If you’re like me, then you’re probably tired of hearing about people go on and on about anti-bacterial products. I’m the kind of germaphobe who doesn’t touch the bottom of her shoes with her bare hands, and even I’m sick of every product out there being advertised as anti-bacterial.
During the 90s, I totally bought into that “must kill bacteria” mentality because the marketing people were smart enough to use pretty packaging and appealing scents. In other words, I had tons of that Bath & Body Works anti-bacterial hand sanitizer. I had the spray, the gel, and the soap. Once I became a grown-up and no longer felt obligated to smell like artificial fruit, I phased out most of my B&BW products. The main exception to this was the Just for Kids anti-bacterial foaming hand soap in Great Grapelicious because it combined two really awesome things: foaming soap and the smell of grape Bubblicious gum (or was it Hubba Bubba?).
These days, I usually try to buy non-anti-bacterial products. Do the two negatives cancel each other out? Does that mean I’m buying bacterial soap or that I’m pro-bacteria? No, it just means that I don’t think it’s necessary for every cleaning product to kill bacteria.
I do like keeping hand sanitizer in my car and in my desk at work though. There was a period of about two years where I got a flat tire approximately once a month. Changing a tire is icky, and there’s nothing like getting back into the car with dirty hands after touching tires and asphalt and greasy lug nuts. Hand sanitizer is not a substitute for soap and running water, but at least it gets a good amount of the grime off your hands before touching everything else inside the car.
One of the things I hate about hand sanitizers is the high alcohol content. Not only does it dry out my hands, leaving those attractive chalky white marks between my fingers, but if I have any little cuts, scrapes, or even hangnails (all of which are a definite possibility after changing a tire), the alcohol burns like a mofo.
The original reason I became interested in CleanWell hand sanitizer is because it’s alcohol free – no more scorching sensation or dried out paws! Once I tried it out, I was totally impressed because not only were my hands not dried out, they were moisturized! CleanWell hand sanitizer is made using essential oils (thyme oil, orange oil, litsea oil, oregano oil, and aloe leaf juice), so the scent is light and citrus-y, not overwhelming or fake. Although the smell is pleasant, it fades away quickly after a few minutes, unlike some other soaps that leave behind a residual scent for longer than I prefer.
The hand sanitizer used to be available in a tiny 1/2 ounce spray bottle, which was great for keeping in my purse, my glove compartment, and my desk drawer, but they have discontinued that size and replaced it with a 1 ounce bottle. They also sell a 6 ounce bottle, but unfortunately, the 1 ounce bottle is not refillable. I tried taking the small bottles apart so I could decant some of the liquid from the 6 ounce bottle into the 1 ounce bottle, but the smaller bottles are sealed shut with a metal ring. When I emailed the company to ask if they would be making the smaller bottles refillable, they told me that the FDA “strongly discourages” allowing them to be refillable so unless the FDA reverses their position on this issue, the small bottles will not be refillable any time soon.
The 1 ounce bottles retail for around $3 at Whole Foods, Target, and other drugstores. The 6 ounce bottle is $4.50 at Target. It’s also available at the CleanWell online store as part of their hand sanitizer pack or their hand hygiene pack.
The hand sanitizer is also available as a wipe. I bought a box so I could leave the individual packets in my gym bag or other random places, but I haven’t used any of them yet.
So remember I confessed my love for foaming soap? CleanWell has foaming soap too! Originally, they had only three scents (all created by renowned natural perfume expert Mandy Aftel , who I have been in love with for almost ten years): orange vanilla, lavender absolute, and ginger bergamot. I tried all three scents and, sadly, didn’t like any of them. They were all a bit too strong for my liking. The lavender was the only one I was able to use regularly. The other two I left for Mr. Awesome to use, and every time he washed his hands with the orange vanilla or the ginger bergamot, I could smell it on his hands as soon as he came in the room. Blech.
Thankfully, last fall they introduced a new scent that I love: spearmint lime. The mint is very fresh and clean, and I don’t smell the lime at all. The bottles have smooth labels which can be peeled off easily if you prefer the minimalist look. The foaming hand soap costs about $6 for a 9.5 ounce bottle in stores. CleanWell also sells a 32 ounce refill bottle, which is enough to refill the original bottle more than three times. Like the hand sanitizer, the hand soap is moisturizing, so no more dry hands!
Both CleanWell products do two great things (besides clean): they smell great and they don’t dry out my hands. As if those two things weren’t enough, there are more perks! Their products kill 99.9% of harmful germs, including MRSA (resistant staph), e. coli, and salmonella. Although they don’t recommend drinking either the hand sanitizer or the soap straight from the bottle, their products are safe even for kids (the little buggers are always putting their hands in their mouths). Their products do not contain any alcohol, benzalkonium chloride, or triclosan. Their products are also biodegradable and are not tested on animals, if you care about that kind of thing.
Also exciting: their newest product is a wall mounted foaming hand sanitizer!