Written by Stacey Kelleher. Reviewed by cleaning expert Sean Busch.

Around the world, people are working hard to “flatten the curve” and stop the spread of COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus) with social distancing, staying at home, and disinfecting household surfaces. 

We’ve all heard how important it is to effectively wash your hands, but there’s been a lot of reference to hand sanitizer as well. For the last few months, we’ve received an increasing number of questions about our natural hand sanitizers, how to use them properly, and how effective they are at killing COVID-19. 

We’re here to answer these questions and help you and your family stay healthy now – and all year long.  

How to Apply Hand Sanitizer 

To help Puracy Foaming Hand Sanitizer do its job, you need to apply it correctly. Just like washing your hands, it’s all about the technique: 

  1. Pump a small amount into the palm of your hand. 
  2. Next, spread the product thoroughly over both hands (front and back). 
  3. Rub your hands together quickly for at least 15 seconds or until they are dry.

how long hand sanitizer

From start to finish, using hand sanitizer should take about as long as it does to wash your hands, as recommended by the CDC.

How Long Does It Take Hand Sanitizer to Kill Germs? 

If used correctly, Puracy Foaming Hand Sanitizer kills 99.9% of common household germs within 15 seconds. 

Created by a team of Ph.D. chemists, our non-toxic, non-drying hand sanitizer is designed to kill germs while leaving skin feeling smooth. This is good news when we’re washing and sanitizing our hands more than ever. 

How Often Should I Use Hand Sanitizer?

While Puracy Hand Sanitizer is highly effective, the CDC states that washing your hands with soap and water is still the best way to remove germs from your hands

Hand sanitizer is made for those times when you just can’t get to soap and water (like at the gas pump or the park). And because Puracy Foaming Hand Sanitizer is gentle on skin, you don’t have to worry about using it too much. 

To Wash or Sanitize? That Is the Question.

wash or sanitize hands

The CDC recommends cleaning your hands

  • Before eating 
  • When preparing food
  • When caring for someone who is ill 
  • When treating a cut or wound
  • After using the restroom 
  • After changing a diapers/helping a child use the restroom 
  • After touching an animal, their food, or their waste
  • After handling garbage
  • After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
During this time of hyper-vigilance, it’s also smart to wash or sanitize your hands anytime you come into contact with public surfaces, like door handles and shopping carts.

Can I Make My Own Hand Sanitizer? 

You’ve probably seen recipes for homemade hand sanitizer, but do they work? There are a few reasons why homemade hand sanitizer is not good for fighting COVID-19.

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Some homemade hand sanitizer recipes may reduce the number of germs, but not kill them entirely. This is especially true if they contain less than 60% ethanol alcohol or 70% isopropanol. Next, recipes that aren’t mixed correctly can be unpredictable and end up irritating or burning the skin. That’s especially concerning for sanitizers used by children. 

The best way to prevent infection or the spread of viruses is always to wash your hands with soap and water. When you can’t do that, you should always choose a commercial product that’s been tested and proven to kill germs. 

Can I Use Hand Sanitizer to Clean Electronics?

hand sanitizer clean electronics

With all of this talk about disinfecting household surfaces, you might be wondering how to clean your screens and electronics.  

Your cell phone is one of the dirtiest surfaces you regularly come in contact with, carrying around 10 times more germs than the average toilet. That’s why it’s important to clean your electronics on a regular basis. While it may seem convenient to use hand sanitizer, it shouldn’t be your go-to method. 

Here’s a simple method for cleaning your electronics

  1. Make a solution of equal parts distilled water and isopropyl alcohol. 
  2. Dip an edgeless microfiber towel in the solution and wring it out. 
  3. Move the damp cloth across the surface from one side to the other (avoid concentric circles). 
  4. Using a dry microfiber towel, wipe up any beads of moisture. 

Microfiber is ideal for electronics because it won’t leave streaks or scratch surfaces.   

Is Hand Sanitizer Safe for Children?

For children, hand sanitizer is safe for external use, but we know younger children tend to explore their world by putting things in their mouths. Because many commercial hand sanitizers are available in bright colors and appealing scents, kids may think they are meant to drink. 

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can lead to alcohol poisoning if consumed. In fact, between 2011 and 2015, US poison control centers received nearly 85,000 calls about children and hand sanitizer exposure

Here are some tips for using hand sanitizer safely around children: 

  • Store hand sanitizer out of your child’s reach. 
  • Only put the recommended amount on a child’s hands and watch to make sure they don’t put it in their mouths. 
  • Teach children how to use hand sanitizer correctly. 
  • Consider non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers. 
  • If you suspect your child has ingested hand sanitizer, contact your local poison control center immediately.

