‘Booming business’: Made-in-B.C. hand sanitizer proving popular

Click to play video: 'Pure Hand Sanitizer'
Pure Hand Sanitizer
A locally made chemical-free hand sanitizer is proving popular – Mar 6, 2020

Editor’s note:

After publishing this story, Back to Earth has informed Global News that its product can make claims about killing bacteria, citing the fact that Health Canada has issued a national product number for its Pure Hand Sanitizer.

“Back to Earth Pure Hand sanitizer is approved by Health Canada as an antiviral and antibacterial product due to the active ingredients of St. John’s Wort and silver,” said Back to Earth founder Kiley Routley.


Back to Earth’s store in Coldstream, B.C., may be small in size, but inside the company is big on personal products.

“Everything from shampoos, conditioners and body butters,” said Back to Earth founder Kiley Routley, adding “we offer up facial care, baby care essential oils teas and cleaning products.”

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The one product, though, that customers can’t seem to get their hands on enough — or perhaps more correctly, can’t get seem to get enough of on their hands — is the company’s new hand sanitizer.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Hand sanitizers, disinfectant in high demand'
COVID-19: Hand sanitizers, disinfectant in high demand

“We can’t keep them on the shelves we put on and it’s gone,” said Kath Raeber, Back to Earth’s accounts manager.

That’s probably because in these days of duress, driven by coronavirus concerns with hospital heists of surgical masks and Costco-sized toilet paper hoarding, hand sanitizer has become a virus-economy, supply chain casualty.

Panicked Purell purchases have some store shelves empty of the product, with no restocking dates in sight.

And so at Back to Earth, breaking out boxes of hand sanitizer and restocking shelves is now a regular part of the morning routine.

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Click to play video: 'Vancouver hospitals report theft of medical supplies, masks and hand sanitizer'
Vancouver hospitals report theft of medical supplies, masks and hand sanitizer

But Back to Earth’s Pure Hand Sanitizer isn’t your average antibacterial hand sanitizer, as the company claims it has no chemicals or alcohol.

Instead, it uses all-natural ingredients.

“St. John’s Wort, which is approved through Health Canada as an antibacterial and antiviral [ingredient],” said Routley. “We use silver that has been known for centuries to kill bacteria.”

Routley says it’s also made with ‘Kisameet glacial clay’ that’s hand-harvested from an island off the coast of central B.C.

She says while the product has Health Canada approval, because it’s all natural, Back to Earth can’t make any claims when it comes to killing bacteria.

Click to play video: 'How effective are hand sanitizers against coronavirus?'
How effective are hand sanitizers against coronavirus?

Still, product sales of the hand sanitizer have been fueling Back to Earth’s bottom line.

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“It’s booming to say the least,” Routley told Global News on Thursday.

The relatively new product is available through its distributor across Canada, as well as on-line.

The company is even fielding product enquiries from Asia as COVID-19 continues to spread.

For those who would rather use an all-natural hand sanitizer, Routley says a run on it is not likely.

“We still have lots,” Routley said assuredly. “We were well prepared and we’re making it as we speak.”

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How effective are homemade sanitizers?

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