How to safely select and use hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA has identified serious safety concerns with some hand sanitizer brands during recent testing. At this time, there are over 150 hand sanitizers they recommend consumers stop using immediately. Read below to find out if your product is on the list.

The FDA’s Do-Not-Use List

Before you purchase and use a hand sanitizer, the FDA recommends checking their do-not-use list. This list is updated regularly as new test results are released. For your safety, do not purchase any hand sanitizer made by manufacturers on the FDA do-not-use list. If you currently have a product listed on this list, stop using it right away. Do not pour the product down the drain, flush it, or accidentally mix it with other liquids. Throw the sanitizer away in a hazardous waste container, if possible. If you’re unsure if you have hazardous waste disposal, contact your trash or recycling company or reach out to your local government to ask where to eliminate hazardous waste.

Choosing an Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

During a pandemic where your options may be limited, it may be difficult and frustrating to distinguish which alcohol-based hand sanitizer will keep you and your family safe. To choose a hand-sanitizer, check the product label and follow these do’s and don’ts:


  • Purchase a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. It is often listed on the label as ethyl alcohol, ethanol, isopropanol, or 2-propanol.
  • Read label directions carefully for use instructions.


  • Purchase a hand sanitizer that contains under 60% alcohol.
  • Choose a hand sanitizer marketed as “alcohol-free.”
  • Pick an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has packaging that resembles a food or beverage.
  • Purchase a product that is fraudulently described as FDA-approved. No consumer hand sanitizer is FDA-approved, so that claim on any product is not trustworthy.

Is Hand Sanitizer Effective Against COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to prevent the spread of and decrease the risk of getting COVID-19 is by washing your hands with plain soap and water. The CDC advises washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or longer, especially after using the restroom, after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose, and before eating. If soap and water are not available, consumers may use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

The information contained in this blog is merely for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice.