10 Hand Sanitizer Facts You Should Know About

How many hand sanitizers do you own? If the number is between 5-10, you’re like most of us. We’ve got them stashed everywhere -- the car, our handbag, a few in our desk drawers, and attached to the kids’ backpacks. 

We own plenty of hand sanitizers… but what do we really know about them? How do they actually sanitize your hands? Is using a hand sanitizer better than washing your hands with soap and water? 

The team at Hope Health Supply knows hand sanitizer. In fact, our pocket sized hand sanitizer spray is one of our most popular items. The most popular never-leave-home-without-it item we’ve all got stashed everywhere is a powerful tool in the fight against COVID-19, but only if you’re using the right kind. 

If you’re curious about what makes a hand sanitizer effective, and conversely what can make them ineffective and even (in some cases) harmful, we can help. 

We’ve got ten hand sanitizer facts you should know about, so you can use your favorite sanitizer spray with confidence. 

10 Hand Sanitizer Facts You Should Know About

The humble hand sanitizer spray went from zero to hero in the spring of 2020. However, alcohol-based hand sanitizer has been used as an antiseptic since the 1800’s. 

Here are ten other facts you probably don’t know about hand sanitizer. 

1. It doesn’t replace hand washing. 

Sorry to disappoint you, but hand sanitizer doesn’t replace regular hand washing. According to the CDC, hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of viruses and keep yourself and others safe. 

It goes without saying you won’t always be able to get to a sink, and that’s what makes hand sanitizer such a great tool. When you can’t wash your hands, using an alcohol based hand rub can help you remove germs and bacteria. However, it doesn’t do as good a job as plain soap and water. 

There is a caveat to this fact: There are some situations in which the CDC does recommend you use a hand sanitizer instead of soap and water, such as when you’re about to visit someone in the hospital. 

2. Alcohol type matters.

The amount of alcohol in your hand sanitizer matters, and the type of alcohol inside matters, too. The FDA regulates the hand sanitizers we use and makes sure the alcohol contained in them is either isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol. 

Other alcohols, like methanol, are dangerous for human use and have been found in hand sanitizers manufactured in the U.S. in the past year. Check the FDA’s list of hand sanitizers you shouldn’t use before making a purchase. 

3. Alcohol content matters.

Not only does the type of alcohol in your hand sanitizer matter, the concentration matters, too. According to both the World Health Organization and the CDC, your hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective in germ removal. 

If you plan to use a hand sanitizer spray on something other than your hands (like a smartphone screen), that amount jumps to 70%.

4. DIY hand sanitizer isn’t a great idea. 

If you weren’t able to get access to hand sanitizer spray at the onset of the pandemic, you may have resorted to using an online recipe to make your own. However, DIY hand sanitizer recipes are really meant for use as a last resort. 

Making your own hand sanitizer can be risky; if you get the formulation wrong you could end up with a sanitizer that doesn’t work, or even irritates your skin. 

5. There’s a right way to do it.

All those who just squirt a little sanitizer on their hands and rub it around for a few seconds, raise your hands. 

There’s definitely a right way (and a bunch of wrong ways) to sanitizer your hands. If you’re only squirting a tiny bit of sanitizer on your hands and sloshing it around for a few seconds, you're not sanitizing properly. 

To sanitize the correct way, you need to cover your hands completely with sanitizer and rub them together (including in between your fingers and around cuticles) until the hand sanitizer has completely dried. 

6. Hand sanitizer sprays are less messy.

Sprays are great for adults and kids, and are good for preventing messes. Sprays are also incredibly useful if you plan to use your hand sanitizer spray for surfaces other than your hands. 

For instance, if you want to sanitizer your smartphone, door handles, or even your steering wheel, you can use a spray to quickly eliminate germs and bacteria without creating a goopy, sticky mess. 

7. It won’t clean your hands.

Hand sanitizer will help remove germs and bacteria from your hands, but it doesn’t clean them. If your hands are covered with dirt, the hand sanitizer won’t be effective in removing it. For full dirt removal, you’ll have to hit the sink. 

8. Cleaning products and wipes aren’t a substitute for hand sanitizer.

You should never use cleaning products or wipes on your skin. Cleaning products contain harsh chemical ingredients (like bleach) that can irritate and even damage your skin. 

You should never use bleach, cleaning solutions, or cleaning wipes as a substitute for hand sanitizer.

9. Alcohol-free hand sanitizer hasn’t been shown to be as effective.

You might be lured into buying “natural” or “alcohol-free” hand sanitizers thinking they’ll be less drying on your hands, or that they will somehow be more protective. This isn’t the case. 

Most “natural” hand sanitizers contain benzalkonium chloride, but the CDC does not recommend using these as alternatives to alcohol-based hand rubs. 

10. Hope Health Supply carries hand sanitizer spray, in stock, ready to ship.

We might be biased, but we think you’ll love our pocket-sized hand sanitizer sprays. They’re great for hands and surfaces and contain 75% ethyl alcohol. 

Small enough to fit in your gym bag or car console, you can stash a few of these practically anywhere and be certain you’ll have a spray handy when you need it. 

Our hand sanitizer is also lightly scented, so you don't have to worry about clearing a room with heavily fragranced sanitizer fumes every time you sanitize your hands. Size: 10 ml/.34 oz

The Takeaway

Your favorite little sanitizing tool has a lot to offer and is truly one of your first lines of defense against getting sick. Using hand sanitizer spray between hand washes is a great way to keep yourself and others protected from the spread of germs, but only if you’re using a hand sanitizer formulated to CDC guidelines. 

Hand sanitizer should contain 60%-70% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol for it to be effective, and you should make sure you’re rubbing your hands together until the sanitizer is completely dry to ensure you’ve sanitized properly. 

If you’ve still got questions about hand sanitizer, we’ve got answers. Hope Health Supply not only carries some of the best (and arguably most convenient) hand sanitizer available, we also carry KN95 masks, disposable non-medical masks, disinfectant wipes, and other personal protective items to help you stay safe and keep others protected. 

You can navigate a newer, safer way of living easily when you trust Hope Health Supply for your personal healthcare product needs.