Are You Using Hand Sanitizer Wrong?

Woman using hand sanitizer

One of the best ways to combat coronavirus is frequent hand washing and avoiding touching your face, along with wearing a mask.

If you are not able to wash your hands with soap and water, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is next best, but are you using it correctly? Just because you have sprayed or squeezed sanitizer into your hands does not mean the job is done. 

Here are some sanitizer tips to make sure you are effectively killing germs: 

  1. Make sure you are using enough
  2. Wait for the hand sanitizer to dry completely
  3. Store your sanitizer safely

You should use enough to cover the entire surface of your hands, front and back. Make sure you are getting every crevice including between your fingers and thumbs. Too much sanitizer is better than not enough. This should take about 20-30 seconds to spread around the surface of your hands, and rub your hands together until they are completely dry. 

If your hands are visibly dirty, opt for soap and water as hand sanitizer will not be an effective alternative. Store your hand sanitizer out of reach from pets and children. Children should only use sanitizer with adult supervision. Also, it's recommended to store sanitizer in a cool, dry space and away from extreme heat. 

For proper application, check out this diagram from the CDC. 

CDC hand sanitizer image


The FDA is warning people to avoid hand sanitizers made with methanol, as they are poisonous, and methanol alcohol can be absorbed though your skin. Ingesting methanol can cause brain and organ damage. Symptoms can include pain, nausea, hyperventilation and even coma. Check out the entire list of 75 FDA recalled hand sanitizer brands.

You should look for hand sanitizers made of ethyl or ethanol alcohol, and the CDC recommends the alcohol content should be at least 60 percent.

COVID preventive methods include frequent handwashing, the cleaning of high touch surfaces, avoiding people who are sick, and if you are experiencing COVID symptoms or believe you have been exposed, contact your doctor or healthcare provider about getting tested. Find out more information about local COVID-19 testing in your area, including free testing.

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