CleanWell All-Natural Hand Sanitizer ~ scented body product review

CleanWell All-Natural Hand Sanitizer Orange VanillaCleanWell All-Natural Hand Sanitizer Original scent

Every day for the past few weeks I've glanced at the local newspapers and noticed large-type headlines about a FLU EPIDEMIC. I'm generally healthy, so I didn't bother getting a flu vaccine; instead, I'm just trying to eat healthily, get enough sleep and wash my hands frequently. For moments when I'm on the move and I can't get to a sink with hot water and soap, I like to carry a CleanWell All-Natural Hand Sanitizer. It's not a magic bullet, of course, but it lessens my anxiety about germs from stairway railings, subway poles and any other unsavory surfaces I might have touched.

CleanWell offers a range of liquid hand soaps, cleaning products and disinfectant wipes, but the All-Natural Hand Sanitizer is my favorite. This is a liquid product, packaged in a slim container with a flip top and a spray dispenser; a few spritzes into the palm of a hand gives enough sanitizer for one thorough use. Unlike alcohol-based gel sanitizers, CleanWell's germ-fighting spray doesn't sting dry skin (or the roughened cuticles and cracked fingertips that often result from very cold weather), and it doesn't dribble onto my sleeves and my purse the way a gel always seems to do when I squirt it out of its little bottle. This is also the only hand sanitizer that hasn't given me an itchy red rash on my fingers.

Like all the products in the CleanWell line, the All-Natural Hand Sanitizer relies on a formulation of thyme oil as its active ingredient (rather than triclosan, for example). Thyme has natural antiseptic properties, as well as purported aromatherapeutic benefits. To gild the lily (or the thyme leaf), CleanWell brought natural perfumer Mandy Aftel (of Aftelier) on board to create the scents for its products. The Hand Sanitizer is available in three scent blends. The Original fragrance adds litsea cubeba and orange oil to the thyme and oregano oils of the basic formula; however, the latter two ingredients are still prominent, making this a strongly herbal blend. 

I've also tried the All-Natural Hand Sanitizer in Spearmint Lime and Orange Vanilla, and I like both. The Spearmint Lime adds extra fresher-smelling notes to the original, although the thyme and oregano are still noticeable too. The Orange Vanilla version, with real orange oil and vanilla extract, is warmer and cozier without being dessert-like. All three scents last for just a minute or two before they evaporate. (They're also subtle enough that they won't cause everyone else in the room to look around, wondering what they're smelling.)

I've enjoyed CleanWell's Foaming Hand Wash in the past, but these Hand Sanitizers are the products that I keep repurchasing and compulsively carrying in my bag. They're a pleasant and effective way to mitigate contact with certain germs, even beyond flu season.

CleanWell All-Natural Hand Sanitizer sells for approximately $3 (for a 30 ml spray bottle) or $10.99 for a three-pack; visit the CleanWell website for more information and a list of stores.

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17 Comments

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  1. odonata9 says:

    Thank you for this review. I’ve seen this brand around but had no idea they were really all natural! I don’t generally use sanitizers as they are so drying but this flu season is pretty terrible and I have lots of friends with small kids who always seem to have runny noses, so I will pick some up!

    • JolieFleurs says:

      Sanitizers don’t help with viruses at all (they only kill some bacteria) and if they make your hands get dry enough to crack, you’ll give the virus a direct route to your bloodstream, so I’d recommend vigilant hand-washing over the hand-sanitizers around the wee runny noses.

      • 50_Roses says:

        Actually, alcohol based sanitizers are effective against many viruses, but the antibacterial ingredients that are sometimes added (such as triclosan) are generally not effective against viruses.

        • JolieFleurs says:

          I have a compromised immune system, so maybe my doc is just being overly cautious. He told me I ran a greater risk using them, because although they make your hands somewhat inhospitable to viruses, it didn’t kill them outright and since mine cracked so bad with the dryness, it was not worth what he called zero benefit. But again, maybe that’s just because of my other issues!

