The 9 Best Hand Sanitizers of 2023

Our top pick overall is the Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer for its tried and true formula which includes moisturizing ingredients.

In This Article

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Best Hand Sanitizers

Target

Clean hands are about much more than feeling fresh and smelling good—it’s about keeping germs and bacteria far away. If you can’t get to the sink to scrub with soap and water, hand sanitizer is the next best thing.

“Hand sanitizer functions by containing antiseptic ingredients that kill or inactivate many types of germs,” says Dr. Courtney Rubin, board-certified dermatologist, and co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Fig.1, a skincare brand. “Hand sanitizers are regulated in the United States by the FDA as an OTC (over-the-counter) drug, meaning that hand sanitizers must meet a higher threshold for safety and effectiveness before they can be brought to market and sold to consumers.” 

Dr. Rubin says that while hand sanitizers do work, they shouldn’t replace handwashing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends handwashing—scrubbing with soap for 20 seconds—as the simplest way to stop the spread of germs. 

Our top pick overall for the best hand sanitizer is Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer. Purell is one of the most trusted hand sanitizer brands on the market, and this formula comes in various sizes—everything from large pump bottles to travel squirt bottles you can attach to a keychain. Just one pump is enough to make your hands 99.9 percent germ-free, so you won’t find yourself with an empty hand sanitizer bottle for a while.

Here is the full list of our picks for best hand sanitizers.

Our Top Picks
Best Hand Sanitizer for Sensitive Skin:
Honest Hand Sanitizer Spray at Amazon
Best Hand Sanitizer with Aloe:
Purell Hand Sanitizer at Amazon
Best Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer:
Germ-X Hand Sanitizer at Amazon
Best Scented Hand Sanitizer:
Dove Hand Sanitizer at Amazon
Best High Alcohol Content Hand Sanitizer:
Sparitual Hand Sanitizer at Amazon

Best Overall Hand Sanitizer

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer

Walmart

Who it’s for: People looking for an unscented, reliable hand sanitizer with a high alcohol content. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a scented or moisturizing hand sanitizer.

Purell has long been a leading hand sanitizer brand, and for a good reason—it contains 70 percent alcohol, which kills 99.99 percent of germs. Just a little bit of the clear, unscented gel goes a long way in keeping hands fresh and clean. It also contains a combination of moisturizers that keep your skin from getting too dry, plus it’s free of drying ingredients like parabens and phthalates. 

This version of Purell comes in a pump bottle, but you can also get the same formula in a variety of other sizes: The travel-size version can be attached to a zipper or keychain; the single-use packets are great for on-the-go; the 2-ounce bottles can easily be thrown in a bag; and the 8-ounce and 12-ounce pump bottles are ideal for at-home use.

Price at the time of publish: $15

Product Details:

  • Sizes: 1, 2, 8, 12, 20, 33.8, or 67.6 ounces
  • Alcohol Content: 70 percent
  • Scent: Unscented

Best Hand Sanitizer for Sensitive Skin

Honest Free & Clear Hand Sanitizer Spray

Honest Free & Clear Hand Sanitizer Spray

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a hand sanitizer with a lower alcohol concentration that still meets CDC standards. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want the protection of a highly concentrated hand sanitizer. 

If the thought of slathering on hand sanitizer makes your skin itch, this Free & Clear formulation is the solution for you. Honest’s Free & Clear Hand Sanitizer has a lower percentage of alcohol than others but still meets the CDC-recommended minimum of 60 percent to eliminate germs. Plus, it's EWG-verified, so you can be sure it meets the strictest health and safety standards.

This dermatologist-tested hand sanitizer spray is hypoallergenic and formulated with aloe and botanical extracts for soft, sanitized skin. The spray application makes it quick to dry, and you won't have any of the stickiness that some other hand sanitizers leave behind. It’s also available in a four-pack with two spray bottles and two refills if you want to stock up.

Price at the time of publish: $3

Product Details:

  • Size: 2 ounces
  • Alcohol Content: 62 percent
  • Scent: Unscented

Best Hand Sanitizer with Aloe

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer With Aloe and Vitamin E

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer With Aloe and Vitamin E

Target

Who it’s for: People who want a powerful yet soothing hand sanitizer. 

Who it isn’t for: People who don’t want any type of scent from their hand sanitizer. 

Aloe is known for its ability to cool and moisturize skin, so when added to hand sanitizer, it soothes as it sanitizes. While a high alcohol content is necessary, it can be drying, so the inclusion of aloe in this Purell pick makes it an ideal choice for repeated, everyday use. This fast-drying gel contains moisturizing aloe leaf and vitamin E and is gentle enough for kids under 6 (though the label does recommend supervision). 

