Over the last year, hand sanitizer has gone from being optional to becoming one of life’s essentials. And while Everyone has been helping hands stay clean and healthy for years, even we couldn’t help noticing way more formulas on store shelves (after they were restocked, that is). Suddenly there was more than the typical assortment of sanitizers from the usual players as new brands popped up out of nowhere to address increasing demand.
But when the FDA alerted consumers last summer about the dangers of using sanitizers that contain the ingredient methanol, it became clear that all hand sanitizers are not created equal.
So what exactly is methanol? And why did we decide early on to make ethanol the go-to active ingredient in our hand sanitizer?
What Is Methanol?
Methanol is a type of alcohol with a variety of industrial uses, and it is everywhere. It occurs naturally in some of the foods we eat and is commonly used to produce fuels, solvents, and antifreeze, as well as the synthetic fabrics we wear and even some of the pharmaceuticals we take. While methanol can be derived from a range of sources - it’s known as wood alcohol because it was once distilled from wood, after all - these days it’s made primarily from natural gas.
And it does not belong in your hand sanitizer.
That’s because absorbing methanol through the skin or otherwise ingesting can be dangerous, even fatal - with symptoms ranging from nausea, blurred vision, and headaches to seizures, nervous system damage, and death. It’s the reason behind the FDA creating a list of banned hand sanitizers, so consumers know what to avoid.
Why We Use Ethanol
Ethanol is also a widely used colorless liquid that appears in many products we use every day, most notably alcoholic beverages and body care products. But the fact that ethanol is safe for ingestion and use on the skin isn’t the only reason why it’s been the active ingredient in our family of hand sanitizers since the very beginning.
Unlike methanol, ethanol is a renewable biofuel derived from beets, trees, and other natural sources - ours comes from sugar cane. Ethanol is also effective at killing microorganisms, including viruses. So not only do consumers feel safe and clean using Everyone hand sanitizers, but our plant-based ingredients also serve as a reminder for us all that we also have a planet to protect.
Keeping ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities safe is about more than cleaning our hands and wearing masks. It’s about making choices and discovering ways every single day to help, contribute, and participate more - especially when it comes to the greater good. And in times like these, navigating through the overwhelm, exhaustion and uncertainty to do a little more - even if it’s simply choosing a hand sanitizer that’s safe for both people and the planet - feels pretty courageous.
And now that you know a little more about what’s inside the bottle, head over to our next post for a deeper dive into our new look!