Best Hand Sanitizer for Kids of 2020

Updated
If you want to be sure your kid’s hand sanitizer is safe and effective, read this.

As most of us know by now, the number one way to reduce the risk of infection from germs, of all kinds, is washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water (1). This removes dirt and germs, and the soap also destroys the fatty outer shell that most viruses have, rendering them harmless (2).

While using soap and water is always the top choice, when they aren’t available, your next best bet is hand sanitizer. But with so many choices out there, finding the best hand sanitizer for kids isn’t always a simple matter.


Are Hand Sanitizers Safe for Kids?

From a germ standpoint, hand sanitizers are not as effective as regular soap because they do not affect the virus’s outer layer as much. When soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol is the next best thing (3).

When used correctly, a hand sanitizer is safe for kids to use, providing the little one in question does not have a specific illness or condition that prevents them from using it.

However, the American Association Of Poison Control Centers has reported a 46 percent rise in cases of accidental hand sanitizer ingestion (4). Until a child is old enough to use it themselves safely, parents should keep hand sanitizers out of reach and supervise their dispensing and use.

You can also check the bottle label to see if the hand sanitizer has been “denatured.” This means it has an ingredient added to make the sanitizer taste bitter, thus minimizing the risk of it being swallowed.

It is also essential to check which kind of alcohol is used in the hand sanitizer. Isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol) can be more toxic than ethyl alcohol (ethanol) if swallowed (5). In addition, some hand sanitizers have been found to contain methanol, which is harmful if eaten or used repeatedly on the skin. It’s best to avoid this ingredient whenever possible.

At What Age Can a Child Use Hand Sanitizer?

Some doctors say it’s fine to use hand sanitizers on babies, while other doctors disagree, saying it’s not safe. You can ask your pediatrician to weigh in on your baby’s usage of it since they know your baby’s health history. Or, you can opt to skip it for your baby and focus on handwashing only.

Until they are mature enough to use hand sanitizers safely, though, children should only use them under the supervision of adults.

Dispense and supervise the application of hand sanitizer until you can be sure your child will not:

  • Lick their hands before their hand sanitizer is dry.
  • Taste, eat or drink, hand sanitizer.
  • Use the hand sanitizer anywhere other than on their hands.
  • Share or give their hand sanitizer to anyone else.

Types of Hand Sanitizers for Kids

Different types of hand sanitizers for kids have their pros and cons. Using the proper application technique is more important than the type of hand sanitizer you choose.

You have four options to choose from regarding types of hand sanitizers.

Foaming

Steris Alcare Foam Alcohol 9 oz.
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Foaming hand sanitizer is less likely to slide off of the hands than gel sanitizer, meaning most of the sanitizer you squirt onto your hands will stay there. But, because of the ingredients used to make the alcohol foam, it tends to be more expensive.


Gel

Flents Lil' Squirt Hand Sanitizer Gel Made with Vitamin E + Moisturizers, 2.7 Fl...
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Gel sanitizer appears as a little pool on your child’s hand when you pump it out. It’s easy to see how much you’ve applied, and this popular type of sanitizer is economical as well.


Spray

CLEAN MONSTER 4 oz 3 Pack Lavender Peppermint Hand Sanitizer Spray - Made in USA...
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Spray hand sanitizers can be easier for an adult to apply to the hands of a child, but it can be difficult to see where the spray has been applied. You risk not using enough to be effective.


Wipes

Diamond Wipes Instant Hand Sanitizer Alcohol Wipes 65% Ethyl Alcohol Box Of...
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Hand sanitizer wipes are convenient for an adult to use on a child’s hands. But some studies have shown that using wipes can be less effective than other types of hand sanitizer for kids.


How to Choose the Best Hand Sanitizers for Kids

Some hand sanitizers are marketed specifically as “kid-friendly” or something similar. Rather than choose one of these on the assumption it is the best for your child, consider these factors:

Alcohol Content

Both the FDA and the CDC recommend the use of a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol (6). Alcohol-free hand sanitizers are not as effective as those that contain alcohol. They may only reduce the growth of germs, if even that, rather than kill them outright.

We are only recommending hand sanitizers for kids that contain a minimum of 60 percent alcohol.

