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Let's talk about hand sanitizer... 

It looks like there’s a new, possibly troubling, trend going around the internet:

~ homemade hand sanitizer ~ 

Given the seriousness of germ-killing, we wanted to review some of the common ingredients and make sure our customers know which are effective in killing germs/viruses, and which are not.

Do these ingredients kill germs and bacteria?


Vinegar is an excellent household cleaner, but not an excellent disinfectant. In other words, vinegar is a great way to clean dirt, grease, and grime from your countertops, but it will not eliminate a WIDE variety of pathogens on surfaces. 


Lemons do create an unfavorable environment for germs and bacteria, but lemon juice is not 100% effective in killing a wide range of pathogens. Fresh lemon juice is another example of an ingredient that makes an excellent household cleaner, but not an effective disinfectant.


Most vodka does technically contain the necessary amount of alcohol (70% or 140 proof) recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to disinfect surfaces, however it is not specifically mentioned by the CDC or the World Health Organization (WHO) as a registered disinfectant. Many homemade hand sanitizer recipes suggest using vodka as a disinfectant, but once it is diluted by other products, it essentially loses its effectiveness against germs and bacteria. 

Hydrogen Peroxide 

Hydrogen peroxide has traditionally been used as a wound cleaner and a household disinfectant. A bottle bought over the counter contains 3% hydrogen peroxide dissolved in water. It used to be a typical practice to pour hydrogen peroxide directly on open wounds, but that is no longer recommended. Again, if hydrogen peroxide is diluted with other ingredients, this may reduce its effectiveness on hard surfaces and on skin.  

Essential Oils 

Essential oils, (lemon oil, orange oil, and tea tree oil in particular) are often cited as natural alternatives for fighting microbes. You can find them in countless cosmetics because they’re less harsh on your skin and pose a lower chemical-exposure risk than synthetic substances. They are, in fact, natural disinfectants, however they have not been proven effective enough to be thoroughly antimicrobial.  

Witch Hazel 

Witch Hazel is a plant-derived substance used in many home remedies as a sanitizer and topical treatment for pain. It’s a holistic alternative for issues like mosquito bites and irritated skin. It has been proven effective in limited cases to target certain bacteria, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not listed it as an effective measure for killing a wide variety of germs, especially when used on surfaces.  

Why have some hand sanitizer ingredients been banned by the FDA? 

During the peak of demand for hand sanitizer, a slew of products became available that claimed they used ethanol alcohol (a safe form of alcohol, also used in TouchSmart), but, in fact, used a form of alcohol which is unsafe for skin contact. Methanol or “wood alcohol” has a toxic effect when absorbed through the skin or ingested. The FDA maintains a full list of hand sanitizer brands that consumers should avoid. Have a look at the list here. Many of these brands were sold at major retailers including Walmart, Costco, and BJ’s Wholesale Club.

TouchSmart is your first line of defense. 

By now you may be wondering, “What IS a good solution for sanitizing my hands when water and soap are not available?”

This is exactly why we made TouchSmart. It’s the least harmful product for your hands because it’s not intended for use on your hands at all! You simply spray TouchSmart on a surface and wait 30 seconds. This is called the “dwell time” and it is necessary so TouchSmart can do it’s damage to surface contaminants. We made it in a portable bottle so you can take heavy-hitting cleaning power with you on-the-go. And we chose only the best ingredients to be included in every bottle of TouchSmart - denatured ethanol alcohol, essential oils, and water. It smells great AND fights the microscopic battles you can’t on your own.

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