Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is straightforward to use, convenient, and sometimes easy to seek out. While there is a correct way to use hand sanitizer to get the most benefit from it, what’s probably more important knows when using it may not be the best choice. How to Properly Use Hand Sanitizer general.
Hand sanitizer can help kill microbes, but it is not effective on all germs and can do nothing for other substances that will get on your hands.
Laboratory studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show alcohol-based hand sanitizers made from 60% ethanol and 70% isopropanol are able to inactivate viruses genetically related to COVID-19.
Learn about COVID-19, including symptoms and how it’s diagnosed.
The CDC recommends cleaning your hands with soap and water whenever possible, as often as possible (and always when your hands are visibly soiled). Hand sanitizers are often utilized in addition to the present or when washing isn’t an option.
Use Sanitizer When: How to Properly Use Hand Sanitizer
You can’t wash with soap and water
You want added protection after washing
Don’t Use Sanitizer
In place of washing with soap and water
When your hands are visibly soiled
When you have chemicals on your hands
How It Works
When sanitizers first came out, there was little research showing what they did and didn’t do, but that has changed. More research needs to be done, but scientists are learning more all the time.
The active ingredient in hand sanitizers is isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), a similar form of alcohol (ethanol or n-propanol), or a combination of them. Alcohols have long been known to kill microbes by dissolving their protective outer layer of proteins and disrupting their metabolism.2
According to the CDC, research shows that hand sanitizer kills germs as effectively as washing your hands with soap and water unless your hands are visibly dirty or greasy. They also don’t remove potentially harmful chemicals.3
Hand sanitizers also don’t kill some common germs soap and water do eliminate, such as:
Bacteria and Virus Protection
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken legal action against some hand sanitizer companies for making unproven claims against salmonella, e. Coli, Ebola, rotavirus, influenza, and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
At the same time, though, studies are beginning to suggest that alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be effective at killing some of these germs. Even so, the companies that make them have yet to gain FDA approval for these uses, making any claims to this end illegal.
For Example: How to Properly Use Hand Sanitizer
A 2020 study on hospital-borne infections shows sanitizers may help slow the spread of MRSA and other infections by providing a quick, easy, and convenient way for healthcare workers to improve their hand hygiene.
Research published in 2015 concluded that alcohol-based sanitizers were able to reduce the populations of salmonella and E.coli. Intensive hand-sanitizer use in Japan in response to a flu pandemic may have cut short-term rates of Coronavirus.
In a study on elementary schools, hand sanitizers cut absences due to illness by 26% and reduced confirmed cases of illness from the highly contagious influenza A virus by 52%. It was, however, less effective against the influenza B virus.
A 2018 study on daycare centers found a drop in days missed due to overall illness when the center introduced hand sanitizers and educated staff, children, and parents on their proper use.
However, it’s important to remember that not all of the research is conclusive. In fact, one study on long-term healthcare facilities suggested that employees’ preference for sanitizers over soap and water may have contributed to norovirus outbreaks.
Furthermore, the nuances of some of these conclusions can be confusing. For example, a study published in 2019 noted that an ethanol-based hand sanitizer reduced norovirus infection risk by 85% when there’s short-term contact with the virus.
However, under high-contamination conditions, such as those you might find on a cruise ship or in a long-term care facility, the sanitizer offered no protection whatsoever.
What to Look For
The CDC recommends sanitizers with a minimum of 60% alcohol content. Most products contain between 60% and 95%, but don’t assume that the higher the percentages are more effective.
To work at peak efficiency, these products also got to contain some water. Some products on the market claim to sanitize your hands but contain too little alcohol or no alcohol at all. These products will likely not offer you adequate protection.
How to Use It
When hand sanitizers work, their effectiveness is predicated on several factors. In addition, to which product you use, they include:
How much you use
Some situations during which the use of a hand sanitizer could also be appropriate include when you’re riding public transportation. Have shaken hands or touched an animal, after you’ve touched a grocery cart, and so on.
To Use Hand Sanitizer Correctly
Place the recommended amount in the palm of one hand. (Read the manufacturer’s directions)
Rub your hands together, covering your entire hand, including between your fingers
Stop rubbing in the sanitizer only once your skin is dry
Take care to keep alcohol-based hand sanitizing gel out of the reach of young children, as it can be very dangerous if swallowed. The high alcohol content can be fatal to a young child.
When Not to Use It
Hand sanitizer shouldn’t be used rather than soap and water when:
Washing is convenient
Your hands are greasy or visibly dirty
You have chemicals on your hands
You may have been exposed to infectious agents that aren’t killed by hand sanitizer
You’re in a high-infection situation
To keep yourself and your family healthy, it’s especially important to clean your hands after you’ve used the restroom or prepared food. Vigorously washing your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds is best.
(FAQs) About How to Properly Use Hand Sanitizer
Q. Do alcohol-free sanitizers work?
A. No, alcohol-free sanitizers don’t kill germs on your hands. You need an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has at least 60 percent alcohol to decrease the number of germs on the hands.
Q. How much hand sanitizer is needed to clean your hands?
A. Shadow the orders on the bottle of hand sanitizer. Most will teach you to use an amount the proportions of 1 / 4. You need to hide all exteriors of your hands, the top, bottom, fingers, around fingertips and fingernails, and review your wrist about two creeps.
Q. How long does one rub your hands together when using hand sanitizer?
A. Clean your hands together for about 15-30 seconds (about the time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday to You song) or pending hands impression dry.
Q. Do I even have to attend for the hand sanitizer to dry on my skin?
A. Yes. Clean your hands together pending the hand sanitizer impression dry on your skin. DO NOT groundswell your hands around to dry them because they’re going to consume microorganisms that are within the air.
Q. When do you need to use soap and water instead of hand sanitizer?
A. Hand sanitizers are not as effective on hands that are oily or heavily soiled. It is best to use cleanser and water after handling food, playing sports, and gardening, camping, fishing or performing on vehicles.
Q. Can I wave my hands around to dry them after using hand sanitizer?
A. No. DO NOT wave your hands from place to place to dry them because they’re going to consume microorganisms that are within the air.