How Does a Hand Sanitizer Work? Breaking the Myths of Hand Sanitizers and Soaps

Hand sanitizers in hospitals and homes have now become a necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They contain antiseptic properties due to the 605-95% alcohol content. However, according to dermatologists, hand sanitizers are not the solution to all our dirt problems.

If you wonder whether hand sanitizers are the best solution to keep germs at bay, read the article as we discuss if a hand sanitizer works, and we break the myths of hand sanitizers and soaps.

Myth 1: The best solution to keep germs at bay is using a hand sanitizer.
Truth: The best solution for keeping germs at bay is using soap and water, and scrubbing the hands for around 20 seconds. Hand sanitizers may cause skin allergies, such as eczema, if used frequently. A hand sanitizer should only be used when you do not have any soap and water available, but not all the time.

Myth 2: A sanitizer keeps me safe from getting any viruses and bacteria
Truth: Most frequent hand sanitizer users have a false sense of security that they cannot contract any disease. Although using it on your hands is beneficial as it kills some viruses and bacteria, it still does not protect you 100%.

It is essential that you stop touching surfaces in public areas to avoid catching the germs. With the current pandemic, there are many fake hand sanitizers that have flooded the market and may contain harmful chemicals, which are not useful in killing the virus.

Myth 3: I should always use a sanitizer whenever I do not have soap.
Truth: if you have physical dirt and grease on your hands and you use a sanitizer, you may attract more microbes rather than killing them. You should use water to clean, and disinfect using a hand sanitizer. You should also not apply sanitizer on wet hands. When handling food, you should not use a sanitizer because it may affect your digestive tract due to the presence of chemicals.

Myth 4: All sanitizers are the same.
Truth: Hand sanitizers are not the same. The ingredients differ a lot. Some may contain moisturizers and fragrances, while others may not. The amount of alcohol content also differs. Sanitizers without alcohol may seem like a good option because they do not dry out the skin and are not flammable. Nonetheless, they are not an effective way of getting rid of germs. The CDC recommends using alcohol-based sanitizers to kill microbes, and the sanitizer should have an alcohol content of 60-90%.

Myth 5: You only need a small amount of sanitizer to keep away the germs
Truth: Using a tiny drop of sanitizer will not be effective in fighting germs. You need a sizable amount, depending on your hands’ size to get the most out of a sanitizer. Do not overuse a sanitizer. You should alternate using a sanitizer and handwashing or just hand wash all the time. Hand sanitizers have other effects on our bodies; therefore, caution must be taken. Sanitizers should only be used when there is no available water and soap.