It’s available in a pack of four if you want the classic 8-ounce pump size, but you can also buy it in a 6-pack of the 2-ounce travel-sized bottles.

Price at the time of publish: $35 for 4-pack

Product Details:

  • Sizes: 2, 4, 8, 12, or 33.8 ounces
  • Alcohol Content: 70 percent
  • Scent: Aloe vera

Best Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer

Germ-X Original Hand Sanitizer

Germ-X Original Hand Sanitizer

Lowe's

Who it’s for: People who want to sanitize and moisturize in one step. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a scented hand sanitizer. 

Alcohol is a necessary ingredient in hand sanitizer, but it can dry out your skin. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, choosing a hand sanitizer with a moisturizer built in—like this one from Germ-X—can keep hands both soft and germ-free. 

The Germ-X Original Hand Sanitizer is our pick for the best moisturizing for its healthy dose of vitamin E in every squirt. Much like aloe, vitamin E has health benefits for your skin—it's a natural antioxidant, so the additional boost in Germ-X hand sanitizer fortifies your skin’s moisture levels every time you sanitize.

Germ-X is soft on your hands, but don’t mistake it for being soft on germs. It contains 62 percent alcohol, which is plenty to banish the bad stuff—in fact, it eliminates 99.99 percent of germs in just 15 seconds, according to the manufacturer.

Price at the time of publish: $24 for 4-pack

Product Details:

  • Size: 2, 8, 10, or 32 ounces
  • Alcohol Content: 62 percent
  • Scent: Unscented

Best Scented Hand Sanitizer

Dove Nourishing Hand Sanitizer

Dove Nourishing Hand Sanitizer

Walmart

Who it’s for: People who want a travel-sized hand sanitizer. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a hand sanitizer with 70 percent alcohol or more. 

If you want the clean fragrance of Dove soap as you sanitize your hands, opt for the Dove Nourishing Hand Sanitizer. Most hand sanitizers are unscented or have a nondescript alcohol scent. This hand sanitizer is scented with shea butter with warm vanilla and moisturizes as it cleans. 

While scented, this sanitizer still has enough alcohol content (61 percent, to be exact) to be 99.99 percent effective at banishing germs from your hands. Like the Dove soap, you know and love, it also offers superior moisturizing that can last up to eight hours. 

Price at the time of publish: $20 for 4-pack

Product Details:

  • Size: 8 or 33.8 ounces
  • Alcohol Content: 61 percent
  • Scent: Shea butter and warm vanilla

Best Organic Hand Sanitizer

EO Organic Hand Sanitizer

EO Hand Sanitizer

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a hand sanitizer made with organic ingredients. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a budget-friendly hand sanitizer. 

EO makes their products with essential oils and botanical moisturizers to refresh skin after each use. Their hand sanitizer still contains 62 percent alcohol but also includes lavender essential oil—which lends it an incredible scent and acts as a natural cleanser—and moisturizing jojoba oil. The result is a product that eliminates 99.9 percent of germs without damaging your skin. It even has a 91 percent rating from SkinSafe

It comes in a larger 32-ounce pump bottle that’s ideal for at-home use. If you want to take it on the go, check out the 8-ounce bottle or the smaller 2-ounce spray bottle, which is sold as a set of six.

Price at the time of publish: $14

Product Details:

  • Size: 2, 8, or 32 ounces 
  • Alcohol Content: 62 percent
  • Scent: French lavender

Best High Alcohol Content Hand Sanitizer

Sparitual Spray Hand Sanitizer

Sparitual Spray Hand Sanitizer

Bluemercury

Who it’s for: People who want a powerful hand sanitizer with high alcohol content. 

Who it isn’t for: People with sensitive skin. 

There are four key ingredients that make up Sparitual’s hand sanitizer: glycerin, hydrogen peroxide, purified water USP, and isopropyl alcohol—75 percent of the latter, to be exact. This percentage is far above the CDC’s recommended 60 percent and the others on our list. 

Sparitual’s hand sanitizer eliminates 99.9 percent of germs with a convenient spray bottle, so you don’t have to worry about spillage when you keep it in your bag—and at two ounces per bottle, you can keep it in every bag and coat pocket you have. This hand sanitizer has no fragrances or oils, so its main focus is on keeping your hands germ-free. We also like that it’s vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. 

Price at the time of publish: $13 for 4-pack

Product Details:

  • Size: 2 ounces
  • Alcohol Content: 75 percent
  • Scent: Unscented

Best Hand Sanitizer Spray

Touchland Power Mist Hand Sanitizer

Touchland Hand Sanitizer

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want clean hands while on the go.

Who it isn’t for: People who prefer a squeeze bottle or gel formula. 

