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 was,  “Ours contains natural orange oils, so it is so safe you can wipe your hands with it”… Umm, I don’t think so.


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.

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


Good to reduce exposure to unwanted bacteria and viruses. No one wants to get the Flu or Corona virus.

So here’s what you can do. Make your own Alcohol based hand sanitizer sprayer or purchase one. You can then spray all sorts of things with this: Shopping cart handle, credit card pen, touch screens, airplane seat belt buckle, arm rests and tray tables.

(But glad to see more and more touch-less credit card transactions. I use my Apple watch to pay for many things now. So convenient. And clean. ) 

Make your own Hand Sanitizer Sprayer

Into your 2oz spray bottle, add few drops of essential oil – 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, combine different oils to make your own scents. I love the smell of citrus, which is uplifting, cheerful. 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. All the oils can be irritating if your skin is sensitive.

I usually add about 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 oz  bottle sprayer. Then fill the rest of the bottle with 70% rubbing alcohol. Leaving some room for sprayer tubing. Cons: spraying makes noise. So if you are in a quiet place, you can hear the spray.

Color of the Hand Sanitizer spray with tangerine essential oil is a light orange:

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.

Make your own Hand Sanitizer Gel

To make homemade Hand Sanitizer Gel: Proportions are mix 2/3 of 91% rubbing alcohol (better to error on the side of adding a little more rubbing alcohol because you do not want to go below 60% alcohol) to 1/3 aloe gel (thicker) or Glycerin gel (waterier) . Optional essential oils. Use a ruler and Sharpie to draw marks directly onto the bottle, dividing it out into equal thirds. Remember to leave about 1/2 inch at top to allow room to shake your mixture. Then squirt in your gel to the first 1/3 line and rubbing alcohol for the rest. Shake well to mix. Cons: need to shake it before use because the gel separates.

How to make your own Sanitizing wipes

Coming soon. I need to see if biodegradable fabric is readily avaible.

3 thoughts on “Toxic Shopping Cart Cleaner Alternatives and Homemade Hand Sanitizer”

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