Type

Choose a hand sanitizer that you and your child will be most likely to use effectively. We have tried an extensive range of hand sanitizers for kids in our family. To ensure you’ll find something appropriate for you and your family, there’s at least one of each type on our list.

Scent

An unpleasant scent can be off-putting and may prevent your child from using a hand sanitizer. Many places such as schools, doctors’ offices, and other publicly accessible buildings have a “scent-free” policy to protect those who have allergies. Also, picking a hand sanitizer with a great scent may make them want to ingest it.

Wherever possible, we have chosen unscented or mildly scented hand sanitizers.

Portability

Travel size hand sanitizer bottles are easy for your child to carry with them. From experience, we know that small bottles are also more expensive and more likely to be lost.

Consider whether it would be best for your family to purchase smaller bottles of hand sanitizer or to buy a full-size, or even an extra-large container. You can then dispense it into smaller travel bottles or one of the novelty hand sanitizer containers for kids.

Appealing Packaging

Avoid hand sanitizer that is sold in novelty packaging. This can make it more likely your child will try to taste it.

Child’s Age

The kids’ hand sanitizers on our list were chosen because we would be happy for our own kids to use them, but only when they are old enough to be trusted.

Other than that, we did not take a child’s age into account when choosing hand sanitizers.

Safety

Hand sanitizers with 60 percent alcohol, or more, are regulated by the FDA. To ensure you are buying a product that is safe for you and your family, check the label to ensure it has been tested by the FDA and that it does not contain any methanol or 1-propanol.

If you are unsure about the hand sanitizer you are considering, check the FDA website. They have a list of the hand sanitizers you should not buy (7).


The Best Hand Sanitizers for Kids of 2020

Taking all of this information into consideration, we have put together our top ten hand sanitizers for kids.

1. CLEAN MONSTER Lavender Peppermint Spray

Best Spray Hand Sanitizer For Kids

CLEAN MONSTER 4 oz 3 Pack Lavender Peppermint Hand Sanitizer Spray - Made in USA...
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Clean Monster hand sanitizer is lightly scented with lavender and peppermint oil. The result is a product that doesn’t have an off-putting chemical or alcohol smell. Instead, the sanitizer smells appealing, but not in a way that might encourage a child to taste it.

The liquid sanitizer sprays evenly from the bottle and doesn’t clog up the nozzle like some other spray sanitizers do. A single spray is enough to coat a kid-size pair of hands. That means you won’t need to get a second job to support your hand sanitizing habit.

This company offset the high alcohol content of their hand sanitizer by enriching it with vitamin E. This addition moisturizes your skin each time you use the sanitizer and minimizes the risk of dry or cracked hands.

PROS:
  • Easy, efficient pump spray bottle.
  • Moisturizes your child’s hands.
  • Small enough for a backpack.
CONS:
  • The lid may come off the bottle quite easily.
  • Packaging and labeling have a homemade look.

Additional Specs

Type Of SanitizerSpray – pump bottle
Alcohol %70 percent
Type Of AlcoholEthanol alcohol
ScentLavender and peppermint
Bottle Size4 fluid ounces

2. Baby Bum Hand Sanitizer

Best Vegan Hand Sanitizer For Kids

Product Image of the Baby Bum Hand Sanitizer
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Part of the Baby Bum line from Sun Bum, this hand sanitizer is one of the few products we assessed that is specially formulated for the youngest users, while still containing alcohol. This is an important point. Most hand sanitizers for small children are proudly alcohol-free, but those formulations will not protect as effectively as Baby Bum, which meets the CDC guidelines for hand sanitizers.

The spray is certified vegan, cruelty-free, and is dermatologically tested so you can be sure it is not only safe for your kids, but no other creatures were harmed in its creation or production.

PROS:
  • The steady spray makes it easy for kids or adults to apply.
  • Hypoallergenic, paraben, sulfate, silicone, and phthalate-free.
  • Dries quickly without leaving any sticky residue.
CONS:
  • Looks like a baby or toddler product, so your older kids might not want to take it to school with them.

