If you are a parent of young children, you probably received that email that circulated several months ago about Purell hand sanitizer. Turns out, while the alcohol in hand sanitizers kill germs, it also poses a serious threat to young children who can get alcohol poisoning if they put their hands in their mouth after using Purell or another like-formulated hand sanitizer.
After the Purell warning, I put the Purell out of reach of my kids (even though at the time Sydney was old enough to know not to put her hands in her mouth, and Jules was too young to reach the Purell), and eventually got rid of the Purell altogether. I had seen an alcohol-free hand sanitizer reviewed on PBN, but it wasn't available in stores and I wasn't up to buying it online. Every time I went to the doctor's office, I searched the pharmacy for an alcohol-free, all-natural hand sanitizer, but to no avail. I couldn't find it anywhere.
With germ season upon us (as I hear both girls coughing in their rooms), I was determined to find a better all-natural product that I could use to clean the girls' hands. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to search very hard because I got lucky enough to review CleanWell, the product that Parent Bloggers Network bloggers reviewed earlier for hand-sanitizer, only now there's a new product: foaming antibacterial hand soap.
While there has been some concern over the chemicals used in antibacterial hand soap--namely, whether they are really safe, and whether or not they promote resistant strains of bacteria--CleanWell's foaming hand wash is the first all-natural Triclosan-free hand soap to kill nearly all those pesky germs. Of course, because it is "foaming" hand wash, then it includes sodium lauryl sulfate which is an irritant for sensitive skin, especially skin prone to eczema (information I learned thanks to nanny Rebekah who was a fountain of information concerning harmful products!).
But the reason for sodium lauryl sulfate is that it helps deliver suds to the skin, helping to clean it faster, which is good since most people (especially kids) don't wash their hands for the recommended round of singing your ABCs. To combat skin from drying out from the sodium lauryl sulfate, CleanWell includes skin conditioners like aloe and white tea. My skin still felt pretty dry after using the soap, but that's probably because between changing diapers and feeding kids I'm washing my hands all the time. Most importantly, however, CleanWell's product is triclosan-free, a chemical commonly found in deodorants and other soaps and appears to be a very unfriendly chemical.
I got to try out all three of CleanWell's foaming hand soaps: orange vanilla, ginger bergamot, lavender absolute. While fragrances are often a no-no when it comes to being all-natural (especially since the FDA doesn't require companies to list what chemicals they use in fragrances), CleanWell goes above and beyond by not only listing their fragrance oils, but using natural ones.
The bottles come with removable labels, which I was initially skeptical about thinking that once you removed the labels then you wouldn't be able to consult the drug facts list. But clever CleanWell: I pulled the labels off and there was still a small box that included the soap's ingredients. Quite handy.
My favorite scent was the orange vanilla, which happens to be the only scent that our local Target currently carries. I was over at the Center Street Target yesterday, and was curious to see what the soap is priced at. I found it (aisle A35), and the foaming hand soap is $4.49, and the hand-sanitizer (which I'm thrilled to be using now as a safer alternative to Purell) was $6.99 for a 6 oz. bottle.
It's hard to know what's safe to use these day, and what isn't. Fortunately, CleanWell seems to be making good strides toward creating a product that is healthier for me and my kids. I think the fewer chemicals that are in our daily products, the better. It follows along with one of my words of the year--gentleness. Looks like I've found a soap that's gentle for us, and gentle for the environment.
PS: If you're interested in researching more of what ingredients your soaps and makeup contain, consider checking out Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. According to Skin Deep, CleanWell has signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics. Cool.