Hand sanitizers have become the new necessity in this time of coronavirus. Medical health professionals pointed out that the best way to stay clean is to wash your hands with water (preferably lukewarm) and soap. But it is not always possible to wash your hands, which is why hand sanitizers get all the fame.
Not All Hand Sanitizers Work Against Covid-19
But can you really trust hand sanitizers to remove dirt by just rubbing it on your hand? Well, not all of them. Let us look into which hand sanitizers to use and which to avoid so that you’ll purchase the right one next time.
Coronavirus is transmitted through inhaling droplets of an infected person, or touching objects contaminated by the infected person. Our hands are constantly on the move, which is why it is important to keep them clean to be on the safer side.
What are the two types of Hand Sanitizers?
There are alcohol-based as well as alcohol-free hand sanitizers.
Alcohol-based, just like its name, contain alcohol in varying amounts and types. 60-95% of alcohol is found in most of the alcohol-based hand sanitizers. It can destroy disease-causing viruses.
Alcohol-free contain quaternary ammonium compounds (called benzalkonium chloride) instead of alcohol. It is not effective against many viruses including coronavirus.
In short, you should use alcohol-based sanitizers to get rid of all those dirty microbes (if you cannot wash your hands, that is).
How do Hand Sanitizers work?
Viruses are always covered by an envelope that is made of lipids proteins. This can be seen even in coronaviruses. This protective coating helps the viruses to enter the lungs and respiratory system. This protein is also necessary for their survival, which means that if you destroy this envelope, you destroy the virus. But that is not very easy because you need to thoroughly wash your hands or use the proper hand sanitizer.
Soaps and alcohol-based sanitizers can disrupt this protective layer around viruses leading to its inactivation. Due to this, the virus will become non-infectious.
How much alcohol should be present in the Hand Sanitizers?
Moving on to the most important factor: the amount of alcohol present in the hand sanitizer. We talked about how alcohol-based sanitizers can destroy the viruses but it should have the right amount of alcohol to do the work.
Experts suggest that at least 60% alcohol should be present in hand sanitizers for them to be effective. If the amount of alcohol is less than 60%, the effectiveness of killing bacteria and other microbes will be very less.
How to use Hand Sanitizers?
You have to apply it just like you’re washing your hands with soap and water. Be sure to cover rub it all over your hands, including wrists, knuckles, back of your hand, fingernails, and palms. You should rub it for at least 20 seconds.
Use the sanitizer after you touch any item that is likely to have been used by another person (regardless of whether he has the disease or not, we just don’t know). After going to the bathroom, before eating, after coughing are a few times when you definitely need to clean your hands.
Is adding alcohol to an alcohol-free Hand Sanitizers enough?
No, this will not help because alcohol-free sanitizers contain other compounds, and just mixing it with alcohol will not be as effective as alcohol-based sanitizers.
What should be kept in mind is that even those hand sanitizers containing 60 percent alcohol will not always be effective. The best way to clean your hands is to wash it with soap and water. This is because sanitizers cannot completely clean the mucous on your hand (after sneezing and coughing). But since washing hands is not always possible, the above mentioned are the best possible ways to make the most out of hand sanitizers.
Also, these should be kept away from children because even a small amount of hand sanitizers if ingested can cause alcohol poisoning in children. Rubbing the sanitizers on the eyes should also be avoided.
To conclude, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol. But remember to wash your hands with soap and water whenever you can! Take good care.