The organic ingredients in EO Hand Sanitizing Gel set it apart in reviews. Unlike conventional hand sanitizers -- such as Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer (*Est. $4 for 8 oz.) -- EO uses organic alcohol and organic essential plant oils as fragrances. There's also an unscented version, which users particularly appreciate. EO Hand Sanitizing Gel contains 62 percent alcohol, which public health officials say is in the most effective germ-killing range. And studies show that alcohol hand sanitizers that contain emollients (such as EO and most others) are less irritating to hands than soap and water. EO gets high marks for ingredient safety, environmental friendliness and social responsibility from watchdog websites. Although EO is available at several major online and brick-and-mortar retailers, you won't find it at every discount and drugstore like you will Purell, and EO costs twice as much as Purell.
An article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't recommend any brand names, but it does spell out exactly what a hand sanitizer must contain to be most effective. CosmeticsDatabase.com and GoodGuide.com evaluate the safety of EO Hand Sanitizing Gel's ingredients, ranking it against other hand sanitizers on that basis. Best Health magazine includes EO in a list of hand sanitizers to try, but no testing is involved. Users rate the various EO hand sanitizer formulations at Drugstore.com.
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1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
This definitive hand-hygiene article explains that hand sanitizers must contain between 60 percent and 95 percent alcohol to kill germs. Although the article doesn't mention specific brands, EO is one of several brands that meet the requirements.
Review: Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings, John M. Boyce, M.D. and Didier Pittet, M.D., Oct. 25, 2002
2. Cosmetics Database.com
Based on research into its ingredients, this arm of the Environmental Working Group concludes EO is one of the safest hand sanitizers you can buy. Several EO products are ranked against dozens of other hand sanitizers, including major brands like Purell.
Review: Hand Sanitizer, Editors of Skin Deep
This website takes products' environmental and social responsibility into account, as well as their safety for human health. EO hand sanitizer rates very highly, although products from Burt's Bees, Desert Essence and The Body Shop score slightly higher.
Review: Best Hand Sanitizer, Editors of GoodGuide.com
4. Best Health Magazine
EO Hand Sanitizing Gel is one of the five editors' picks in this article, thanks to its organic ingredients. However, the sanitizers are not ranked or tested.
Review: 5 Hand Sanitizers to Try, Editors of Best Health Magazine, Oct. 2009
Drugstore.com sells several versions of EO Hand Sanitizing Gel, each with its own separate ratings. The unscented and lemon versions get perfect 5-star ratings, but some users find the lavender version too strongly scented.
Review: EO Hand Sanitizer, Contributors to Drugstore.com