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  • Samantha and Rachel Bernstein

The Search for the Perfect Hand Sanitizer

The perfect hand sanitizer was gone, backordered for months. The Edgemont Families’ Facebook group was exploding with tips for how to find it; seemingly an easy task, one might think -- or hope. As the virus spread, so did the desire to buy twenty extra bottles of hand sanitizer ‘just in case’ the apocalyptic nightmare of Covid spread further. And then this fear became reality. Purell, aka ‘the go-to hand sanitizer brand,’ had disappeared from Amazon and most store shelves, leaving users panicked and with no other options.

Now, many months later, we face the opposite problem. How do you distinguish between the overwhelming variety of different hand sanitizers? We asked a few Edgemont teachers to give recommendations for their favorite brands. Many said they still prefer Purell, but others have found new favorites. A popular alternative to Purell, is Germ X, which according to an Edgemont teacher, “is the only one that doesn’t smell like cheap alcohol one might ‘enjoy’ in college.” Señor Jeremiah, another fan of Germ X, agrees that this is the best alternative. “Don't ask me to use flavors like Lemons and Sunshine or Raspberry Lemon Sorbet from Bath and Body Works.” Señor Jeremiah was one of the lucky few able to stock up in March, so he mainly uses Purell, with his unwanted Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer as backup.

Desperate times call for digging through your kid’s collection of B&BW pocketbacs. Mr. Scutero disagrees with Señor Jeremiah’s disdain for scented hand sanitizers, and his first choice is “Coastal Coconut” from Bath and Body Works. According to his daughter, it smells like “deliciousness.”

Ms. Egan was able to find her new favorite brand, Charged, while waiting in line at TJ Maxx. “I was waiting in line to check out (along with several other things I really didn't need...but am now glad I had!) The Rose scent is my favorite!”

Others were not so lucky. Mr. Darby, a Purell enthusiast, was forced to resort to Bye, Bye Germs. Though it works, he is not a fan. “It comes in a jug that looks like it would hold Clorox bleach. It's probably killing more than germs though. Purell, Dial and Safeguard haven't been in stock for months, but Stop and Shop has many basement brands that look like they could've been made in someone's house.”

Several Edgemont teachers decided to craft their own hand sanitizer during quarantine. Mr. Hassenbrook did just that. “Online teaching had the sights and sounds of the classroom. I began to create a hand sanitizer that kept me safe, but also made me feel like I was back at school. It took a few tries, but I've settled on a special concoction (patent pending, secret recipe) that makes me feel like I'm in the D-building on a rainy day. I call my creation "wet dog." The best part? Not only does it keep me germ free, but the smell drives people away, thereby helping me to maintain social distancing.”

Ms. Kim also attempted to conjure her own hand sanitizers. She created the “Kim's Virus-Bustin' Homebrewed Miracle Concoction, available for visitors and furniture of D-10.”

Mr. Nowak tried a more scientific method. “As a science teacher and director of the science research program, I did some reading on the topic of hand sanitizers to see if I could synthesize my own in my kitchen laboratory. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find anything on the Internet on how I could repurpose all of my sourdough starter to make a homemade sanitizer. Just as I was about to break down and pay an exorbitant sum on Amazon, my lovely wife reminded me we had purchased a liter of the stuff pre-pandemic and it was in the hall closet (brand unknown, but EtOH% above the 60% threshold). Crisis averted (for now).” Some resorted to other methods, like Ms. Cecere, who suggested using sandpaper to disinfect the classroom surfaces.

It all comes down to personal preference, but it’s good to know how many hand sanitizer options we all have. Sometimes, it’s just easier to wash your hands.


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