
  • Continue until the sanitizer is visibly absorbed.

Although washing may give a safer wash, here some advantages of hand sanitizers over soap and water:

  • Mobile and readily available. You may not always have running water around for hand-washing
  • Kills microorganisms fast
  • Lesser time demand
  • Cuts down bacterial counts
  • Some contain skin-friendly properties for skin hydration and nourishment

Frequent water-soap scrub-downs may cause skin irritations and dryness, which often lead to cracks, and, in worse cases, bleeding.


Pink gel hand sanitzer on a green background

Any safety concerns?

So far, nothing shows hand sanitizers to be harmful if you follow the recommended application guide. However, the high alcohol content could cause minor skin dryness and may exacerbate eczema and related skin conditions. Be sure to choose sanitizers with added moisturizing ingredients.

In addition, appropriate checks should be in place to guide against ingesting, particularly around children for toxicity concerns.

Ensure hand sanitizers are clearly labeled and out of children’s reach. Children should have restricted access to sanitizers only under close supervision. For an added precaution, a child-resistant cap may come in handy.

Besides unintended ingestion, adults may, due to the alcohol content, purposefully consume the hand sanitizers. Ingesting hand sanitizer may cause major health complications. All hand sanitizers must be denatured, meaning the alcohol has added chemicals to prevent the consumption of hand sanitizer. Simply put, don't drink your hand sanitizer! 

What if my hands are not dirty?

You may have germs on your "clean" palms. Germs are not visible with the bare eyes but via a microscope. So, whether you feel dirty or not, after exposure to high-touch points —doorknobs, keyboards, office phone, stair rails, etc. — be sure to sanitize.

Why alcohol-based sanitizers?

Over 20 research reports indicate alcohol-based sanitizers are far more effective than everyday foaming agents or antimicrobial formulas for germs.

These solutions handle germs in visibly clean hands. Being a portable standalone product, hand sanitizers are ideal for on-the-go users. They can conveniently go with you in your bag, purse, car, backpack, or anywhere in your house and office.

Will alcohol-based sanitizer affect my skin?

It depends on your skins’ sensitivity, and, most importantly, the product’s ingredients. With most skin-friendly products like MOXE, regardless of frequency, a hand sanitizer shouldn't be harmful to your skin.

Studies reveal that health professionals who routinely sanitize their hands with alcohol-based sanitizers had far fewer irritations than those who used soap and water. 

On your next buy, go for products that contain moisturizers. They not only prevent dryness but replenish lost nutrients.

How many times should I use my sanitizer before I wash my hands?

There are no hard-and-fast rules here. Although some people advise hand-washing after applying sanitizers up to 5 times, it has no scientific base whatsoever. If your hands are not visibly dirty, grimy, or greasy, then an effective sanitizer should work just fine with proper use.

Where to buy hand sanitizers?

Several pharmacies and retail stores sell hand sanitizers. But with increasing demand imposed by the COVID-19 scare, many stores are running out of stock.

DIY options could have been a thoughtful alternative, however, the FDA discourages homemade sanitizers considering imprecise formulations may expose users to germs and cause skin irritations. 

That said, some credible alcohol-based hand sanitizer manufacturers have leveled-up their production rates to match the skyrocketing demand.

MOXE Premium Hand Sanitizer, with 70% of alcohol, has done just this while maintaining its quality.

You can place your order from our online store right away. Alternatively, MOXĒ sanitizers are available at Costco stores nationwide and select CVS stores.

MOXE Citrus Hand Sanitizer

MOXĒ’s Key Ingredients

  • 70% Ethyl alcohol
  • Aloe Vera juice
  • Tocopheryl acetate (Vitamin E)


  • FDA-approved ingredients and facilities
  • Meets U.S. quality standards (made in the USA)
  • Leaping Bunny Certified – animal cruelty-free
  • Free from pesticides and harmful chemicals
  • Mild solution for all skin types
  • Great for family or for the office

Regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, MOXĒ Hand Sanitizer boasts high-standards for quality and efficacy.

Available in various sizes 

8 oz Hand Sanitizers

Looking for an unscented hand sanitizer? MOXĒ now has Unscented Hand Sanitizer Gel in 8 oz bottles—shop a 1 Bottle Pack for $7.99 or a 2 Bottle Pack for $13.99. 

12 oz Hand Sanitizers

Perfect for smaller groups, our 12 oz Citrus Hand Sanitizer gel comes in a convenient 3 pack for $25.99

32 oz Hand Sanitizers 

For the family, shop single Citrus 32 oz hand sanitizer or Eucalyptus Mint for $15.99 or save with a 4 bottle pack for $45.99

Get your alcohol-based sanitizer now, and stay safe and fresh.


About MOXĒ

MOXĒ is a manufacturer of innovative health and wellness products focused on complementing any lifestyle. With our holistic approach, we add custom essential oil blends in everything we create and ensure every product is made with the highest quality ingredients to support clean living and peace of mind.

Visit MOXĒ at or follow us on Instagram and Facebook: @bemoxe

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