Hand Sanitizer: Wipes vs. Gels

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We’re all trying our best when it comes to staying healthy. In our ongoing efforts to protect ourselves and our kids from getting sick, we all know that washing our hands with soap and water is the most effective way to get rid of bacteria and viruses. But that isn’t always practical or possible. There are times we’re nowhere near a faucet when we need to clean our hands.

The two most popular options for cleaning hands on-the-go are antibacterial hand wipes and hand gel sanitizers. Let’s take a closer look at each option and examine how they stack up against each other on bacteria-fighting power.

What is Gel Sanitizer?

Gel sanitizers are designed to reduce the amount of bacteria on your hands. There are alcohol-free and alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Alcohol-based gels typically contain 60% to 75% alcohol. Because alcohol can dry out skin, gels typically contain emollients, such as aloe vera, to help moisturize your skin and prevent dryness. 

Tips for Using Gel Sanitizers

Hand gels come in various bottle sizes, from small travel-sized ones you can keep in your purse, to large containers with a pump for use at a grocery store or doctor’s office. To use it, squeeze a dab into your palm and rub it all over your hands for about 20 seconds. It’s important that the gel covers all parts of your hands, including the backs and in between fingers. Make sure your hands completely air dry after use. 

What are Hand Wipes?

Antibacterial hand wipes are pre-moistened wipes made out of non-woven fabric and soaked in a solution. They are designed to kill bacteria. Similar to gels, they come in alcohol-free and alcohol-based options. 

Don’t assume all moist hand towelettes can sanitize your hands properly. Be sure to look at the ingredients to make sure the alcohol content is high enough to kill bacteria. Find one that contains at least 60% alcohol as required by the FDA and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [*]. You’ll want an alcohol-based solution or a solution that contains Benzalkonium Chloride that has been clinically proven to effectively and quickly kill bacteria. 

Tips for Using Antibacterial Hand Wipes

When using a hand wipe, it’s important to cover every part of your hands, up to your forearms. The wetness of the wipe is where the bacteria-killing solution is. Here are all the key areas to hit when using a hand wipe:

  1. Individual fingers, fingertips, and nails
  2. Between fingers
  3. Palms
  4. Back of hands
  5. Wrists 
  6. Forearms

Hand Wipes vs Hand Gels: Which Is More Effective?

Studies have shown that hand wipes are more effective than gels when it comes to removing bacteria, dirt, and impurities from hands [*]. A November 2010 Special Pathogens Laboratory (SPL) study discovered that a 65.9% alcohol wipe was more effective at physically wiping away bacteria than a 62% alcohol gel [*]. This can help reduce the spread of bacteria and minimize infection.

Since hand wipes are more superior than gels in removing bacteria and dirt, let’s go over how to select an effective hand wipe for your family.

What to Look For in Antibacterial Hand Wipes

Active ingredient: Look for a hand wipe that is saturated with alcohol (ethanol), isopropyl alcohol, or benzalkonium chloride so that it can effectively and quickly kill bacteria upon contact with your skin [*].

Soothing agents: Since you’re using them frequently on your hands, get a brand that contains soothing and moisturizing ingredients, such as natural aloe and vitamin E. 

Nice 'N CLEAN® Sani-Hands® Antibacterial Hand Wipes contain benzalkonium chloride and have been clinically shown to kill 99.9% of the most common bacteria. Our wipes are made with renewable, plant-based fibers and each hypoallergenic wipe is infused with natural aloe to prevent dryness and provide a moisturizing and soothing experience.

While there’s no match for soap and water, our antibacterial hand wipes are the perfect solution when you’re on-the-go and need a convenient and effective way to clean your hands and your children’s hands. They’re available in portable, resealable packages that can be kept in your purse or diaper bag, in your car, in your gym bag, and at the office. They’re also great to have at home!

You can buy antibacterial hand wipes online on our website, Amazon, and Walmart, or in store at select locations of Costco, CVS, Kroger, and Meijer.


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15489352/
  2. https://specialpathogenslab.com/alcohol-based-wipes-significantly-more-effective-than-rubs-in-reducing-bacteria-and-spores-findings-could-impact-hospital-acquired-infections/
  3. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/information-drug-class/qa-consumers-hand-sanitizers-and-covid-19 



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