Toxic Shopping Cart Cleaner Alternatives and Homemade Hand Sanitizer

At my local Trader Joe’s and Sprouts the Cart Cleaning Wipes contain “Quats”. I see people using these toxic wipes to wipe themselves down too! What if it is a pregnant woman using this? What if a baby touches this and then puts his or hands in their mouths? What if you are the next person to use this cart that is now covered with Quats?

I asked the TJ store manager about these environmentally unfriendly wipes. He said that this all the corporation offers. When I mention it to one of the TJ cashiers, the response is  “ours contains natural orange oils” so it is so safe you can wipe your hands with it. So sad that they have been told this BS and spreading this BS.

But Whole Foods has it right. See pictures below.



Quats- quaternary ammonium compounds- which are endocrine disruptors in humans and toxic to marine life.

Check out what This Chemical Safety Database says about quats:

“Quaternary ammonium compounds can cause toxic effects by all routes of exposure including inhalation, ingestion,dermal application and irrigation of body cavities. Exposure to diluted solutions can cause mild and self-limited irritation. Concentrated solutions of quaternary ammonium compounds are corrosive and can cause burns to the skin and the mucous membranes. They can produce systemic toxicity due to their curare-like properties. They can also cause allergic reactions.

Mild to severe caustic burns of the skin and mucous membranes can occur depending on the agent and the concentration. Other signs may include: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, anxiety, restlessness, coma, convulsions, hypotension, cyanosis and apnoea due to respiratory muscle paralysis; death may occur within 1 or 3 hours after ingestion of concentrated solutions. Haemolysis and methaemoglobinemia have been reported infrequently.”

Here Is A Report that the SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, an organization in the EU) did on a number of quats. The SCCS recommends that based on the skin reactions and toxicity seen in the studies, that concentrations of behentrimonium chloride shouldn’t exceed 3% in a rinse-off product, and should be no more than .5% in a leave-on product.

Whole Foods has it right. Their cart wipes are non toxic:


Most people (me included) are germ phobic esp during cough and cold season. Who wants to get the Flu or a Cold?

So here’s what I recommend you do. Make your own Alcohol based hand sanitizer or purchase one. You can them spray the cart handle with this and wipe it down with a tissue. I also spray my hand after I use the credit card pen. ( I wish they would just get rid of that pen. Gas stations don’t use them).  I prefer my homemade alcohol hand spray over the gel hand sanitizer- the former does not leave a residue.

Purchased this from Daiso (the $1.50 store)


then added these ingredients- the number of drops of pure 100% essential oil you add depends on how strong you want the fragrance. Put a few drops in, see how it smells. You can always add more. I love the smell of citrus (energizing). Whereas Lavender is calming, Peppermint is energizing and Patchouli for misc. skin health. Tea tree oil is antiseptic. The tangerine (my favorite) is orange in color so technically it could stain. A word of caution: Citrus oil can irritate some people’s skin, cause allergies more so than other oils and or cause photo dermatitis.

I usually add about 10-15 drops of essential oil per small bottle sprayer.


Finished product –


Makes a nice holiday gift.

I purchased these from Whole Foods:  The small one fits nicely into a small clutch.  You can refill them too.




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