Additional Specs

Type Of SanitizerSpray – pump bottle
Alcohol %62 percent
Type Of AlcoholEthanol alcohol
ScentTropical, containing aloe, cucumber, coconut, banana, passionflower, and white ginger
Bottle Size2 fluid ounces

3. Flents Lil' Squirt Hand Sanitizer Gel

Best Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer For Kids

Flents Lil' Squirt Hand Sanitizer Gel Made with Vitamin E + Moisturizers, 2.7 Fl...
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Flents Lil’ Squirt hand sanitizing gel has just enough alcohol to be effective, making it less likely than other high alcohol gels to dry out sensitive skin. This “kind to skin” element also benefits from the addition of vitamin E and other moisturizers to leave hands soft after use.

The gel is much like other hand sanitizer gels in texture and feel. So, beware the gel might slide off your child’s hands if they’re not careful. That’s not a big deal, but something to be aware of if your kids are going to be using it unsupervised.

In the same way that the texture is pretty standard, so, too, is the smell. There isn’t a strong perfumed scent coming from this one, only that vague whiff of an alcohol type smell we have all become familiar with.

PROS:
  • Small, refillable bottles.
  • Easy to transport in a purse or backpack.
  • Made in the U.S.
CONS:
  • Slight hint of alcohol smell.

Additional Specs

Type Of SanitizerGel – flip-top bottle
Alcohol %62 percent
Type Of AlcoholEthanol alcohol
ScentUnscented
Bottle Size2.7 fluid ounces

4. Fresh Monster Hand Sanitizer

Best Hand Sanitizer For School

Fresh Monster Hand Sanitizer, 70% Ethyl Alcohol, Made in USA, Mini Travel size...
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Packaged in a convenient, shatter-proof bottle, this hand sanitizer from Fresh Monster is a good option for the 6 years and older crew. Put this bottle in your child’s backpack, and you have a fighting chance of it coming home at the end of the day, undamaged.

The flip-top bottle lowers the chances of lost bottle caps, while the packaging is cute, but not too childish. The bottle is small enough to carry around in a backpack, but not so little it is easily lost.

The gel is quick-drying and does not leave your child’s hands covered in a sticky residue. If you worry about the safety of hand sanitizers for kids or are worried about the quality of the ingredients, you have the reassurance that this hand sanitizer is made in the U.S.

PROS:
  • Manufactured in a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified facility, which is an environmentally-friendly choice.
  • Cruelty-free.
  • No dyes, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, or triclosan.
CONS:
  • The 70 percent alcohol in the sanitizer may be drying for those with sensitive skin.

Additional Specs

Type Of SanitizerGel – flip-top bottle
Alcohol %70 percent
Type Of AlcoholIsopropyl alcohol
ScentUnscented
Bottle Size2 fluid ounces

5. Pipette Hand Sanitizer

Best Fragrance-Free Hand Sanitizer For Kids

Pipette Hand Sanitizer No Rinse Plant-Derived 100% Squalane (2-fl oz, 12-pack)
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This sanitizer is great for those with sensitive noses because it doesn’t have any particular odor.

And if you are looking for an effective hand sanitizer for kids, but you are concerned about the ingredients’ adverse health or environmental impacts, Pipette is an excellent choice.

Pipette hand sanitizer is Environmental Working Group verified, so it is free from ingredients on the EWG’s “unacceptable” list. This list is comprised of ingredients that raise health, ecotoxicity, and/or contamination concerns. Products that are EWG verified must also list all ingredients on the packaging and are subject to random independent product quality testing.

The gel is quick-drying, and the bottles of sanitizer come in a range of sizes from refillable travel bottles up to large pump bottles. This makes it convenient and cost-effective to buy a pack of mini bottles and refill them from a larger pump bottle at home.

PROS:
  • No smell, either natural or added.
  • Independently verified as using the safest ingredients.
  • Ethically sourced, squalane base.
  • It doesn’t dry out hands.
CONS:
  • Some users do not like the texture.

Additional Specs

Type Of SanitizerGel – depress lid bottle
Alcohol %65 percent
Type Of AlcoholEthanol alcohol
ScentUnscented
Bottle Size2 fluid ounces

6. Fairy Tales Hand Sanitizer Spray

Best Natural Hand Sanitizer For Kids

Fairy Tales Hand Sanitizer Spray- 80% Alcohol - Portable Hand Sanitizer for Kids...
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Fairy Tales hand sanitizer is 80 percent ethyl alcohol, also known as ethanol alcohol, which is well above the CDC minimum of 60 percent.

