Hand Sanitizer: When, what and how much
Recently members of our team here at Work Flow have been asked a LOT of questions about hand sanitizer. Instead of making you do ALL the research yourself, we put all the information and FAQs here for your reference. Though it can’t beat good ol’ handwashing with soap and water, hand sanitizer is very convenient for a quick dose of hygiene after you touch something that could have germs. In this new time of constant worry about what we’re interacting with when we go outside, we thought it would be helpful to let you all know how to use hand sanitizer in a way that maximizes your wellness.
Full Disclosure: Using soap and water to clean your hands is always your best bet to prevent germs, but if soap and water is not available to you, check out these best practices for using hand sanitizer
Like we mentioned before if you can wash your hands with soap and water. But if you’re out shopping, going to the post office, or buying groceries, you can’t always stop and wash your hands. So, the best times to use hand sanitizer can be summed up to whenever you don’t have soap in water. Some of the instances when you should be prepared with hand sanitizer are when you come in contact with people or when you touch something that a lot of people have touched. For example, before and after using shopping carts, door handles, and restaurant counters. If you’re seeing someone you haven’t seen in a while, that’s great, but pump some hand sanitizer after. A good rule of thumb would be to grab that sanitizer every time you leave the house to keep on you in case of any germy encounters.
There are a lot of different brands of hand sanitizer out there, and it’s hard to know which kind is best. The biggest thing you want to look for when buying a hand sanitizer is its alcoholic percentage. Any hand sanitizer that is 60-90% alcohol should do the trick, but if you’re using anything under 60, it could be ineffective. In addition, you want to look at the bottle you’re buying and make sure it has antibacterial or antiviral properties. These ensure that your hand sanitizer is actually killing the bad germs on your hands and not just drying out your hands. Due to hand sanitizer’s high alcohol percentage and our increased use due to COVID-19, hand sanitizer can dry out skin. So, if your hands tend to dry out, maybe look for one with a moisturizer or just have a bottle of hand lotion handy. Also, we have our own super awesome sanitizer available for purchase, check it out HERE!
Once you know what to look for, it is time to decide what kind you want to use. There is a lot of information out there about which one is more beneficial and which one will help you the most. But, at the end of the day it really depends on your preference. Medical professionals tend to use liquid hand sanitizer, public places tend to use foam for reduced spillage, but our recommendation would be to use gel. Gel is convenient to use with minimal spillage and drip, it typically gives you the right amount with just one pump and one article found that it has the most complete coverage with the least amount of spreading (par. 3). Again, at the end of the day, choose which one you like to use the best, they all will help you fight off germs when used correctly.
It depends on the type. Hand sanitizer bottles vary on their pump strength so it is a little more complex than saying “just one pump or just two pumps.” However, most hand sanitizers will have directions on their bottle indicating what a good amount of sanitizer would be. In addition, everyone’s hand size is different so a good rule of thumb is to make sure whatever type you’re using, get enough to cover your whole hand, all the nooks and crannies. Start with one pump and maybe go to two depending on your hand and bottle size. After you apply the sanitizer, it is important for you to let it set for at least 20 seconds for it to dry, maybe more. Whatever you do, do not wipe any additional sanitizer off or it eliminates its germ-killing ability.
With all the other information covered, it comes down to one final question, “should I make my own?” We get it. The stores are crowded, it’s intimidating to go outside, there could be a shortage and it could be cheaper. However, it is highly recommended that no matter the benefits, to not make your own. To make a hand sanitizer, your calculations have to be just right to achieve the correct alcohol concentration to fight off germs. If you get the calculation wrong it could be harmful to your skin or be relatively worthless. In addition, you probably don’t live in a sterile production facility and without one of these, you risk contaminating your hand sanitizer with outside germs. Lastly, store-bought hand sanitizers have a component called emollients that works to soften the harshness of alcohol on your skin. Without this, you could do serious damage to your skin. With all that said, try your best to shop for them but if you’re really in a bind and handwashing is not available soon, follow DIY recipes from accredited health sources.
We recommend checking out our hand sanitizer when shopping. You can purchase it from the comfort of your home and have it sent right to your doorstep!
Here’s to staying happy, healthy and SANITIZED! :)
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By: Ally Williams