Back to School: Are you Shopping for Hand Sanitizer or Handsoap?

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How to Shop for Hand Sanitizers and Soap

It seems way too early to be thinking about going back to school, but I see the stores are, so I bet some frugal planner parents are, too. Even though I won’t be going back to school this year (I’m a teacher in my former life, but I haven’t been since the year prior to last school year), I’m going to join you in the thinking part and the catching the sales part. (top photo source)

Hand Sanitizer:  Safe for Schools?

Is hand sanitizer or antibacterial handsoap on your child’s back-to-school list?

How to Shop for Hand Sanitizers and Soaps

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I know a lot of schools are asking parents to bring basic supplies like paper towel, tissue, and soap these days to cut costs. I also know a lot of schools use alcohol-based hand sanitizer like it’s…well…water. It’s not water, folks.

I would encourage you to read my post about the pros and cons of hand sanitizer before you go shopping. You may want to try Cleanwell’s tea tree oil-based sanitizer instead.  Use the code CWAA5 to save 15% on CleanWell products, including CleanWell’s Natural Hand Sanitizer, until 12/31/2012.

Should You Buy Anti-Bacterial Soaps?

How to Shop for Hand Sanitizers and Soaps

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An even more important topic, in my mind, is the overuse of antibacterial soaps. They are not needed, not ever, unless you’re sick in the hospital. Lots of kids get sick at school, I realize that. But isn’t the fact that lots of kids get sick at school, in spite of the rampant use of sanitizers and antibac products, proof enough that the antibacterial soaps aren’t going to protect you? They are most likely doing more harm than good, in fact. I encourage you to read Antibacterial Soap: How it Works and Why you Should Avoid Triclosan to arm yourself with information, life’s greatest weapon.

What Can We do About It?

You may find yourself wanting to write your child’s teacher or principal a note about antibacterial soap and why you don’t think it’s necessary in their classrooms. You may even get your undies in a bunch about this country’s marketing strategies, companies that sell us things we don’t need while tricking us into thinking we’re protecting our kiddos’ health…all the while creating products that actually harm our kids and our earth. Grrr…

How to Shop for Hand Sanitizers and Soaps

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Here is a form letter to Bath and Body Works, my least favorite store, asking them to reconsider their seeming undying commitment to antibacterials and triclosan. You can cut and paste the informative part and draft a quick letter to your child’s school, too.

Several products I can safely recommend:

For more information:

For now, don’t let yourself be tricked by back-to-school sales on alcohol-based hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap. Be sure to temper your frugality with your common sense, and do your research before commiting to a 64 oz. bottle of something!

Don’t forget!

There are affiliate links to Tropical Traditions in this post from which I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.

This post is linked to Tightwad Tuesdays at Being Frugal and Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family, because sometimes being frugal doesn’t work for me, but writing angry letters does!


Click here for my disclaimer and advertising disclosure - affiliate links in this post will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn't change your price.

5 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    There’s a lot of research that shows that by using antibacterial soaps you can make the issue worse because you are building up an immunity. I second the vote for Cleanwell hand sanitizer. I wasn’t sure how well it would work, but now that I’ve tried it I’m not going back to the alcohol based stuff. Ironically, I saw that Cleanwell for sale at Bath and Body Works. (I don’t work for either company.)

  2. Kara W says

    Here’s another reason not to use antibacterial soap: if you live in a house with a septic system, the antibacterial soap could eventually cause your septic system to fail. Ewwwwww.

    When I was a child, my Grandma found chlorox cleaners. Like the conscientious housewife she was, she started using them so her house would be cleaner. And she started buying antibacterial soaps. And of course she bleached her whites, linens, and rags weekly. When I was 10, their septic system failed. I will NEVER forget the stench. The septic guy said that he was seeing more of this (at that time–it was the late 80’s) as people converted their cleaners to antibacterial stuff. You see, a septic system relies on beneficial bacteria. ….trust me. You don’t want to kill the good guys.

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