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.

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#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. I don’t mind them drying out my hands – just another excuse to dip my hands in my favourite body lotion from Lush – Sleepy! Their lotions are soooo moisturising and smell amazing that I forget all about any dry skin!

  2. If it’s from Archie Rose I have 2 big bottles of those, except mine are supposed to be native finger lime, cassia and raspberry. Unfortunate smells just like metho to me! No spray bottle either just screw top

  3. I went a bit crazy after all the selfish people hoarded all the hand sanitizers and none were available to buy anywhere! As soon as some finally started being available I bought way too many I’m probably never going to use.

    Now I’m stuck with 2 x large gel bottles and 2 x huge liquid bottles. I normally just use the ones in stores now if I’m out, but still keep one of those small Dettol ones in my handbag, pocket or on my keys. I can’t believe how much the prices have gone down now! I remember the Dettol ones being over $15 and so hard to buy, now seen them for $4 at 7-11!

    At least the gel ones are refillable. I keep one on my car keys (the one I got from my local chemist came with a plastic removable keyring sleeve which is handy), and wipe down my car keys, car door and steering wheel too. Don’t forget to wipe down your door handles, light switches, keys, phone, and anything else that you might touch after going out.

    I also bought a fancy one from Glasshouse in a glass pump pack that contains aloe vera and doesn’t dry out my hands unlike the others. That sits on my kitchen.

    Not sure what to do with the liquid ones as they come in screw top bottles – says to pour onto hands but that’s a terrible waste – might have to find some kind of empty spray bottle to transfer it to.

    Now literally every company is making their own, and they’re so much cheaper, there’s a huge range and so easy to find. I feel really stupid for spending so much money on hand sanitizers. Oh well guess I’m stocked up if there’s a second wave of COVID-19! Let’s hope not!

  4. I remember the first time I saw hand sanitiser over 15 years ago was when I saw my best friend changing her sons nappy. Now its just a necessity. We had one at work that contained macadamia oil. We decided to put it away even though the risk of allergy was very low.

  5. Hi Scarlett _Angle,
    Don’t feel bad I went bat sh#t crazy, trying to buy any could not get any. I had to order some paid sh#t load for tiny bottles. Then I got my back order delivery now I have bottles everywhere. I will come in handy I have pump bottle in car, smaller bottles in my bag & liquid spray in bag as well. Every room of my house, I don’t use the ones in shop as they are pump bottle. I was told to keep in a dark cupboard until I need it as it will last longer. At least our hands are always clean.

  6. I actually had hand sanitiser left over from my trip to burning man thinking the portapotties wouldn’t have any but ended up using none at BM so during the pandemic I’ve popped one into my purse and and other is spare.

    I’ve also purchased gin sanitiser from a couple distilleries and have opened one and I love love the scent/feeling of it 🙂 It was nice supporting some distilleries while, tons have had to cut staff etc.

  7. I’ve never liked hand sanitiser, some of them just about take my breath away they are that strong smelling and I hate the sticky feeling some of them leave and of course the dry hands they cause. I never purchased any for home during the pandemic, just used soap and water a lot. I had to use sanitiser when visiting dad in aged care and before entering businesses and shops and cringe when I see the bottles.

  8. I usually avoid hand sanitiser because there’s no substitute for good proper handwashing. But lately I do both when I’ve been out of the house – a good wash and follow up with hand sanitiser. Can’t be too careful these days.

  9. There are too many shonky products out there now and so expensive, even those in the discount stores. I will use what is out in shopping centres, prefer the spray as you don’t have to touch the button to pump but anything is better than nothing. I always wash hands thoroughly when I get home, then wipe down handles, handbag handles, phone cover and face, as well as my glasses and case and wallet, basically everything I touch while I have been out. Better to be overcautious than take a chance. Just adding isocol to liquid hand wash adds some protection. My downfall is drying of hands and taking off nail polish on the tips. That’s what alcohol does.

  10. I refuse to use the hand santizers in stores they are all cheap and nasty and full of parfums, recently bought a papaya and when I got home I could not work out where the strong horrible parfum smell was coming from and finally realized it was on the papaya! Tried soap did not work so rubbed vinegar on it and let it sit for awhile and finally the smell went. I wish the shop keepers would wear gloves when handling produce but then again it could have been someone else touching it.
    I also worry about alcohol soaking in the skin into your blood stream, and why are they not researching eucalptus or tea tree?

  11. I mainly try to stick with washing my hands tbh because I feel sometimes after using too much hand sanitiser it starts build up and feel really heavy and sticky.

    But all this hand washing has been leaving my hands so dry and uncomfortable

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