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What Makes a Good Hand Sanitizer?

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

You may have heard a lot about hand sanitizer in the news in the last few months. From shortages to some not being as good as others, there has been a lot of talk about this essential protective product. Here at Lightning Spirits we confess we haven't always been experts in producing hand sanitizer.

Our journey into making hand sanitizer started when we were contacted by the federal government to help supply our community with real virus killing hand sanitizer. As a distilled Spirits Provider, we were more than capable of making the correct hand sanitizer for killing viruses and bacteria.

Our blend of 80% alcohol-based hand sanitizer is locally made in the San Francisco bay area.

Two Types of Hand Sanitizer

There are two distinct categories of hand sanitizer: alcohol-based and alcohol-free.


An Alcohol-based hand sanitizer will contain differing amounts of alcohol. Usually ranging between 60% and 95%. They use either isopropyl alcohol, ethanol, or n-propanol.


An Alcohol-free hand sanitizer contains a less effective compound called quarternary ammonium, usually benzalkonium chloride.

Which Is Better?

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers like the one we make are shown to be effective at killing bacteria and many viruses including influenza, rhinovirus, and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Which is why the CDC and The WHO are recommending a high alcohol content hand sanitizer to help slow the spread of Covid19.

Other Ingredients in Our Hand Sanitizer

The main active ingredient used in our hand sanitizer alcohol, however every ingredient plays its part in protecting you. We follow the recipe recommended by The World Health organization and every component has its purpose.

H2O2 or Hydrogen Peroxide

The small amount of hydrogen peroxide in our hand sanitizer is there to keep the sanitizer safe from contaminating spores. This helps keep the hand sanitizer sterile.


Glycerol is included in the mixture for two reasons. As a non-toxic and hypoallergenic humectant, it helps the spreadability of the hand sanitizer and helps to help the skin from drying out.

Sterile Water

Sterile water is added to help break the bond of bacteria and viruses. It helps the alcohol kill the microbes as the alcohol evaporates.

Fragrance and Other Additive-Free

To make sure our hand sanitizer is safe for everyone in the community we are not adding fragrances, gelling agents, or any other additives to our products at this time.

When to Use It?

Hand sanitizer should be used when hand washing is not available. If your hands are dirty with grime or grease it is recommended that you wash your hands before using hand sanitizer.

When combined with proper handwashing techniques hand sanitizer can help you stay protected from microbes including the novel coronavirus virus covid19. Check out our guide on how to use our bay area made 80% ethanol-based hand sanitizer here.

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