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14 Jan 2021

Hand sanitiser containing toxic methanol recalled

Trading Standards has published recalls for two more dangerous hand sanitisers sold on online marketplaces
Hand sanitiser

Trading Standards has issued recall notices for two alcohol hand sanitiser gels sold on online marketplaces which pose serious potential health risks to the public.

lbcccndc Instant Hand Sanitiser, which was sold on Alibaba and eBay but has now been removed, was found to contain 37% methanol - a highly toxic banned substance.

It also didn't contain the required levels of ethanol to kill germs such as COVID-19 (just 7% by volume).

Worryingly, we spotted it still on sale at Wish.com when we checked. It has now been removed from the site after we contacted the company.

A recall notice has also been issued for Yucky Hands Hand Sanitizer, which only contains an alcohol volume of 42.3%, which is considered insufficient to effectively kill viruses on your hands.

A previous Which? investigation found a number of hand sanitiser gels sold online didn't contain the amount of alcohol they claimed to, leaving consumers at risk of being unknowingly unprotected from COVID-19 and other germs.

Hand hygiene, soap and sanitiser gel: what you need to know

Which hand sanitisers have been recalled?

If you spot either of these hand sanitisers for sale online, don't buy them. If you already own them, stop using them immediately.

Ibcccndc Instant Hand Sanitiser - contains dangerous levels of methanol

This product has very similar-looking packaging to household brand Dettol, but don't be fooled. It was found to contain toxic methanol and also doesn't contain enough ethanol to kill germs effectively.

Ibcccndc hand sanitiser


Batch number
EXP: 2023-03-18, MFD: 2020-03-19, SC01526

Packaging size and description

A 50ml squeezable and 250ml pump-action plastic bottle, with a green flip-top lid and green labelling.

Where has it been sold?

Online. This product was stocked on Alibaba and eBay, but has now been taken down.

We spotted it still on sale at Wish.com and raised this with the marketplace, but it has since been removed.

A Wish spokesperson told us: 'Wish takes the issue of product safety seriously, as outlined in our merchant policies. We regularly perform a full site sweep, removing all hand sanitizer products containing methanol, which we have now completed. We'd like to thank Which? for bringing this matter to our attention.'

What you need to know

The recall alert notes that the low ethanol content means you won't be protected against bacteria or viruses, increasing the risk of infection, and, even more concerningly - that the methanol content is acutely toxic to the central nervous system and to the eyes. It states that ingestion or contact with methanol may lead to blindness and death.

This product also lacks the necessary warnings for alcohol-based hand sanitiser, which should alert users to the potential toxicity and flammability of the product.

What to do if you have it already, or spot it online

If you have already bought this product, don't use it and consult your doctor if you have already.

If you spot it for sale, please let us know at healtheditor@which.co.uk

Yucky Hands Hand Sanitizer - alcohol content not high enough to kill germs

Yucky hands sanitiser


Batch number

Packaging size and description

Squeezable plastic bottle with flip-top lid, and red and white labelling.

Where has it been sold?

Online. This product was for sale on Amazon and Etsy, among other places. All Amazon UK listings have been removed but we've spotted it still for sale on the Amazon US site. We have contacted Amazon about this and they told us they are looking into it and will get back to us.

The Yucky Hands Etsy shop is currently not stocking any products. We have approached Yucky Hands for comment but haven't received a response.

What you need to know

The recall alert notes that the low ethanol content means that you won't be protected against bacteria or viruses, increasing the risk of infection.

What to do if you have it already, or spot it online

If you have already bought this product, do not use it.

If you spot it still for sale, please let us know at healtheditor@which.co.uk

Recall advice - know your rights when it comes to product recalls

Best face masks and face coverings - Which? tests reveal the reusable face coverings that filter particles effectively

Why is methanol dangerous in hand sanitisers?

Methanol is not considered an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitiser as it's a highly toxic substance.

Ingestion or contact with it could lead to methanol poisoning, symptoms of which include headaches, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, loss of coordination and even death.

Recommended alcohols for use in hand sanitiser are ethanol and isopropanol, which are both considered safe for use in this context.

Bear in mind that even these products should be treated with care, as all alcohol-based hand sanitisers can be toxic if ingested, particularly to young children, and are potentially flammable, too, due to the high alcohol content.

Man applying hand sanitiser

Buying hand sanitiser from online marketplaces is a risky business, tests show

Previous Which? tests uncovered three alcohol-based hand sanitisers sold online that didn't contain the levels of alcohol they claimed to.

We tested a small snapshot of the most prominent online marketplace listings, and three of the nine products failed our tests.

The latest recalls show that there is an ongoing issue with the safety of hand sanitiser sold on marketplaces, so it pays to be mindful of where you buy your hand gels from. All the major high street alcohol hand gel brands we included passed our tests - you can see the full list in our hand sanitiser test story.

Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, says:

'It's really worrying that hand sanitisers that at best fail to protect and at worst could cause serious harm to someone's health continue to be found readily available on online marketplaces.
'While it's positive that these hand sanitiser products have been recalled, this raises further questions over the checks and monitoring carried out by online marketplaces. They must be given greater legal responsibility for the safety of products sold on their sites so that customers are better protected.'

For more information on staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, see Which? advice.