While the 1-ounce Touchland Power Mist Hand Sanitizer might seem tiny, this line of delicious-smelling sanitizers delivers up to 500 sprays. All you have to do is spray and rub in this fast-absorbing sanitizer, and you’re good to go.

The hand sanitizer comes in various delicious fragrances, like Wild Watermelon and Pure Lavender, and equally delectable colors. But don’t let the bright colors and fruity scents fool you—at 70 percent alcohol content, this stuff is excellent at killing germs. This spray will leave your hands feeling hydrated, fragrant, and germ-free, all while being non-GMO and free of parabens, triclosan, and glutens. The best part? The leak-proof sanitizer spray is TSA-approved, so you can have clean hands as you travel. 

Price at the time of publish: $45 for 5-pack

Product Details:

  • Size: 1 ounce
  • Alcohol Content: 70 percent
  • Scent: Variety

Best Hand Sanitizer Wipes

Wet Ones Plus Hand Sanitizer Wipes

Wet Ones Plus Hand Sanitizer Wipes

Target

Who it’s for: People who want a heavy-duty hand sanitizing wipe for the on-the-go. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a wipe that’s safe for children.

Unlike sprays and gels that can leave you uncertain if you thoroughly cleaned every spot on your hands, Wet Ones eliminates the guesswork. Just pull out a wipe and clean away germs and any other messes. These particular Wet Wipes contain 70 percent alcohol as well as aloe and vitamin E, so they’ll kill germs without drying your skin, and they come in handy travel packs you can stow in bags to take wherever you go.

If you’re looking for antibacterial wipes that are safe for sensitive skin and gentle enough for kids, check out the Wet Ones Sensitive Skin Wipes instead.

Price at the time of publish: $30 for 10-pack

Product Details:

  • Size: 20 wipes
  • Alcohol Content: 70 percent
  • Scent: Not scented

Final Verdict

Our top pick for the best hand sanitizer is Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer for its moisturizing properties, high alcohol content, and tried-and-true formula. If you’re looking for something more moisturizing, consider the Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer With Aloe and Vitamin E instead.

How to Shop for Hand Sanitizer Like a Pro

Alcohol Content

“The concentration of alcohol in alcohol-based hand sanitizers should be 60-95 percent to optimally kill and neutralize germs,” says Dr. Rubin. The CDC recommends using hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol.

Formula

“Avoid ingredients that you know that you may be allergic or sensitive to, just as you would in any personal care product,” says Dr. Rubin. “For example, some people notice that they are sensitive or allergic to fragrance or botanical ingredients. In that case, they should avoid hand sanitizers that feature heavy fragrances or botanical extracts.” If you’re looking for a more moisturizing hand sanitizer, look for a formula that contains aloe, vitamin E, or both.

Type

Whether you prefer a gel, spray, or wipe hand sanitizer is up to personal preference—when it comes to efficacy, it's more important how you use it. “The goal when using hand sanitizer is to use enough of it to cover all surfaces of the hands and to rub the hands together until they are dry,” says Dr. Rubin. “As long as you are using a product that has the correct concentration of alcohol and applying it as directed, the form factor of the sanitizer (spray versus gel versus wipe) is less important.”

Questions You Might Ask 

When should you use hand sanitizer?

“You can use hand sanitizer as often as you would like,” says Dr. Rubin. “At the least, clean your hands before eating/drinking, before preparing food, and after using the restroom. About once per hour can be a good rule of thumb."

The CDC recommends using alcohol-based hand sanitizer to kill germs if you can't access soap and water. This is why you will often see the hallways of hospitals and medical facilities lined with hand sanitizer stations. However, the CDC does not recommend it for serious messes like dirt or grease—in those scenarios, hand washing is a must. 

Do alcohol-free hand sanitizers work?

Alcohol-free hand sanitizers are tempting, especially if you have very dry hands. The CDC does not currently recommend any alcohol-free hand sanitizers, but there are some studies that show benzalkonium chloride-based hand sanitizer products might be effective at killing germs. Since they are not formally endorsed by the CDC, we are not recommending any alcohol-free hand sanitizers.

Does hand sanitizer expire?

Like other OTC drugs, hand sanitizers have an expiration date—usually between 2-3 years. Per the FDA’s website, the organization can’t attest to the stability or effectiveness of any expired drug product. Therefore, while expired hand sanitizer is not likely to harm you if you use it past the expiration date, it is unlikely to be as effective.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Barbara Bellesi Zito, a freelance lifestyle writer based in Staten Island, NY. To compile this list of best hand sanitizers, she researched products from top brands while considering alcohol content, formula, and type. For expert advice on what consumers should know when purchasing hand sanitizer, Barbara consulted Dr. Courtney Rubin, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Fig.1, a skincare brand.

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