However, this high alcohol content also puts some users off. There have been comments about the sanitizer spray smelling strongly of alcohol. But there are also plenty of people who say the spray has the partly medicinal, partly alcohol smell that is common to the majority of unscented hand sanitizers for kids.

The spray bottle is easy to use, and the nozzle doesn’t clog up in the way that some spray product nozzles do.

So, it is a matter of opinion as to whether the smell is a deal-breaker. With its high alcohol content, non-sticky product, and great spray bottle, though, it’s worth a look.

PROS:
  • High alcohol level.
  • Easy to apply.
  • Non-sticky formula.
  • It’s free of many undesirable ingredients, including formaldehyde, phthalates, paraben, triclosan, and sulfates.
  • Cruelty-free and it’s a vegan option.
CONS:
  • Off-putting smell for some.
  • Not the most affordable.

Additional Specs

Type Of SanitizerSpray – pump bottle
Alcohol %80 percent
Type Of AlcoholEthanol alcohol
ScentUnscented
Bottle Size3.3 fluid ounces

7. Steris Alcare Plus Foaming Hand Rub

Best Foaming Hand Sanitizer For Kids

Steris Alcare Foam Alcohol 9 oz.
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This foaming hand rub from Steris is a popular hand sanitizer, and part of this popularity is due to its use in hospital settings. The foam is formulated for frequent, professional use and has only recently become available as a home and personal use product.

The container has a nozzle top, much like those found on hair mousse bottles, and the foam is dispensed by turning the bottle upside down and pressing down on the nozzle. This is not difficult to do, but younger kids may struggle with tipping the bottle and squirting the foam onto their hands.

This product rubs in quickly and easily, while the foaming formulation prevents the sanitizer from sliding quickly off of the hands in the same way as some gel hand sanitizers do.

PROS:
  • The reassurance of a professional grade product.
  • Meets FDA standards as a surgical scrub.
  • Non-sticky.
CONS:
  • The bottle can be awkward for younger kids.
  • Creamy texture can result in overuse by some kids.

Additional Specs

Type Of SanitizerFoam – depress nozzle
Alcohol %62 percent
Type Of AlcoholEthanol alcohol
ScentUnscented
Bottle Size9 fluid ounces

8. Megababe Squeaky Clean Hand Sanitizer

Best Citrus Hand Sanitizer For Kids

Product Image of the Megababe Squeaky Clean Hand Sanitizer
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Megababe makes various personal care products, but Squeaky Clean is their first foray into the hand sanitizer market.

The formula contains enough alcohol to be an effective hand sanitizer, but it is also kind to skin.

Megababe contains sweet almond oil, which is said to boost collagen production as well as adding hydration. It also contains marula oil, which is rich in antioxidants, fatty acids, and amino acids. Together, these oils make Squeaky Clean easy on the hands of adults who have to apply hand sanitizer to a number of kids multiple times a day.

The smaller, pocketbook size bottle is not as “squishable” as it could be, meaning that once you get past the half-way point, it can be tricky to dispense the hand sanitizer one-handed.

PROS:
  • Light, orangey, citrus fragrance.
  • Doesn’t dry out the skin.
  • No phthalates or parabens.
CONS:
  • Not the most affordable product.
  • The scent lingers longer than some other hand sanitizers.

Additional Specs

Type Of SanitizerGel – pump bottle
Alcohol %62 percent
Type Of AlcoholEthanol alcohol
ScentCitrus
Bottle Size8 fluid ounces

9. Diamond Wipes

Best Hand Sanitizing Wipes For Kids

Diamond Wipes Instant Hand Sanitizer Alcohol Wipes 65% Ethyl Alcohol Box Of...
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Can’t trust your child to dispense an appropriate amount of sanitizer on their hands? Or if you’re tired of broken bottles leaking onto everything else in your kids’ backpack, then hand sanitizer wipes might be just the thing you need.

These wipes from Diamond Wipes are individually wrapped, making them easy to throw into a school bag without the worry of coating the contents in gels or sprays. The format also means your child will not be squirting golf ball-sized dollops onto their hands and going through bottle after bottle of hand sanitizer.

The downside to this is that these individually wrapped wipes create a relatively large amount of waste. You may also find that kids run the wipes over their hands and do not rub them into the spaces between fingers.