Why Puracy Foaming Hand Sanitizer Is a Safer Option for Small Children 

Puracy Foaming Hand Sanitizer is not just free of alcohol, but it’s also free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, phosphates, synthetic perfumes, and dyes. It’s safe to use on every member of the family, yet still effective against the spread of germs and viruses. 

Should I Buy Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer? 

There is no disputing that alcohol-based hand sanitizer is effective at killing germs. But with frequent use – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic – alcohol in many of these products can actually damage the skin. Compromising the skin’s outermost layer leaves it dry, cracked, and more prone to infection.

At Puracy, our goal was to create a hand sanitizer that was just as effective as leading alcohol-based alternatives – but not as drying to the skin. 

Why Puracy Gel Hand Sanitizer Is Different

Puracy Gel Hand Sanitizer

We launched a 70% IPA Gel Hand Sanitizer in March of 2020. IPA is a gold-standard skin antiseptic (the same solution used whenever you give blood or receive an injection), but like other Puracy products, we’ve loaded this formula with plant-based moisturizers to provide a silky-smooth feeling once it dries. This ensures that your skin doesn’t dry out after repeated use. 

Despite the accelerated research and development process, this hand sanitizer meets Puracy standards for performance. When used correctly (for at least 15 seconds), this product is FDA-approved to kill 99.9% of germs. 

Why Did We Develop an Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer? 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we simply weren’t able to source our regular components (especially our foaming pump) fast enough to serve our current customers. When we saw that stores were selling out – and prices for hand sanitizers started skyrocketing on the internet – we knew we had to step in to provide safe, affordable products to every customer.

Though this is a new product, we stand by its efficacy and skin safety. Offering both the Foaming and Gel Hand Sanitizers will allow us to catch up with demand in April, and we thank all of our customers for their patience and patronage.

Myths: Alcohol vs. Benzalkonium Chloride Hand Sanitizers

benzalkonium chloride structure

So if Puracy Foaming Hand Sanitizer doesn’t contain alcohol, how does it kill so many germs? Our germ-fighting ingredient, benzalkonium chloride (BAC), is an ingredient commonly used in hand sanitizers and household disinfectants to destroy bacteria and viruses. 

puracy natural hand sanitizer

There seems to be some misconceptions about our BAC-based foaming hand sanitizer and how it compares to alcohol-based versions. We’re happy to clear those up here:

1. The FDA Regulates Hand Sanitizers, Not the CDC

The CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are two entirely different government entities, each responsible for regulating different consumer products. 

Puracy follows the governing body that regulates the specific product(s) we offer. Since the FDA is the governing agency for hand sanitizers, we focus on their specific standards and policies. In this case, the FDA has approved the statement on our hand sanitizer which reads, “Kills 99.9% of germs in 15 seconds.” The FDA bases their endorsement on rigorous clinical data with Level 1 studies. 

2. Only 3 Ingredients Are FDA-Approved for Hand Sanitizers

In 2019, the FDA banned 28 different ingredients for hand sanitizers, approving the following three: 

3. No Hand Sanitizer Is Clinically Proven to Kill Coronavirus

Currently, the reality is that no hand sanitizer is clinically proven to kill COVID-19. Because this strain of virus is new, there hasn’t been enough work done to determine what works to kill it and what doesn’t. There certainly haven’t been any Level 1 clinical studies completed to date. 

4. Your Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Might Not Even Be Effective 

While we all want a product guaranteed to prevent the spread of coronavirus and other pathogens, we need to wait until the FDA can conduct Level 1 clinical studies. Until then, there is no hand sanitizer that can claim to kill COVID-19 – even those containing alcohol. 

Stay Healthy During These Unprecedented Times

how to wash hands

Here are some of our top tips for staying healthy during this time of uncertainty: 

  • Wash your hands often (and correctly). 
  • Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid touching public surfaces whenever possible. 
  • Supplement hand-washing with hand sanitizer, and rub it in for at least 15 seconds. 

In addition to keeping your hands clean, be sure to: 

  • Get plenty of restful sleep
  • Exercise whenever you can
  • Eat a nutritious, balanced diet. 
  • Practice self-care every day by doing something that makes you feel good. 

Keep Your Hands (and Your Home) Clean 

At Puracy, our primary goal has always been to keep your family healthy with safe, natural household cleaners and personal care products. And like every Puracy product, both our Gel Hand Sanitizer and Foaming Hand Sanitizer are gentle on skin yet tough on germs. 

Unlike other companies, we don’t see the spread of COVID-19 as an opportunity to earn a profit: You can order our hand sanitizers and other Puracy products for the same fair prices.

After all, we’re in this together.

For more practical ways to stay healthy and keep dirt and germs at bay, check out these previous posts: 

Tips to Naturally Clean your Bathroom

The Best, Safest Ways to Clean Baby Bottles and Toys

Weekly House Cleaning Checklist (with Printable Chart)