During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hand sanitizer was in high demand and low supply. This resulted in a buying frenzy that left store shelves empty for months. Hand sanitizer, disinfectants, and face masks were scarce. As the months went by they all began coming back on the shelves as manufacturers were better able to scale up production to catch up with demand. 

With so many options now, it becomes challenging to decide what option best suits your needs. For most people, standard alcohol-based hand sanitizers can dry hands. Dry hands can lead to cracking, breaks in the skin, and overall discomfort. To counteract this, quality sanitizers like Handvana HydroClean utilize FDA-approved benzalkonium chloride as the active ingredient, mixed with moisturizers and hydrators to leave your hands both sanitized and soft to the touch. 

Why is Alcohol Used in the First Place?

Alcohol has been an antiseptic for hundreds of years and as such has solidified a place in the realm of disinfectants. In addition to being one of the first antiseptics, it is very easy to produce. Alcohol has been produced for hundreds of years and is very inexpensive to manufacture. Interestingly enough, alcohol was discovered thousands of years before it was ever utilized as an antiseptic. 

Alcohol is also a great antiseptic in that it truly does kill most germs on a given surface. Where alcohol falls flat is in the negative effect it has on the oily skin barrier that is vital for good skin health. 

Alcohol essentially strips the skin of the natural oil barrier of the skin and leaves the skin exposed to the elements. When the oil is stripped away it can lead to skin drying out and cracking. Alcohol-free hand sanitizers are able to retain good skin health by providing a less harsh formula that also integrates hydrators and moisturizers.

What Are the Alternatives to Alcohol?

The only FDA-approved alternative to alcohol-based hand sanitizers is benzalkonium chloride. As of April 11th, 2020 the FDA declared that the only 3 active ingredients that could be utilized in hand sanitizers are benzalkonium chloride, ethyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol. The only one to not contain alcohol in this final ruling was benzalkonium chloride. 

It is important to note that there are many different disinfectants and that the utilization of the active ingredients being discussed is concentrated specifically on the FDA regulations behind hand sanitizers in particular. 

Is Benzalkonium Chloride as Effective as Alcohol?

Alcohol-free hand sanitizer with benzalkonium chloride is just as effective as its alcohol-based counterpart. To meet the FDA requirement for an active ingredient, it requires extensive testing and research to ensure the compound is effective. Since benzalkonium chloride is considered under the FDA final ruling for effective hand sanitation active ingredients, you can rest assured that benzalkonium chloride is an effective sanitizer. 

Is Benzalkonium Chloride Safe?

From a product safety viewpoint, alcohol-free hand sanitizers are actually safer because they are typically not as flammable because they do not contain alcohol. For people that work in areas where they are exposed to sparks, open flames, or high heat, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can become a safety hazard. 

While alcohol-free hand sanitizers should still be kept away from all of the above-stated environments, it is not as large of a safety hazard. 

How Do I Use Alcohol-Free Sanitizer?

Hand sanitizer should be utilized when proper hand washing is not available, as washing your hands with warm water and soap is still the most effective way to get rid of germs. Hand sanitizer is not a substitute for handwashing altogether because hand sanitizers rely only on the chemical removal of germs and viral particles. Hand washing has the added bonus of physically washing away germs on the surface of the skin. 

The best utilization of hand sanitizer is to use it after going into public spaces. A great example of how hand sanitizer should be used is during and after a trip to the grocery store. To begin, you should sanitize your hands before grabbing your face mask to ensure you are not contaminating the mask, and that you yourself have germ-free hands to reduce the risk of spreading germs in the store. Once the face mask is on you can go about shopping, of course, while keeping that 6 ft distance from other individuals. When you are headed back to your car and first get in, you should apply hand sanitizer before taking off your mask and heading to your next destination. After the mask is removed and properly stowed, you should apply hand sanitizer again.

The example above alone utilized hand sanitizer on three separate occasions. Having hand sanitizer at the ready is the best way to ensure you are doing everything in your power to minimize exposure and protect yourself, too. 

The Handvana HydroClean Foam Hand Sanitizer – 12 Pack is a great way to have all the hand sanitizer you need wherever you need it. 

Best Places to Keep Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Smaller foaming bottles are a great solution for those looking for a more compact and portable hand sanitizing solution while a larger bottle is great for highly trafficked areas of the household. Below is a list of the best places to keep hand sanitizer. 

  • In a handbag
  • In a purse
  • By the front door
  • Next to the garage door
  • In your car during cooler months
  • At your workstation
  • Next to your masks

This is a general list of places to keep hand sanitizer but it is up to you to tailor your hand sanitizer placement to best suit you and your family’s needs. 

What are the Best Additives for Hand Sanitizer?

Hand sanitizers are more than their active ingredient. In fact, if all that a hand sanitizer contained was the active ingredient, it would feel like you are rubbing water in between your hands. The main difference from hand sanitizer to hand sanitizer is the additives put in the sanitizer. 

Below are some of the best additives for hand sanitizer as well as what they can offer you. 

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer that is used by many people as a daily moisturizer. By adding coconut oil to an alcohol-free hand sanitizer, it allows for hydrating moisture to keep hands smooth. 

Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera can have a wide range of positive therapeutic properties including anti-aging, anti-inflammation, and more. Adding aloe to a hand sanitizer can provide soothing properties while moisturizing skin. 

Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid is naturally-occurring in the body and is a part of the skin barrier that is ever important in retaining moisture in the skin. Adding hyaluronic acid to a hand sanitizer is a fantastic way of reestablishing any that is lost during the use of sanitizer. 


In conclusion, alcohol-free hand sanitizer is just as effective as alcohol-based sanitizers, and actually has a lot to offer over its counterpart. 

For those with dry or sensitive skin, alcohol free-hand sanitizer provides a less stripping experience. Alcohol-free sanitizers can even contain additives like coconut oil, aloe vera, and hyaluronic acid to provide an even better skincare experience while simultaneously sanitizing the surface of the skin. 

With a gentler approach to the skin, alcohol-free sanitizer promotes individuals to frequently apply hand sanitizer without worrying about drying out their skin. 

A large portion of doing our part to reduce spread is to simply ensure we follow CDC guidelines. Hand sanitizing products like those from Hempvana allow people to follow these guidelines to a tee without missing a beat to worry about dry cracking skin and the product hazards associated with alcohol.

Stay safe!