Medicine for the Outdoors
Medicine for the Outdoors

Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.

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Wonder Wash and Hand Sanz

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Wonder Wash is a biodegradeable and concentrated all purpose soap from All Terrain that comes in peppermint scent or fragrance free. It is advertised to be for "washing anything, anywhere, anytime," formulated to be gentle on skin, pH neutral, and sufficiently mild to be used as shampoo. It ingredients include purified water, sodium coco sulphate, coco betaine, coco amide, vegetable glycerin, sea salt, olive oil, and citric acid. The soap I tested came in a clear, semi-flexible plastic bottle with a press-to-open/press-to-close cap with a volume of 4 fluid ounces (120 milliliters).

I tested the Fragrance Free product. First, I used it in the kitchen to wash dishes, and it was just fine in terms of lather and apparent detergent action. It felt like soap and acted like soap. My hands did not appear to be overly dry or otherwise affected after I used the soap to clean the dishes and then to wash my hands afterwards. I shampooed once with the product, and my hair was clean, but as you might imagine, didn't have any new artificial fragrance. There was no tingling in my scalp, as I have noticed with some other shampoo products, particularly those that contain peppermint. I didn't test the peppermint product, so perhaps it might have that effect.

To test it on clothing, I poured tomato sauce onto two separate locations on a cotton tee shirt (when I eat spaghetti, it is usually the case that I wind up wearing it...). While the shirt was still moist from the sauce, I used Wonder Wash and warm water to hand scrub the material, comparing that to an area scrubbed and rinsed with warm water alone. The soap definitely improved the rate at which the tomato sauce disappeared from the shirt - in fact, I couldn't completely get the stain out of the shirt in the area where I scrubbed without the soap, so I added a bit of the soap and then it came clean.

The results I observed match up with others I have read on the Internet; however, I wasn't brave enough to test it as a substitute for toothpaste. So, if you are interested in a preservative-free, "environmentally friendly" product, this should fit the bill.

Hand Sanz is advertised as an all natural, moisturizing hand sanitizer. It contains 62% ethyl alcohol, as well as wood cellulose to moisturize and thicken the product. It also contains purified water, vitamin E, and aloe vera. In my work at the hospital, and during travel to foreign countries, I have used many different hand sanitizers. Hand Sanz feels better than most of them, in terms of the combination of ease of application, rapidity of drying, softness, lack of precipitates, and residual skin feel.

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Dr. Paul S. Auerbach is the world’s leading authority on wilderness medicine.

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