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Hand Sanitizers: Ratings of Sources

Total of 16 Sources
Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings
by John M. Boyce, M.D. and Didier Pittet, M.D.
Our AssessmentThis comprehensive article has become the hand-sanitizer bible for public health officials. The authors review more than 400 hand-hygiene studies and conclude that hand sanitizer -- specifically, sanitizer with 60 percent to 95 percent alcohol -- is a suitable way for health care workers and surgeons to disinfect their hands, and it's less drying to skin than soap and water.
Tolerance and Acceptability of 14 Surgical and Hygienic Alcohol-based Hand Rubs
by Girard, R. et al
Our AssessmentResearchers at a French hospital test 14 commercially available hand-sterilizing rubs to see which ones staffers find least irritating to their skin (all of the rubs are suitably effective for hospital use). Some of the products are surgical sterilizers, while others are suitable for ordinary hygiene. Purell is the only popular consumer brand tested, and it wins in the hygienic category.
3. Cosmetics Database.com
As of Jan. 2011
Hand Sanitizer
by Editors of Skin Deep
Our AssessmentThis website, operated by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, evaluates many cosmetics, soaps and other items for ingredient safety. Hand sanitizers from the brands All Terrain, EO, Purple Prairie, Sani Hands, Nourish, Nexcare, Healing-Scents and For My Kids all get a "low hazard" rating. Most popular brands like Germ-X, Purell and store brands get a "moderate hazard" rating, although a few are considered "high hazard" because they contain ingredients that have been shown to contribute to cancer, reproductive problems, etc. Although the ratings are based on reliable research, they only judge the safety of the ingredients -- not how safe the products are overall, or how well they kill germs. Some of the "low hazard" products don't contain alcohol, which experts say is the most effective germ-killing ingredient.
4. GoodGuide.com
As of Jan. 2011
Best Hand Sanitizer
by Editors of GoodGuide.com
Our AssessmentLike CosmeticsDatabase.com, this website ranks a wide variety of products based on their health and environmental impacts, and GoodGuide.com also takes a company's social responsibility into account. Methodology is clearly outlined. Hand sanitizers from Burt's Bees, The Body Shop and Desert Essence earn the highest ratings.
5. WCPO (Cincinnati)
Nov. 4, 2009
Hand Sanitizers or Soap and Water: Which is Best?
by Editors of WCPO
Our AssessmentSeveral TV stations publish versions of this test on their websites. Sixteen 9- and 10-year-old children test eight hand sanitizers to find out which one kills the most germs, and then they compare the results to those of four testers who used just soap and water. Volunteers press their fingers onto petri dishes and then use a hand sanitizer and press again. The petri dishes are incubated to grow bacteria. Three brands significantly reduce bacteria – Walgreens Foaming Hand Sanitizer (discontinued), Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer with Aloe and Germ-X. Other formulas gave moderate to slight results. Only one brand (Smart & Silky Kid's Foaming Hand Sanitizer) gave little to no reduction in bacteria, but it doesn't contain any alcohol. It's important to note that each volunteer has varying degrees of bacteria on their hands. There was no significant difference from the kids who washed with soap and water.
6. KSL (Salt Lake City)
May 19, 2008
Hand Sanitizers: Clean Hands or a False Sense of Security?
by Debbie Dujanovic
Our AssessmentAnother TV station does its version of the petri-dish test, this time with sixth-graders. Two of the 11 hand sanitizers kill 99 percent of the germs present on their volunteers: Walgreens and Delta. Other brands kill less of the bacteria, but testers note that the children had varying amounts of bacteria on their hands to begin with.
7. 3Luxe.com
Not Dated
Hand Cleaners
by Editors of 3Luxe.com
Our AssessmentEditors of 3Luxe.com rely on published reviews and professional information to choose their top three hand sanitizer picks. Details are given about each formula, but it isn't clear whether any of them were tested by 3Luxe.com. Top picks include sanitizers from EO, Nexcare and Method.
