Remember when you used to buy heavily scented one-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer to hang on your bag? It was almost like an accessory, and you might have even had a cool carrying case for it.
In the last year, you’ve probably leveled up to bottles upon bottles of hand sanitizer, stashed in your car, on your desk, and practically everywhere around your home.
The early days of COVID-19 sent everyone to the store in search of healthcare supplies, and hand sanitizer became increasingly difficult not only to find, but to afford. Consumer hoarding and price gouging made it less likely that the general public would have access to the hand sanitizer they needed.
Now that production is finally catching up with demand, you can make some decisions about what kind of hand sanitizer works best for you and your family. Hand sanitizer is available in different formulas and consistencies, but the CDC does have guidelines to ensure it’s efficacy.
If you feel lost in a sea of hand sanitizer information, we can help. Hope Health Supply specializes in personal protective equipment and supplies. We have all the information you need to know about what hand sanitizer can do, what types are available, and how you can use the correct kind as we continue to battle COVID-19.
What Hand Sanitizer Is, and What It Is Not
Hand sanitizer is your solution for proper hand hygiene between regular hand washes. We know that hand washing is one of the first lines of defense against the spread of germs, but sometimes there’s just no way we can get to the sink. When you can’t get to soap and water, or literally don’t have twenty seconds to wash your hands thoroughly, hand sanitizer reigns supreme.
Hand sanitizer is effective in sanitizing your hands, and if it contains enough alcohol, it can also sanitize certain non-porous surfaces (like countertops and doorknobs).
- Sanitizing: Sanitizing refers to lowering the number of germs and bacteria on a surface so that they are within limits allowable by public health authorities.
- Disinfecting: Disinfecting refers to destroying or inactivating germs and bacteria. Disinfecting your skin (like your hands) isn’t necessary or safe. Your skin is home to loads of bacteria, most of them good, healthy, and necessary to keep you well. Disinfecting is a routine practiced on surfaces.
Hand sanitizer contains a sanitizing agent (normally alcohol) that allows it to reduce the number of germs on your hands so they remain cleaner and safer. Hand sanitizer cannot prevent COVID-19, but it is a necessary and vital part of slowing the spread of this disease.
Different Types of Hand Sanitizer
In terms of formulas and consistency, you’ve definitely got options. You’re no longer limited to highly fragranced hand gels (that may or may not contain glitter). Hand sanitizer is available in either fragrance free or lightly scented blends.
Consistency is largely a decision of preference. If you have younger users, you may not want to use a liquid, as they can be messy and present a possible ingestion hazard for smaller kids.
Here’s an overview of the different consistencies available:
- Gel. Gel hand sanitizer usually comes in a bottle and squeezes or pumps out. It can be a great solution for keeping your hands sanitized, but be warned, younger users may end up using too much. Additionally, gel hand sanitizers sometimes have formulas that are particularly sticky and slow drying, which can be annoying, especially if you’re on the go.
- Spray. Spray hand sanitizer usually comes in a bottle with a diffuser styled spray pump. A spray hand sanitizer is an all around great sanitizing product that works for younger and older users alike. It is fast drying, virtually impossible to overuse, and mess free. Spray hand sanitizer is also great for use on non-porous surfaces like your smartphone, tablet, or even your steering wheel. Because it dries fast and disburses in a fine mist, it’s a great way to keep surfaces sanitized.
- Liquid. Liquid hand sanitizer usually comes in a bottle and disburses with a pump. Liquid is incredibly effective in getting in hard to reach and often forgotten areas, like between fingers and around cuticles, but it can be especially difficult for younger users. Liquid is also notoriously… liquid. Once you pump it into your hand you’ll need to immediately begin rubbing them together to make sure the hand sanitizer doesn’t drip off onto the floor (or your clothing).
Can I Make My Own Hand Sanitizer?
You can, but you probably shouldn’t.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the World Health Organization released a DIY hand sanitizer recipe as a last resort for people unable to find hand sanitizer on store shelves. This was never meant to replace commercially produced hand sanitizer.
In fact, the shortage of hand sanitizer prompted the FDA to release a temporary policy allowing for the production of hand sanitizer by companies that normally don’t make it.
Attempting to make your own hand sanitizer at home isn’t the best way to keep your hands sanitized. You’ll be making it in a non-sterile environment which increases the risk your final product will be contaminated. Additionally, at-home formula recipes are hard to master; you’re likely to get the consistency and/or the formula wrong.
If you get the formula wrong, your hand sanitizer won’t be effective.
What Kind of Hand Sanitizer Should I Use During COVID-19?
If you’re still having trouble finding commercially produced hand sanitizer, we can help. We not only offer hand sanitizer, we offer a wide range of personal protective supplies, like masks, thermometers, and sanitizing wipes.
Per the CDC, a hand sanitizer should contain 60% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol to be effective on hands. For non-porous surfaces, the alcohol content should be 70%. Our hand sanitizer spray contains 75% ethyl alcohol, so you can use it safely and effectively on your hands and surfaces.
Hand sanitizer sprays, like the ones we carry, are incredibly convenient. Unlike liquids and gels that can leak or create a mess, a spray dries rapidly, so even if you spray something you didn’t mean to spray, it will quickly dry. No mess, no hassle.
Additionally, the only kind of hand sanitizer you’ll want to use on surfaces other than your hands is a spray. You should never attempt to use a liquid hand sanitizer or a gel on your smartphone or other electronic devices, as this can be harmful to them and even render them unusable.
Whether or not hand sanitizer was a part of your day to day life before COVID-19, it’s most likely a staple now. Keeping hand sanitizer “on hand” is an easy and effective way for you to protect yourself and do your part in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19.
We’re all in this together, and the more we do to stay safe, the sooner we can think of COVID as a thing of the past.