What to look out for when buying hand sanitiser


Hand sanitiser has certainly become a hot commodity in recent times. After all, it’s a great solution for on-the-go hand cleansing and keeping germs at bay.

But with the influx of new formulas hitting the market to meet demand, you’d be excused for being confused when it comes to which one to pick, or what you should even be looking for in the first place.

So the next time you’re shopping for hand sanitiser, keep these top tips in mind.

RELATED: Our edit of the best hand creams under $10

RELATED: How to keep blonde hair bright during isolation

#1 Check if the product has been properly tested

With many hand sanitisers hitting the shelves at super speed, you’ll want to ensure the one you choose has been extensively tested, preferably in an independent Australian-approved testing facility. For example NatraSan™  Antibacterial Hand Sanitiser (which contains a combination of alcohol and benzalkonium chloride), has been independently tested in an Australian laboratory and is effective against a number of germs and bacteria. It is also dermatologically tested and recommended, meaning it’s safe for sensitive skin use, safeguarding against both germs and skin irritants, such as high alcohol content. 

#2 Seek soothing additions

To keep hands soft and smooth, you should also keep an eye out for moisturising ingredients, such as aloe vera and vitamin E, which will help to balance the alcohol effects in the formula. Look out forXtraSan™ 72% Alcohol Antibacterial Instant Hand Sanitiser with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E which utilises both, with the aloe vera providing an instant soothing effect, while vitamin E nourishes and protects the skin. 

#3 Look into the manufacturer

It’s never been more important to support Australian businesses, so while you’re checking the label, aim for Australian made and owned, too. The ‘made’ is extra important, as by keeping the manufacturer local, you’ll be supporting not only Australian business, but the jobs it produces for our country. And if it’s tested right here in Australia, you’ll be safeguarded from the potential defectiveness of imported products.

#4 Locate alcohol on the ingredient list

Most of us will check the ingredients of our skin care before buying, and the same goes for hand sanitiser. Alcohol is the main one to look for, and it should be high up on the list. You’ll find it at the first position on the label ingredient list if the product is alcohol-based and contains over 60 per cent. If alcohol is listed at two or three on the ingredient list, it’s only used as a secondary ingredient and will not be the main active responsible for the germ-killing action, as it will contain extra ingredients to do this effectively. Any product that has 60 per cent plus alcohol content will also need to have warning information saying it’s flammable, so it’s a good idea to look out for the actual stated alcohol percentage on the label.

#5 Using a spray vs gel

There are also different sanitiser dispenser methods available on the market. Screw caps or pull-up tops are convenient for bottle refills, however, a spray dispenser is best for on-the-go use. A spray is more controllable and will dispense a non-drip dose, to give great coverage on the hands and peace of mind storage in your bag (no leaks!). Both NatraSan™ and XtraSan™ feature a convenient spray nozzle, so you can take them and use them anywhere. 

Did you know there was so much variety in hand sanitisers? 

Share your thoughts

Comments 95

  1. As a nurse I am only buying the hospital grade ones with limited amount of scent, all brands are different some are stickier than others and I resort to hand washing most of the time. Hand sanitising should only be done with clean hands.

  2. I always check alcohol content (I’m aware it needs to be over 60%) and I prefer one that is made in Australia. I won’t buy any of those $2 Shop foreign brands. Hand sanitiser is a must have for us. Hubby keeps some in his work car, we’ve got some in our car, in my handbag, in the laundry, in the kitchen.

  3. They’re everywhere now and some are so expensive! It’s good that some co’s have become innovative and created their own. There was one co using the hood they use for their brews to create hand sanitizer. I’m inclined to support Aussie brands when it comes to sanitisers.

  4. I think this is a very important article at the moment. There seem to be new brands of hand sanitizer popping up and its hard to know if they can be trusted. Im very much sticking to the brands I know.

  5. Great information here BH. It can be so confusing choosing with so many brands around. We went with what our Chemist recommended and the only issue Ive had is how drying it can be so I’m lavishing on the hand cream at night.

  6. Thank you for this informative article. The alcohol percentage is so crucial. And also ‘anti-bacterial’ (in a lot of cleaning products) means nothing when you’re fighting a virus!

  7. Always buy the one with Alcohol Antibacterial Instant Hand Sanitiser with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E. Have found it useful not just for my hands, have used a small amount on any spots or pimples.

  8. I didn’t used to use hand sanitiser very much. Now I’m using it in every shop or business I go into. I’m not sure what brands they are, but I am using them so much more that I have increased my use of hand cream a lot as well.

  9. I always buy hand sanitiser to use when we travel, but am sure that I did not pay what is being asked for a small bottle now. Am I imagining that it is expensive at the moment?

  10. I generally use hand wash at home and when out and about use a hand sanitiser, a refillable compact bottle. I did not know about some of the differences between the brands of sanitisers, great information.

  11. If I can wash my hands, that is always the first port of call as hand sanitisers are so drying on my skin. When I enter stores I use the products in the store rather than my own.
    I only buy Australian made and products with over 60% alcohol but I don’t look for Australian brands and I no longer look for Aloe Vera as the last one I had with Aloe left a sticky feeling….

  12. Another great article. I carry a small spray bottle with me in my handbag. I purchased a locally made sanitiser from a distillery. It also contains lemon myrtle and smells lovely and doesn’t seem to dry out my hands like some.

  13. There are so many hand sanitisers out there now and oh so expensive to what they cost prior to this pandemic. Soap and water works well, I use sanitisers in the shopping malls and businesses when I have to go in, but don’t use a shopping trolley, take my own shopping bag and do my very best not to touch any surfaces while out then as soon as home I go straight to the bathroom for a thorough wash. Even clothes go into the laundry if it has been a big day out. I’m in the vulnerable age group and being on my own I need to be extra careful.

  14. This is a fantastic list, just a note though. If the alcohol in the hand sanitiser is isopropanol (instead of ethanol), it needs to be at least 70% to be effective.

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00