A helping hand to your search for a hand sanitizer

Olivia Kharrazi

At the start of the pandemic, faced with a shortage of hand sanitizers, many of us were inclined to grab any and all available bottles from the shelf in fear that it would be a long time before stumbling upon such a coveted item again. During these hasty purchases, our sole criteria were antibacterial properties, so it’s safe to say we’ve all used our fair share of unpleasant hand sanitizers, whether it be from strong scents to sticky residues to staining spills. Now, as hand sanitizer is again an accessible product, we have the luxury of being picky with what we use to disinfect our hands. Especially considering our anticipated full return to in-person learning, having a disinfectant on hand at all times will become an increasingly essential addition to our backpacks. After scouring the shelves of a local Target to find a wide array of sanitizers, the findings have been ranked from worst to best. This guide will be based on medium, effectiveness, convenience and comfort to help you decide which 2 fluid ounce, pocket-sized hand sanitizer to seek out and which to steer clear of next time you’re at the store.

Illustration by Kalyn Dawes



Popping open Safeguard’s hand sanitizer, your nostrils are met with a stench of alcohol strong enough to make eyes water. Though the gel absorbs quickly into the skin, a sticky film remains, one that is reminiscent of syrupy food residue as opposed to a moisturizing lotion. The design of the flimsy flip-top cap can cause it to accidentally spill in your pocket or pouch. Though at $2.49, it is relatively cheap, there are more effective alternatives for a similar or better price.

Illustration by Kalyn Dawes



The Honest sanitizer is not sticky, taking less than a few seconds to rub in. Coming in a tall spray bottle, there is little chance of spillage due to its secure cap covering the nozzle. The company also advertises that the sanitizer is “made without synthetic fragrances, parabens, triclosan or benzalkonium chloride,” placing it slightly higher than the last sanitizer in the overall ranking. However, the potent, artificial “Coastal Surf” scent that still smells somewhat like alcohol makes the Honest hand sanitizer slightly headache-inducing. At a pricey $4.49, the unpleasant scent is not worth it, so either avoid this hand sanitizer altogether or opt for a different fragrance.

Illustration by Kalyn Dawes



The classic hand sanitizer Purell is everything you want and expect in a hand sanitizer, no less, no more. The gel does not dry out your hands and its quick absorption leaves no sticky residue. There was very little fragrance besides a clean, though slightly alcohol-infused, scent. However, the flimsy cap that results in a slight spillage when opening ranks it as a middle-ground option.

Illustration by Kalyn Dawes



Raw Sugar’s “Peppermint + Sea Salt” sanitizer smells incredible: refreshing without coming off as artificial or overpowering. The company advertised its ingredient health on the bottle, claiming the sanitizer is free of sulfates and parabens, is vegan and contains plant-derived ingredients. The cap made it difficult to spill and the $2.99 bottle is easy to fit in a pocket. The gel itself felt moisturizing, though it did take longer to absorb and felt as though there was the slightest sticky film after use, making it just short of five stars. 

Illustration by Kalyn Dawes



Hand in Hand’s sanitizer’s clean, grapefruit scent has no trace of alcohol while managing not to smell artificial or overly perfumed. Containing aloe, the gel feels moisturizing, and though a thicker consistency, it rubs in and absorbs with ease. The sanitizer is “vegan, cruelty-free and dye-free.” Though the cap is relatively secure, the bottle itself is rounder and therefore harder to put in a pocket. At a reasonable price of $3.69, be sure to snatch this sanitizer off the shelves at your local store.

Illustration by Kalyn Dawes



Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day’s refreshing, lavender-scented spray rubs in quickly and without leaving a tacky residue. According to the bottle, the aloe vera extract and glycerin in the sanitizer prevent it from drying out hands, and the spray was “made without parabens, phthalates or artificial colors.” Though it is packaged in a taller bottle, the secure spray bottle is slim enough to slide into a pocket. At $4.29, this sanitizer is worth every penny of its costly price, so definitely look for it on your next hunt for a hand sanitizer.


As Marin opens back up and we spend more and more time at school, our need for a reliable hand sanitizer becomes ever-important. Between Hand in Hand and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day hand sanitizers, knowing which product to stock up on on your next trip to the store won’t be difficult.