8. About.com
Not Dated
Review of Frais Hand Sanitizer
by Jen Adkins
Our AssessmentJen Adkins, the skincare guide at About.com, reviews Frais Hand Sanitizer – a luxury sanitizer developed in Australia from natural ingredients. Adkins gives the formula 4 out of 5 stars for having a pleasant smell and for leaving hands soft. No other brands are mentioned. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
9. Best Health Magazine
Oct. 2009
4 Things You Should Know About Hand Sanitizers
by Editors of Best Health Magazine
Our AssessmentThis myth-busting article is based on solid science, and it's easy to understand. It concisely explains why hand sanitizers "don't cause super-bacteria" and don't irritate hands as much as soap. A link leads to the editors' five hand sanitizer picks. Each one gets a paragraph explaining why it's recommended, but editors don't rank the sanitizers or mention any testing.
10. Amazon.com
As of Jan. 2011
Hand Sanitizer
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentUsers rate hand sanitizers here. You can sort products by their ratings to quickly see the best-rated ones. Two alcohol-based sanitizers (Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer Wipes and Germ-X Soft Wipes) and two alcohol-free sanitizers from HandClens and CleanWell get the best reviews. However, these reviews concentrate on the scent or feel of products. They are not based on any scientific evidence of germ-killing ability.
11. Drugstore.com
As of Jan. 2011
Hand Sanitizers
by Contributors to Drugstore.com
Our AssessmentThis site sells most major brands of hand sanitizers, and you can sort the products from best- to worst-reviewed. One sanitizer earns a perfect 5-star rating with nearly two dozen reviews: Nexcare Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer. Other hand sanitizers that do well in reviews include products from Cleanwell, Purell, Burt's Bees and Germ-X. Reviews are short, but they include lists of pros and cons. As always, user reviews judge things like scent and feel, not how well the products kill germs.
12. TotalBeauty.com
As of Jan. 2011
Hand Sanitizer
by Contributors to TotalBeauty.com
Our AssessmentThere are only a few hand sanitizers listed for review at TotalBeauty.com, and most receive only a couple of comments. A couple of formulas from Bath & Body Works, however, are reviewed more than 80 times and receive high overall ratings. Drugstore brands like Purell and Germ-X are not included in the reviews.
13. Epinions.com
As of Jan. 2011
Hand Sanitizer
by Contributors to Epinions.com
Our AssessmentThis site collects user reviews of many hand sanitizers, but it's not easy to find what you're looking for. Every size and formulation of Purell, for example, gets a separate entry with maybe one or two reviews, and there's no way to sort the sanitizers to see the best-reviewed at a glance. Two popular brands, Purell and Germ-X, get very high marks in most reviews, but Germ-X gets slightly higher ratings for smelling nice and being gentle on the skin.
14. Slate.com
Feb. 24, 2010
How to Sell Germ Warfare
by Darshak Sanghavi
Our AssessmentSlate.com refutes several of the claims about the efficacy of hand sanitizers by citing studies that show that it does not reduce the spreading of the flu virus or other respiratory infections. The author states that while these formulas have their place in hospital settings, it would be nearly impossible to treat the hands of children and adults for every object they come in contact with throughout the day – which can be as many as 30 per minute. The author also points out that the flu virus is an airborne disease that is mostly spread by tiny droplets in the air (as from a sneeze) rather than hand contact.
15. The Early Show
Oct. 25, 2010
How Long Do Hand Sanitizers Really Work?
by Dr. Jennifer Ashton
Our AssessmentCBS' "The Early Show" discusses hand sanitizers with Dr. Jennifer Ashton, an obstetrics and gynecology practitioner and CBS News correspondent. Ashton says that although hand sanitizers are helpful in reducing the transmission of illness-inducing germs they don't eliminate germs completely. The sanitizers also only last for two minutes, but she says those two minutes are important for keeping germs in the immediate vicinity at bay. She doesn't explain, however, what happens after those two minutes expire.
16. Science Daily
March 24, 2010
Are Hand Sanitizers Better than Hand Washing Against the Common Cold?
by Editors of Science Daily magazine
Our AssessmentEditors of Science Daily magazine summarize the findings of a recent study published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. In the study, researchers find alcohol-based hand sanitizers to be more effective than hand washing with soap and water at reducing rhinovirus (which is responsible for 30 to 35 percent of cases of the common cold in adults). Sanitizers containing both ethanol and organic acids (such as citric acid, lactic acid and uric acid) are shown to further reduce the recovery of the virus from hands for up to four hours following application. No specific brands are mentioned.
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