PROS:
  • Lightweight and easy to carry.
  • No excessive dispensing of sanitizer gel, spray, or foam.
  • The added aloe helps moisturize your hands.
CONS:
  • An excessive amount of waste.
  • Easy to miss between the fingers.

Additional Specs

Type Of SanitizerWipe – individually wrapped
Alcohol %64 percent
Type Of AlcoholEthanol alcohol
Scent“Fresh”
Bottle Size1 box contains 100 wipes

10. More Than Magic™ Lemon Love

Best Scented Hand Sanitizer For Kids

Product Image of the More Than Magic™ Lemon Love
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More Than Magic makes a line of hand sanitizers, all of which are lightly scented with fragrance such as Creamy Cappuccino and Choco Orange. While these are fun for older kids, you might want to skip them if you have younger children who might be tempted to give them a taste.

However, for older children, those you can trust not to ingest their hand sanitizer, the More Than Magic line is a fun, sparkly alternative to the more medicinal smelling hand sanitizers for kids.

The sanitizer is packaged in small, glittery bottles that come in silicone sleeves. These sleeves also have a hoop to make them easy to attach to bags.

This fun element may make it more likely for a child to use their hand sanitizer.

PROS:
  • Pleasant, child-friendly scents.
  • Fun packaging.
  • Can attach it to a backpack, so it’s handy to reach.
CONS:
  • The scent may be a safety issue for young children.

Additional Specs

Type Of SanitizerGel – flip-top bottle
Alcohol %62 percent
Type Of AlcoholEthanol alcohol
ScentLemon verbena
Bottle Size1.05 fluid ounces

Hand Sanitizer Comparison Chart

ProductBestTypeAlcohol %Type Of AlcoholBottle Size
CLEAN MONSTER Lavender Peppermint SpraySpraySpray70%Ethanol alcohol4 oz
Baby Bum Hand SanitizerVeganSpray62%Ethanol alcohol2 oz
Flents Lil’ Squirt Hand Sanitizer GelMoisturizingGel62%Ethanol alcohol2.7 oz
Fresh Monster Hand SanitizerSchoolGel70%Isopropyl alcohol2 oz
Pipette Hand SanitizerFragrance-FreeGel65%Ethanol alcohol2 oz
Fairy Tales Hand Sanitizer SprayNaturalSpray80%Ethanol alcohol3.3 oz
Steris Alcare Plus Foaming Hand RubFoamingFoam62%Ethanol alcohol9 oz
Megababe Squeaky Clean Hand SanitizerCitrusGel62%Ethanol alcohol8 oz
Diamond WipesHand WipesWipes64%Ethanol alcohol100 wipes
More Than Magic™ Lemon LoveScentedGel62%Ethanol alcohol1.05 oz
Jump to the Full Hand Sanitizer Reviews

Is Homemade Hand Sanitizer Safe?

It is easy to find recipes for homemade hand sanitizer. However, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Reasons for not mixing up a batch of homemade hand sanitizer include:

  • You may not add enough alcohol for the hand sanitizer to kill germs effectively.
  • If the bowls, spoons, and measuring cups you use to make the hand sanitizer are not sterile, you’ll introduce germs to the mixture. These germs can then be spread on your hand when you use the hand sanitizer.
  • It’s easy to leave potentially dangerous traces of ingredients, or the final product, around your home when you’re mixing it up. This makes it easier for the homemade hand sanitizer to be ingested.
  • If you have too much alcohol in your homemade hand sanitizer, there is a risk that you will damage your skin, especially with repeated use.

If Your Kids Can’t Wash, They Can Sanitize

Having your kids wash their hands regularly with soap and water is the best way to reduce the risk of illness caused by germs. When this isn’t an option, hand sanitizer is the next best thing.

It is safe for you to apply sanitizer to your child’s hands, but do not allow them to use these products unsupervised until they are responsible enough to do so correctly.

As long as it contains at least 60 percent alcohol, the type of sanitizer you buy isn’t as important as using the correct application technique. Choose the one that works best for your family and make your health a priority.

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About the Author

Patricia Barnes

Patricia Barnes is a homeschooling mom of 5 who has been featured on Global TV, quoted in Parents magazine, and writes for a variety of websites and publications. Doing her best to keep it together in a life of constant chaos, Patti would describe herself as an eclectic mess maker, lousy crafter, book lover, autism mom, and insomniac.
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