          • 50_Roses says:

            It seems the more information I gather, the more contradictory it becomes. Drying out and cracking your skin is certainly not a good idea. Fortunately for me, my skin is quite oily and not bothered by a little alcohol, so I do use alcohol hand sanitizers. The information I had been given was that alcohol kills both bacteria and viruses, by drying them out (just as it can dry out your skin), but that hand washing only washes them away, it doesn’t kill them. Antibacterial ingredients in some hand sanitizers and soaps do kill many bacteria, but can possibly also lead to the development of resistant strains of bacteria. There doesn’t seem to be much info on the effectiveness of non-alcohol type sanitizers. I do know that many essential oils are reputed to have anti-microbial activity, but I do not know if the amount in a hand sanitizer is enough to be effective or which types they work best on. I am not sure that flu viruses can infect you through an opening in the skin, although many microbes can. I have read that flu has to go directly into your respiratory system, which usually means through the lungs by inhaling them in air which has been contaminated by an infected person, although hand-to-face transmission is possible as well, if you get the virus on your hands and then touch your nose, mouth, or eyes. Of course, there are a lot of infections floating around besides influenza, and they say colds often are transmitted hand-to-hand. It’s all enough to make me want to become a hermit!

          • JolieFleurs says:

            That was the most informative thing I have read about sanitizers! And I am wondering now if he meant that I was risking exposure to something else, not the flu? I have chronically low T cell counts, and have to be fairly careful about crud in general.

            I am so sorry for hijacking this thread, I’ll shut up now!

    • Jessica says:

      Well, I do use it in conjunction with vitamins and semi-healthy eating and as much sleep as I can get, but it does feel like another useful germ-fighting tool in my arsenal! I heard an infectious disease specialist speaking about this year’s flu on NPR today, and she recommended hand sanitizers in addition to general “hand awareness” like washing, sneezing into your elbow rather than your hand, not sharing utensils, not touching your own eyes/nose/mouth, etc.

  2. 50_Roses says:

    This flu season has been terrible. I have tried to be more vigilant about washing my hands, using hand sanitizers, avoiding large gatherings (I haven’t been to a Christmas party in years, after getting sick from them two years in a row), and not shaking hands (at the risk of appearing rude), but I got my annual flu anyway, and my husband got it as well, which is unusual for him. I would say that this year’s version of it it one of the worse ones I have had. I still am not completely well, and it has been over a month. I didn’t get a flu shot, but I gave up on those some years ago; I did get the shots for a few years, but each time I ended up getting the flu anyway, and the last time I had a bad reaction to the shot.

    • JolieFleurs says:

      I ended up with pneumonia from it! And everyone around me got flu shots, some even got pneumonia shots, and we all ended up with it anyway. You should get to the doctor and make sure it hasn’t morphed in to something else.

      • 50_Roses says:

        I just hate going to doctors. Aside from the expense, they usually keep you waiting forever in a crowded room full of other sick people, and I worry about getting sick from going to the doctor. I’m not really sick anymore, I just have some lingering nasal congestion and my sense of smell is only at about 50% capacity. If it were in my lungs I would be much more concerned.

  3. Merlin says:

    I really like having a hand sanitizer in my bag; its just so convenient, whatever the season. I have one that cleanses and moisturizes too, but it doesn’t feel as good as some of the straight up ones. The less sticky they are, generally, the more pleasant. I have never tried a ‘natural’ one and clicked straight through with the link provided: unfortunately the brand is only sold in America (and I think Canada).

    • Jessica says:

      I have a long-ish commute on mass transit every day (up to 1-1/2 hours), so I really like to have something like this in my bag! Then I wash my hands when I get where I’m going… but I need a quick fix sometimes!

  4. Abyss says:

    Here in UK we had a massive norovirus outbreak, something like over a million cases over the holiday period. Fun!

    I don’t really use hand sanitisers. I’m a borderline obsessive hand-washed (and hand cream user as a result) and I started taking Vit D a couple of years ago and, luckily, haven’t had anything worse than a mild cold in a while.

    • Jessica says:

      Frequent hand-washing is my excuse for owning several varieties of hand cream. ;)

  5. Good review. We all need more options to stay as free of germs as possible.

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