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Hand Sanitizer: Liquid vs Gel

Is Liquid Hand Sanitizer or Gel Hand Sanitizer better? As an employee of a manufacturer of liquid hand sanitizer, you would expect me to tout liquid hand sanitizer as being better than gel. Truth of the matter is that it simply boils down to personal preference. As long as you apply them properly, covering the whole surface of your hands, both liquid and gel hand sanitizers are equally effective at killing the germs.

When given all the pros and cons of each type, one must decide which one works best in the situation where they will be using the hand sanitizer. One should also be take into account that formulations will vary between manufacturers and even between types sold by the same manufacturer. These variations in formulas will affect the pros and cons. For example, some formulations are better at keeping the skin moisturized; others tend to leave a sticky feeling after drying.

Liquid Hand Sanitizer (Spray)

Gel Hand Sanitizer

Works in approximately 15 seconds

Works in approximately 30 seconds

Leaves very little to no residue
 - what residue may be left is usually the glycerin or Aloe Vera used for moisturizing

Can leave residue on hands
 - extra ingredients such as a carbomer (thickener) are necessary to create the gel

Dries within a few seconds

Dries a few seconds slower than liquid

Note that for both liquid and gel sanitizers, ethyl alcohol formulations were shown to dry faster than those using isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol) as the active ingredient.

Dispensing a large quantity can drip through fingers

Large quantity can leave a portion that does not dry or absorb into the skin


As with anything, the consumer should take care in reading the labels on any sanitizer being considered. Keep in mind that the CDC recommends formulations of at least 60% alcohol to ensure effectiveness at killing the bacteria. The more ingredients listed on a label means that much more “stuff” is being applied to your skin.  

Finally, the obligatory plug! Sani-Kure Extra Strength Hand Sanitizer is over 70% alcohol, making it highly effective. Perfectly balanced with Aloe Vera, Sani-Kure will kill the germs, but not your skin. Use our sanitizer throughout the day and your hands will still feel soft and smooth with no sticky residue.


Are alcohol gels better than liquid hand rubs?
Matthias Maiwald, Andreas F Widmer
Crit Care. 2007; 11(4): 418. Published online 2007 Jul 6. doi: 10.1186/cc5947
PMCID: PMC2206535

Liquid, gel or foam — Which is the most effective form of alcohol-based hand rubs?
Anuja Vaidya (Twitter) - Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

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