Is Hand Sanitizer Vegan? (Purell, Dettol)

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The whole coronavirus outbreak made me realize something.

I’ve never considered whether my hand sanitizer is vegan, since I haven’t needed to buy any since going vegan.

So, I tracked down some answers, which I’ll share with you here.

Is Purell Hand Sanitizer Vegan?

There’s 2 parts to consider: animal testing and ingredients.

Here are the ingredients in Purell, I’ve highlighted the ones a vegan might care about:

Ethyl alcohol 70%, Water (Aqua), Isopropyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Glycerin, Aminomethyl Propanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Isopropyl Myristate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Blue 1 (CI 42090)

Most of those ingredients are clearly synthetic or from plants, but there are 3 potential issues:

  1. Glycerin – Glycerin can be made from either plants or animals, but the source is not specified here.
  2. Fragrance – Fragrance is typically synthetic, but is sometimes tested on animals.
  3. Artificial colors (Yellow 5, Blue 1) – These are controversial among vegans. Many strict vegans don’t consider artificial colors to be vegan since they are tested on animals. Decide for yourself.

I found a company statement (as of 2017) that clears up the first 2:

Please note that none of the ingredients within this formula are of animal origin. The ingredients are all vegetable derivatives or are synthetically produced. In addition, this product has not been tested on animals.

So, the glycerin is from a plant source, and I’m not worried about animal testing.

Purell’s parent company – Gojo – clearly says they use human subjects for all their testing, and not other animals.

SUMMARY

There are no animal products in Purell, and there is no animal testing. However, if you have an issue with artificial colors, you may not consider it vegan.

Is Dettol Hand Sanitizer Vegan?

Dettol is another fairly popular hand sanitizer in some parts of the world.

Not surprisingly, it has pretty similar ingredients to Purell:

Alcohol Denat., Water, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tetrahydroxypropyl Ethylenediamine, Aloe Barbadensis Gel, Fragrance, Limonene, Tartrazine (Yellow 5), Blue 1.

Most of the ingredients are clearly vegan.

You might be concerned about propylene glycol, because it sounds like glycerol, but the Vegetarian Resource Group says it’s a vegan ingredient.

Like Purell, it’s reasonable to have some concerns over animal testing:

  • Fragrance can be tested on animals
  • Artificial colors are tested on animals
  • Dettol itself might be tested on animals

Unlike Purell, I was not able to find a clear answer to whether or not Dettol tests on animals.

On their website, Dettol states:

As a fundamental part of our ethical approach we are committed to not conducting animal testing unless we are legally required to.

In other words, they probably do some testing on animals to sell products in certain markets. Vegan Rabbit, includes Dettol on their giant list of companies that test on animals.

SUMMARY

While there are no animal ingredients in Dettol, it does appear that they do some testing on animals. Additionally, strict vegans may not be okay with the artificial colors in the hand sanitizer.

A Vegan Alternative: Dr Bronner’s

If you’re like me and want to avoid artificial colors, I’d suggest going with Dr Bronner’s.

It’s a fairly large “natural” brand that sells all kinds of cleaning products, including hand sanitizer.

While there is glycerin in it that might cause you to pause, you can be sure that it’s from plant sources, and Dr Bronner’s also never tests on animals.

Here’s a relevant statement from their website:

All of Dr. Bronner’s products sold in the U.S. and Canada are Certified Vegan, except for our Organic Lip Balms and Organic Body Balms, which contain organic beeswax.

Ordering online is probably the easiest option, but I’ve seen Dr. Bronner’s in more and more grocery and health food stores these days.

SUMMARY

Dr. Bronner’s hand sanitizer is definitely vegan, and a good option if you’re looking to get one.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

2 comments

  • Thank you so much for sharing your information. I became a vegetarian at the age of 27, in 1977 and became a vegan in 2010. The best thing I ever did was become a vegan for the animals.