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Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer

Antibacterial sanitizers are quickly becoming a "must have" item in our shopping lists, but it is not without flaws. Read this article to know how to use antibacterial hand sanitizer and under what circumstances.
WellnessKeen Staff
As some commercials on television, magazines, and radio stations claim that their antibacterial sanitizer kills 99.9% bacteria and viruses, but sometimes we forget about those 0.1% bacteria. Can those viruses pose a threat to our health? As we know that all sanitizers are not similar to one another, so how can we know about their effectiveness and benefits? There are toxic chemicals present in certain sanitizers, so certain precautions should be taken while using them to avoid any antibacterial sanitizer dangers.

Antibacterial Sanitizer Spray

We all need to take extra care during cold and flu season. During this time it's not unusual for children and adults to be absent from school or work due to flu and infectious diseases. Washing our hands with soap and water is one of the best ways to get rid of germs and pollution. One important thing to be noted is that the sanitizers are not a substitute for soap and water. Antibacterial sanitizers come in handy in public places if soap and water is not available. For example, after using a restroom in a public place, we always wash our hands. But you never know the number of people who have touched the door knob without washing their hands at all. Hands sanitizers are effective in such cases; after washing your hands, when you leave the restroom, use a hand sanitizer to clean your hands in order to avoid infections if any.

There are many antibacterial sanitizers available in the market at low costs with alcohol base. But if you are skeptical about using alcohol-based sanitizers, you can opt for natural products made with essential oils. While choosing a natural antibacterial sanitizer, make sure there's at least 65% of alcohol concentration in it. Or you can make an alcohol-based sanitizer at home by following these steps. Mix 2 cups of pure aloe vera gel, 2 tablespoons of 90% SD40 alcohol, 5 drops of essential oils (your choice) together and fill it up in a clean plastic bottle. Use it whenever needed. This helps in killing bacteria and flu spreading viruses.

Soap vs. Antibacterial Sanitizer

There is a specific procedure that should be followed everyday, which can be attained with regular soap. The dirt and germs which get trapped in the natural oils of our skin can be easily eliminated when we wash hands with soap and water. Experts advice washing hands with soap everyday before cooking food, eating, dealing with contact lenses and medicine. Also use of proper hand washing procedure is advisable after using toilet, blowing your nose, sneezing, coughing, handling trash, playing with your pets, and changing diapers.

Antibacterial sanitizers are very popular and are being marketed all across the world. These sanitizers don't require water and are an excellent way to wash hands in the absence of soap and water. The correct way of using a sanitizer is to apply enough amount to the palm of your hand, so that it can coat both hands completely. Rub both hands together till the solution dries off. Although antibacterial sanitizers are useful, most people end up using only sanitizers instead of using soap for washing hands. Antibacterial sanitizer is handy for temporary use. It shouldn't be mistaken as a permanent relief for removing germs. But if you use antibacterial sanitizers, here are some dos and don'ts that should be followed.

Do's
  • Most sanitizers contain 60-90% alcohol concentration, so use only a couple of drops for cleaning hands.
  • Always use soap while washing hands whenever possible, and try to avoid using sanitizers regularly.
  • If your children are using antibacterial sanitizers, supervise them to ensure that they rub their hands until the liquid is completely evaporated.
  • Keep the sanitizer bottles away from the reach of children.
  • Use antibacterial sanitizer as per the given instructions mentioned in the package when you're in crowded public places (bus stops, subway, public restrooms, movies, restaurants). As flu viruses can be transmitted easily, sanitizers can be a temporary quick fix till you can wash your hands properly with soap and water.
Don'ts
  • Don't light a cigarette after you've applied sanitizers. As it contains alcohol, it can be flammable.
  • If you have cuts or scrapes on hand, avoid using sanitizers as it may sting.
  • Don't use sanitizers as an alternative to soap and water.
Antibacterial sanitizers do kill most bacteria and viruses, but are not 100% effective. They are not capable of removing dirt and other pollutants, and are a poor substitute to soap and water. While cooking, don't use antibacterial sanitizer as a source of cleaning hands. Sanitizers are useful in educational and health care environment, and not regular households, as it doesn't infiltrate through food residue, dirt, grease, and wetness. Antibacterial hand sanitizer should be used only as a supplement to hand washing whenever needed.