Hand Sanitizers That Are Kid-Friendly *And* Effective At Destroying Germs

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by Megan Hungerford and Karen Belz
Originally Published: 
kids hand sanitizer
Getty Images/Nitat Termmee

Kids touch everything. Which is why finding a kids’ hand sanitizer your family will actually use is absolutely critical in your efforts to keep everyone healthy. Because, no matter what those little mitts have touched or how visibly soiled their hands are, those dirty digits are going to end up in their mouth or nose, or heaven forbid their nose then mouth. YUCK! Especially during flu season, it’s best if your kid has access to hand sanitizer at all times (along with a mask, too). But a lot of regular hand sanitizers can smell too strong or leave hands tasting bitter (we taste, since we use our hands to eat), which is why special sanitizers that are more kid-friendly is key. And once you’ve got sanitizer, you can get a hand sanitizer holder or keychain to make it even more appealing to use.

RELATED: Try This DIY Hand Sanitizer Spray Recipe To Keep Your Hands Germ-Free

But FYI, although hand sanitizer is good when out and about, hand washing is still the way to go. The CDC recommends scrubbing your hands with soap and water for the length of the “Happy Birthday” song as the most effective way to clean your hands. But what happens when there’s no soap and water around? Or your only option is a public restroom sink with more bacteria and germs than a toilet? Good thing mom is prepared with the best hand sanitizers for kids. (Watch your backs children, the adults are going to want these too.) Pro tip: For the strongest ick-fighting power, the CDC recommends sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol.

Note: Formulas that are alcohol-free are made to eradicate germs and bacteria, but they do not fight viruses. These are best used following diaper changes, bathroom runs, etc.

Best Kids’ Hand Sanitizer

Yup, foaming sanitizer is easier to spread around and it dries faster than its gel counterpart, which is perfect for toddlers and impatient kiddos. Plus it’s equally as great for new parents too! The Babyganics foaming sanitizer is still 99.9% effective against common household germs but is alcohol-free. It leaves hands clean and conditioned without any residue of alcohol. This plant-derived hand sanitizer is tough on germs and gentle on skin, and specifically formulated for regular repeat usage without drying out hands. However, please note that this alcohol-free formula is not meant to fight viruses.

One Reviewer Said: “These little travel size bottles fit perfectly in my diaper bag and purse so they’re easy to use when taking baby out in this scary world. Love that they’re an alcohol-free option.”

Hand Sanitizer For Kids

The number one brand trusted by hospitals, Purell has launched a super-powered, plant-based hand sanitizer that is twice as effective as other leading brands. This double-strength kids’ hand sanitizer is totally paraben, phthalate, and synthetic fragrance-free but still packs a hydrating punch with a special blend of four conditioning moisturizers. Made from 100% naturally renewable plant-based ethanol, Purell advanced hand sanitizer is USDA BioBase certified with 93% renewable biological ingredients.

One Reviewer Said: “This version is made with plant-based alcohol, 93% naturally derived ingredients, and is triclosan, paraben, and preservative free. The bottle states this formula is naturally fragranced, but it just smells like regular alcohol to me. It perhaps has a slight citrus scent. It's not overwhelming. The bottles are perfect for carrying in your bag. Each bottle has a cap, and the pump itself can be rotated slightly into a locked position as an extra measure to guard against accidental leakage. I typically just rely on the cap and have never had an issue.”

The Honest Company is known for their natural, clean home, baby, and beauty products — so it makes sense that their fragrance-free sanitizing spray made the list! It eradicates 99.9% of germs and bacteria, is quick-drying, and is hypoallergenic.

One Reviewer Said: “The scent is just an extremely small hint of your typical hand sanitizer smell, I can hardly smell it. The size is perfect, and I love that it's a sprayed sanitizer. Due to its size, it is so convenient and easy to carry. I have one in my car, my boyfriend's car, and at my computer desk.”

Best Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizers For Kids

This alcohol-free, water-based antiseptic is great for kids to carry in their backpacks. Since it’s also great for cuts and scrapes, it’s probably a good idea to have on hand regardless. Parents have given this trio of sanitizers 4.7 out of five stars on Amazon. If your kids hate the sting that other sanitizers bring, these are worth a shot.

Most kids don’t want to use something that has too powerful of a smell to it. This selection from Raise Them Well is more or less odorless, making it a top choice for hand sanitizers. Made from purified water, stabilized oxygen, and sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, this sanitizer is quick to dry, meaning your kids can get right back to playing after using it.

One Reviewer Said: “The size is so convenient, I can keep one in my purse and one in the door next to my son's car seat. I feel so much better about using this sanitizer on our young son's hands than the alcohol-laden kind and because it's a spray, I can ensure full coverage. It also comes in super handy for all those items that toddlers are sure to drop and insert right back into their mouths! It is definitely one of the things we won't leave the house without!”

Best Scented Hand Sanitizers

On the other hand, some kids really like the idea of scented products. Geared more towards tweens and teens, this set of hand sanitizers from Hygiene Clean gives off a light, pleasant scent that even adults like. They’re small enough to fit in a purse or a locker, and the foam will help ensure that every part of your child’s hands gets covered. According to the brand, these sanitizers will fight off germs for four hours.

One Reviewer Said: “I bought this for my grandchildren and they love it. One of my 4th-grade granddaughters was going on a 3-day camp school trip so I got this for her to take, she took one of each scent, and all of her friends wanted to use hers and not the ones they brought.”

You won’t have to get into a fight with your middle or high schoolers if the hand sanitizer you give to them is from Bath and Body Works. With five great scents to choose from, you can guarantee that your child will reapply throughout the school day. The scents you get are likely to vary, but it’s hard to go wrong. Just imagine it’s like a fun blind box surprise, but with sanitizer.

One Reviewer Said: “I am very happy with the ones I received! They are not old, the scents I received all smell good and don’t expire until next year. Thank you! Will buy again!”

You can’t go wrong with lavender. Dr. Bronner’s is already a trusted brand, so it’s pretty phenomenal that they have an organic hand sanitizer in their line of products. This spray is great when soap and water aren’t an option. Unlike some of the other selections on the list, this also doubles as an air freshener. Thus, it’s a pretty worthy addition to a purse or backpack. It also has an impressive 4.8 out of 5-star rating on Amazon.

One Reviewer Says: “This is a good scent and a nice change from the usual hand sanitizer smell. The bottles are the perfect size for travel and to put in your pocket. I have also used this as a room spray, and it works really well as a bathroom air freshener. The formula is really good for neutralizing odors.”

Now that your hand sanitizer needs are met, check out more pint-sized products for kids here!

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