Hand sanitizer has become essential these days. Not all hand sanitizer products are created equally, though. How do you know what to buy? This guide aims to provide you with the hand sanitizer facts you need to know.
Does Hand Sanitizer Work?
Most sanitizers have ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) in them. These ingredients can kill most viruses and bacteria. They work by dissolving the protein layer in these microorganisms.
Look for products with these ingredients. They should tell you what percentage of microorganisms the hand sanitizer kills on the label. You can use that as a guide to know if you are buying an effective product. For example, McKesson Premium Hand Sanitizer with Aloe contains ethyl alcohol and kills 99 percent of microorganisms.
As you can see, sanitizers don’t kill everything, which is why it is still important to wash your hands regularly with soap and hot water. Washing your hands helps to remove germs rapidly and effectively. If your hands feel dirty or are visibly soiled, hand sanitizer is often not enough.
Gel vs. Wipes vs. Spray
Also, consider what viscosity and application style of the hand sanitizer is most comfortable and easy to use for your needs. There are a lot of products on the market, and you’ll find a variety of application options.
Gels and hand sanitizing foams tend to be effective as long as they contain enough alcohol. It’s also essential to ensure you cover all of your hands with the substance to get your desired results.
Again, with hand sanitizing wipes, look for alcohol as the active ingredient. The best hand sanitizer wipes have a saturation percentage of around 70 to be the most effective. Use hand wipes when it’s easier to carry them or remove visible dirt from the hands.
Don’t confuse surfacing cleaning products like Clorox Clean-Up with Bleach with hand sanitizer. They tend to have chemicals that are too harsh for your skin, such as bleach.
Is Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer Effective?
When using alcohol hand sanitizer, it does not take long for your hands to dry out. That’s one of the properties of the alcohol itself.
Some manufacturers include added ingredients designed to moisturize the skin. Moisturizing hand sanitizer, which typically consists of some moisturizing gel, has aloe or vitamin E to help improve the health of your skin. You can use these and get the same results if, once again, they contain alcohol.
Watch for scented products, as well. If you are sensitive to fragrances, look for an unscented brand such as McCord hand sanitizer.
What About Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizers?
A recent study out of Brigham Young University shows that alcohol-free products like SafeHands are just as effective. Governing bodies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommend alcohol-based products. But, if you don’t tolerate the alcohol well, you can use one without alcohol and still have some protection.
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