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Best Classic: Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Refreshing Gel at Amazon
"Purell's formula meets the CDC guidelines for fighting COVID-19."
"Each bottle comes with 500 sprays and is a TSA-friendly size."
Best Wipes: EO Sanitizing Wipes at Amazon
"Use these single-use sanitizing wipes to disinfect items around you as you fly."
Best for Kids: Babyganics Alcohol-Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer at Amazon
"Delivers all the qualities parents want in a hand sanitizer with an alcohol-free formula."
Best Organic: Dr. Bronner's Organic Hand Sanitizer at Thrive Market
"Dr. Bronner’s organic hand sanitizer is gentle enough to spray on any surface."
Best Moisturizing: Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash at Nordstrom
"Mandarin orange peel oil and rosemary leaf oil create a moisturizing feel."
Best for Sensitive Skin: The Honest Company Hand Sanitizer Spray at Amazon
"Passes the CDC's benchmarks and incorporates plenty of plant-based ingredients for sensitive skin."
Best Eco-Friendly: Puracy Gel Hand Sanitizer at Amazon
"Formulated without harsh chemicals, like sulfates, perfumes, and dyes, this excels in Earth friendliness."
Best Spa-Like Experience: Bath & Body Works PocketBack Hand Sanitizer at Amazon
"Bath & Body Works combines strong sanitizing with powerful aromatherapy in this pocket-sized product."
Best Plant Based: Megababe Squeaky Clean Hand Sanitizer at Anthropologie
"With 62 percent ethyl alcohol, this formula meets CDC guidelines and features multiple essential oils."
Vacationers and business travelers alike aim to stay healthy while traveling during COVID-19. No matter where they’re traveling, avoiding viruses and bacteria can be challenging—especially because travelers’ immune systems are unfamiliar with the new microbes and bacteria they’re encountering. The CDC recommends frequent hand washing to reduce exposure to COVID-19; however, in cases where that’s not possible, it advises using alcohol-based hand rubs with more than 60 percent ethanol or 70 percent isopropanol to effectively kill germs. Use enough hand sanitizer to coat your hand and fingers. Gently massage your entire hand, including in between your fingers and underneath your nails, until all the gel is absorbed and your hands are completely dry.
Keep reading for the best hand sanitizers for travel.
Our Top Picks
Best Classic: Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Refreshing Gel
The Purell brand has become synonymous with hand sanitizer. It has long been used in restrooms, schools, restaurants, hotels, and hospitals. Indeed, it can be used anytime, anywhere. Purell says its 70 percent ethyl alcohol formula eradicates 99.9 percent of common germs in as little as 15 seconds. This formula meets CDC guidelines for fighting COVID-19. The product also includes moisturizers and Vitamin E, so it leaves hands feeling soft and not sticky with residue. It’s a no-frills hand sanitizer that perfectly fits in your purse or pocket.
Best Spray: Touchland Power Mist Hydrating Hand Sanitizer
Touchland Power Mist Hydrating Hand Sanitizer is the go-to for stylish travelers. The packaging has a sleek, leak-proof design that’s made for slipping in your pocket or purse. With a TSA-friendly size, it’s also suitable for carry-on luggage. However, its small size doesn’t mean it’s not long lasting: Touchland promises 500 sprays from each bottle. The fast-evaporating mist doesn’t leave an alcohol smell like many hand sanitizers. Instead, it leaves the aroma of one of several scents, such as vanilla cinnamon, aloe vera, and citrus.
Best Wipes: EO Sanitizing Wipes
In August 2020, EO announced a partnership with Alaska Airlines to provide sanitizing wipes to passengers attesting to the products’ suitability for travel. These single-use wipes, which EO says are 99.9 percent effective against common germs, are both effective and soothing. Infused with natural ingredients such as French lavender, chamomile flower, and white tea essential oils, the wipes are extremely moisturizing. Additionally, since lavender is known for its calming effects, the aromatherapy is likely to bring about a feeling of tranquility—even if you have a case of travel jitters. The wipes employ organic natural alcohol derived from sugar cane and are biodegradable, so they are gentle on the environment as well as on hands. With wipes in hand, you’ll also be able to disinfect items around you as you fly.
