Coming Soon: Green Seal Certified Hand Sanitizers

Published on: 6/15/2020
By: Brie Welzer

As workplaces begin to re-open in many states and counties across the US, Green Seal has offered guidance for protecting essential workers and building occupants through safe and effective cleaning and disinfecting.  Green Seal-certified cleaning products and hand soaps are critical tools for de-contaminating buildings and protecting workers, and Green Seal-certified cleaning services and programs are meeting the highest industry standards for safe and effective cleaning and disinfecting in commercial buildings and institutions nationwide. Now, Green Seal is expanding options for safer effective hand hygiene products by developing certification requirements for alcohol-based hand sanitizers

Green Seal-certified hand sanitizers will be third-party verified to meet high levels of human health protection in a rapidly expanding market with many first-time producers. We are eager to highlight health-protective hand sanitizers so that households, retailers, office buildings, and government purchasers can quickly find the safest and effective product options. 

To support the ongoing COVID-19 response, we are moving quickly: we anticipate that manufacturers will be able to achieve Green Seal certification for hand sanitizers this summer. 

Hand sanitizers to protect your health

Counties and states have already published guidance on placing hand sanitizer dispensers at entrances, outside bathrooms, in hallways and office lobbies, and at store check-out lines. This is evidence-based policy: hand sanitizers are convenient, efficient, and effective when soap and water is not available. According to clinical and community-based studies, hand sanitizer use is associated with reduced rates of respiratory viruses and other illnesses in workplaces, households, dormitories, and K-12 schools. 

person applying hand sanitizer










Certified products are healthier products

Hand sanitizers available on the US market can be formulated with raw materials and additives that have relatively high levels of contaminants with varying health risks, including methanol (highly toxic), acetaldehyde (a carcinogen), hydroquinone (causes skin darkening and disfiguration), and can be intentionally formulated with benzophenone (toxic and associated with skin allergies). Hand sanitizers can also include fragrances with ingredients that are irritating to skin and eyes. 

Green Seal reviews all ingredients that go into a product, including all impurities of ethanol, vitamin E, and fragrances. 

We want to hear from you

Green Seal is currently conducting market research, product ingredient reviews, and conversations with stakeholder groups to support our development of draft requirements for hand sanitizers. You can book a meeting with us here to provide your technical or market input. 

In July, Green Seal will hold a 15-day Public Comment Period where you can access and comment on the Draft Criteria for Hand Sanitizers. Green Seal publishes all submitted comments, along with our responses, after the comment period closes.  

Upon finalization, these requirements will be added to two existing Green Seal standards that cover hand hygiene products: GS-41 for Hand Cleaners and GS-44 for Soaps, Cleansers, and Shower Products

Green Seal anticipates that the Final Hand Sanitizer Criteria will be issued in August. Sign up to stay in the loop on this project or express your interest in certifying your hand sanitizer here.  


by Brie Welzer, Program Manager, Science & Standards Department