Are You Using Hand Sanitizer Correctly? Here's How To Be 100% Sure!


COVID19 has transformed how people live around the globe. It has introduced changes in every aspect of life. A product like hand sanitizer that was predominantly used in hospital settings has now found its way onto grocery lists. In fact, it has become one of the most important personal care items today that you should always have handy.

Using a good hand sanitizer can mean the difference between exposure to or protection from COVID-19. It is one of the best ways to steer clear of the virus that has caused the global pandemic. So, it is critical to use a quality product, the right technique, and know what not to do.

What Happens When You Apply Hand Sanitizer?

Hand sanitizer with alcohol is the ideal alternative to soap and water. There are many products advertised as hand sanitizers that do not contain alcohol, and they can be less destructive on germs and viruses. The most effective hand sanitizers contain at least 60 to 70% ethanol or a combination containing isopropanol or n-propanol.

The alcohol in the hand sanitizer reacts with the membrane proteins of bacteria and viruses in the hands of the user. The alcohol-based hand sanitizer denatures the proteins and dissolves the lipids in the cell membranes disrupting the protective layer around the virus or bacteria.

Some hand sanitizers claim that they contain antibiotics, but that is not the same as alcohol. For a hand sanitizer to be most effective, it should contain alcohol content of over 60%.

What You Should NOT Do With a Hand Sanitizer?

Do Not Use too Much or Not Let it Dry

You do not want your hands to feel wet after you are done rubbing the hand sanitizer. Using more than a dime-sized amount is not going to increase its anti-bacterial action. The hand sanitizer on the hands should dry out after use, typically in 20 seconds or less.

Do Not Apply on Dirty Hands

Hand sanitizers work extremely well in visibly clean environments like hospitals. It is not ideal to use hand sanitizers on dirt-ridden or greasy hands. If you have over soiled your hands while doing construction, gardening, playing sports or doing any other activity, it is important to wash your hands first. Hand sanitizers cannot replace soap and water in such a scenario. It is recommended you hand sanitize once you have cleaned and dried your hands.

Do Not Keep in Reach of Children

You do not want your child spilling, over-using, smelling, licking, tasting or swallowing an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. They can cause a fire if they lick their hands or drink hand sanitizer. Drinking small amounts of alcohol can cause poisoning in children.

Do Not Use a Scented Product

Hand sanitizers that come with added scents have additional toxins. In the times of COVID-19, where sanitizers may be used multiple times a day, it is not the best decision to apply such products on the body regularly.

So, stay away from scented sanitizers.  The best sanitizers leave no smell (for example Germ Shark PX4 One-Gallon is Double Carbon-filtered to remove the alcohol and corn smell many hand sanitizers have).

What You Should REALLY Not Do With a Hand Sanitizer?

DO NOT Point To a Flame or Be Near Fire

Alcohols with low molecular weight like ethanol or isopropyl alcohol produce a blue flame. Under regular light, or white light, this flame is almost invisible. After using a hand sanitizer, it is crucial to remember to stay away from an open flame, a stove, or a barbecue until your hands completely dry out (about 20-30 seconds). It is important to understand that alcohol is combustible and even when it does catch fire it is hardly visible to the naked eye. So, prevent spillage or contact around an open flame and do not allow kids to run and play until the hand sanitizer you have helped them apply has dried out completely.

DO NOT Store in a Hot Vehicle

While it is highly unlikely hand sanitizer will explode in a hot vehicle (only if a flame is introduced), it can become less effective as a disinfectant if stored in a hot place for more than few hours due to alcohol evaporation. If you must store a bottle in your car for convenience, it is best to keep it covered and away from direct sunlight in the glove box or center console. 

DO NOT Use Excessively

Indiscriminate use of hand sanitizers or using very high concentrations leads to unintended consequences. Especially in a scary time like a world pandemic, it is easy for people to use more hand sanitizer to try to ensure coronavirus does not come inside their homes and offices.

But this is a rookie mistake. Alcohol is a dehydrating agent. Continuous and excessive use leads to drying of hands. Applying as needed several times per day is fine, but don’t use it constantly. Dried hands easy develop cuts and cracks that can become breeding ground for secondary bacterial infections. These are also open up an entry passage for the dangerous coronavirus to enter the body.

That is the reason that hand sanitizer gel with alcohol is preferable for many people. The gel in the preparation keeps the hands from drying out completely preventing secondary infections.

DO NOT Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

It is important to understand that at times like these, hand sanitizers may mean the difference between you being COVID19 positive or negative. Using a hand sanitizer that is not FDA-approved or making your own untested hand sanitizer leaves you in the grey area always wondering if your hands are really disinfected or not. An average person has over 400,000 germs in each hand. So, is it wise to use a regulated product or a home-made one?

DO NOT Taste, Drink or Swallow It

Alcohol-poisoning is a serious problem. The ethanol and isopropyl alcohol in hand sanitizers are safe to use. While adults are ever hardly affected, US Poison Control Centers received 85,000 calls between 2011 and 2015 about hand sanitizer consumption by kids.

In adults, the problem may arise when they consume hand sanitizers as a replacement for edible alcohol. During the early days on the pandemic in the United States, reports of children tasting and drinking hand sanitizer rose sharply.

How to Best Use

Using a well-prepared and regulated FDA-registered product like Germ Shark can take away most of the thinking out of using a hand sanitizer.

Regular hand sanitizing has become more important than ever but knowing what not to do can help you extract maximum benefits out of using it.

Like it or not, we live in a changed world. But, do not worry. Keep your immunity up and use good protective measures that include Germ Shark and it should be fine.

Germ Shark your hands and stay safe out there!



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published