You’re probably a lot more familiar with hand sanitizer than you used to be. The coronavirus pandemic opened up this world for all of us, though that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a hand sanitizer expert.

You probably know you should use it to help kill germs, but what are the different types of hand sanitizers? Is one better or more effective than the other?

Keep reading to find out.

Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers

The most common type of hand sanitizer that you will find is one that contains alcohol.

The most common brand is Purell, which you’ve probably used a good amount in the past year when learning how to keep your hands clean.

Most alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain at least 62% alcohol as their active ingredient, as this is the minimum standard set by the CDC. So, 62% of your hand sanitizer is alcohol, while skin conditioners, water, and emollients make up the rest.

The two safe types of alcohol-based sanitizers are ethanol and isopropyl alcohol. You should only use these, as other types such as methanol and propanol are very dangerous and should never be used as hand sanitizers.


There are a few drawbacks to using alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Because alcohol is the active ingredient, this type of hand sanitizer is flammable and can’t be used around children, in schools, in prisons, or in mental health facilities.

Because they are highly flammable, the fire department will only allow you to have a certain amount. And, because they contain alcohol, these types of hand sanitizers will expire faster than non-alcoholic hand sanitizers.

It is also important to note that alcohol-based sanitizers do not kill viruses but rather kill bacteria.

Non-alcoholic Hand Sanitizers

Non-alcoholic hand sanitizers do not use any alcohol but rather use disinfectants to help sanitize your hands. They are generally recommended to be used in places where alcohol-based sanitizers can’t be used, such as in schools and prisons.

They are safer and last longer but leave your hands with a sticky residue, unlike alcohol-based sanitizers. While this gives your hands a layer of protection, this may not be ideal when you’re learning how to keep your hands clean at work.

Both types of hand sanitizers are effective, and it is up to you which you prefer.

There are many different ways to keep clean, so consider hiring commercial office cleaning to go with your purchase of hand sanitizer.

Try the Different Types of Hand Sanitizers

If you’ve only ever used alcohol-based hand sanitizer, why not try non-alcohol too? You may end up liking it better or find it more effective.

Regardless, trying different types of hand sanitizers will keep your hands clean, which is the ultimate goal.

When you’re looking for more lifestyle advice like this, remember to browse through our collection of well-researched articles!