Back To School: Tips For Choosing The Right Hand Sanitizer

As families across the United States prepare for the broadest return to in-person learning since the pandemic began, many parents are being asked to purchase hand sanitizer as part of their child's back-to-school shopping list for the first time. PURELL® hand hygiene expert, Dawn Yeomans, Ph.D., recommends parents consider five key factors to ensure they are buying a hand sanitizer that will be both safe and effective for their child.

"As parents and teachers do their back-to-school shopping this year, they should be aware that not all hand sanitizers are the same," said Yeomans. "Unfortunately, there are still many generic, unproven hand sanitizers available on store shelves, likely at discount prices as they will be expiring soon. However, there are five key features parents should consider to help them purchase a safe and effective hand sanitizer."

What to look for or avoid in hand sanitizer:

  1. Choose a hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethyl alcohol or 70% isopropyl alcohol. This will be clearly listed on the label.
  2. Ensure the product is in the original packaging with appropriate labeling (including drug facts, lot number, expiration date, and manufacturer contact information)
  3. Check the product's expiration date, which is typically 2-3 years after the date of manufacture of that product.
  4. Stick with well-known, proven brands. Unfortunately, more than 250 hand sanitizers have been banned by the FDA in the past 18 months for a variety of safety concerns. 
  5. Avoid hand sanitizers with poor aesthetic qualities, such as an undesirable smell, poor product consistency, stickiness, or those that irritate or dry hands. Children are more likely to regularly use it if they like the consistency, feel, and smell of it.

PURELL® Hand Sanitizer, America's #1 hand sanitizer, is available in a variety of sizes and formulas at stores nationwide. The PURELL ® Promise guarantees each PURELL ® product is safe and effective because they are made with high-quality ingredients and are rigorously tested.

Practicing good hand hygiene – handwashing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly soiled – is one of the most effective ways to wash away or kill germs that can make people sick. The PURELL® brand offers resources to help schools, teachers, and families educate children on the importance of hand hygiene including age-appropriate hands-on experiments developed by scientists. Find the experiments and other helpful resources at the PURELL® Brand K-12 Well-Being Center.

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