Best for Kids: Babyganics Alcohol-Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer
As Babyganics says, “Two truths: Your baby wants to touch everything and everyone wants to touch your baby.” Those truths add up to another: you’re going to need a kid-safe hand sanitizer, especially while traveling, and this one delivers all the qualities parents want. Babyganics relies on FDA-approved benzalkonium chloride as an active ingredient and other plant-derived products, such as citric acid, for its alcohol-free formula.
It’s created without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, artificial fragrances, or dyes. That keeps the formula gentle for babies’ and children’s soft, sensitive skin. This alcohol-free formula is especially important as babies are prone to put their hands in their mouths. Its also dermatologist tested and non-allergenic. Reviewers attest the fast-drying formula isn’t smelly and doesn’t leave hands feeling tacky.
Best Organic: Dr. Bronner's Organic Hand Sanitizer
Dr. Bronner’s has made a name for itself with simple, earth-friendly products and its organic hand sanitizer is no exception. The formula includes only four ingredients: ethyl alcohol, glycerin, lavender oil, and water. All (except the water) are USDA-organic certified. The ethyl alcohol is also fair-trade certified. Mostly recycled packaging extends the product’s sustainability creed.
Dr. Bronner’s is equally effective as conventional hand sanitizers, which often incorporate harsh chemicals. The spray comes in a variety of scents including peppermint, however, the lavender version offers a soothing effect with this calming essential oil. It’s gentle enough to spray on any surface or to use as an air deodorizer.
Best Moisturizing: Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash
Aesop is known for seeking out the best ingredients both from science and from nature. It’s no surprise then that this formula combines the best of both worlds. This alcohol-based formula kills microbes and bacteria on contact. The alcohol is supported by naturally anti-bacterial and disinfecting ingredients such as mandarin orange peel oil and rosemary leaf oil. These added botanicals create a smooth, moisturizing feel. Reviewers attest it's fast drying and doesn’t leave a sticky residue.
Best for Sensitive Skin: The Honest Company Hand Sanitizer Spray
This alcohol-based formula passes the CDC-recommended benchmarks and incorporates plenty of plant-based ingredients to soothe your skin. Its active ingredients include calendula and chamomile flower extract, two essential oils known for their ability to bring ease and calm. Those with sensitive skin often avoid chemicals like parabens and synthetic fragrances. This formula has neither. Naturally derived glycerin and aloe leave the skin feeling soft and moisturized without residue.
The Honest Company established itself as a leader in children’s products. While this product isn’t recommended for infants, this sanitizer is suitable for kids.
Best Eco-Friendly: Puracy Gel Hand Sanitizer
Formulated without harsh chemicals, like sulfates, perfumes, and dyes, the Puracy Gel Hand Sanitizer excels in Earth friendliness. The formula is vegan and cruelty free (it’s not tested on animals), which supports the brand’s ethos. The 70 percent isopropyl alcohol-based formula provides strong germ-killing bona fides. However, plant-based moisturizers, such as orange peel, bergamot, and grapefruit, keep the product from overly drying the hands, even with repeated applications.
Best Spa-Like Experience: Bath & Body Works PocketBack Hand Sanitizer
Bath & Body Works combines strong sanitizing with powerful aromatherapy in this product. Infused with spearmint and eucalyptus, this product offers stress relief through aromatics and botanicals with each application. The 1-ounce size fits easily in pockets, purses, and luggage to take on the go.
Best Plant Based: Megababe Squeaky Clean Hand Sanitizer
Megababe was founded to solve real women’s problems ignored by the beauty industry, like thigh chafe. And it's back with another product solving a real-life problem. The brand's Squeaky Clean Hand Sanitizer is effective and takes the dread out of cleansing your hands. With 62 percent ethyl alcohol, this formula meets CDC guidelines.
The gel also incorporates a lot of plant power. It features aloe vera juice and multiple essential oils, including bergamot, orange peel, mandarin peel, cedarwood, lavender, geranium, sweet almond, and marula. Overall, the nourishing essential oils lock in moisture and create a pleasing scent that might even have you looking forward to sanitizing your hands.