Hand sanitizer is a great alternative to use when hand and soap is not an option. Hand sanitizers can kill viruses and germs to prevent it from spreading when used correctly.
Commonly touched surfaces such as doorknobs, phones, faucets, and shopping carts can carry many germs, and that’s why it is important to have sanitizer ready to use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends spending 20 seconds to wash your hands with soap and water to protect yourself and others from viral outbreaks.
To ensure that you are using an effective hand sanitizer, only use sanitizers that contain 60% of alcohol and more. Some hand sanitizers are advertised as alcohol-free, which won’t kill the harmful bacteria that cause the spread.
While using a hand sanitizer will prevent you and others from getting sick, some manufacturers have been using harmful ingredients due to the high demand in hand sanitizing products. These unacceptable ingredients can become deadly if ingested by adults and children.
Keep reading to learn more about the proper usage of hand sanitizers, what to look for, ingredients you should avoid, and what are the best hand sanitizers.
How to use hand sanitizers the right way
You have to use hand sanitizers correctly in order for the hand sanitizers to be effective when killing harmful bacteria and viruses. The CDC recommends applying a decent amount of the sanitizers on the hands, or an amount that’s enough to cover the entire hand from front to back, as well as the wrists.
Once you have applied a quarter-sized dollop of the hand sanitizers begin to rub it all over the hand while making sure you get every nook and cranny such as between the fingers and around the nails. You have to keep rubbing the sanitizer for at least 20 seconds, similarly to washing hands with soap and water, and until the product is completely dry.
It’s important to note that you cannot wipe the hand sanitizer off of your hand. If you do so, the hand sanitizer is not going to be effective. The ingredients in hand sanitizers work by melting away the exterior of the germs until the alcohol can get access to the core. When the alcohol reaches the core of each harmful microbe, it will begin to kill it from the inside out.
If the hand sanitizer gets wiped out before drying, it will not have enough time to penetrate these harmful microbes to kill them.
While using hand sanitizer is very effective, it is still recommended to use soap and water to clean your hands whenever it is available.
What to look for when buying hand sanitizers
Many hand sanitizers have a label that says that it kills %99.9 of germs that cause people to become ill. While that statement is true, it will not protect you from every virus.
To ensure that you are buying a hand sanitizer that will prevent you from catching any illness caused by germs, you must purchase one that has at least 60% of alcohol in it. Any hand sanitizer that says it is alcohol-free will not be effective.
Some hand sanitizers will also include an active ingredient known as benzalkonium chloride instead of alcohol. These types of hand sanitizers will minimize the number of growing germs but it will not kill them.
It is important to read what the label says and check if it has 60% of alcohol in it. If that is not available in stores and you can only find alcohol-free hand sanitizers that will still be better than not having any sanitizer at all.
Due to the shortage of hand sanitizers, some recipes for homemade sanitizers have gone viral on the Internet. It includes mixing aloe vera gel and vodka to create your own hand sanitizer, but that is not effective in killing germs. Vodka only has 40% of alcohol and you will need at least 60% to be safe.
Some hand sanitizer may have a label that will list the alcohol as ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, or ethyl alcohol. According to the CDC website, anything below 60% of alcohol content will not be effective. Regardless of how the hand sanitizer labels alcohol as an ingredient, you have to make sure that is 60% or above.
While the most recommended way to use sanitizer is to cover your entire hand, it is important to read what the label says, as some hand sanitizers require a certain amount that needs to be dispensed for it to have the right alcohol percentage.
If your hands are greasy or visibly soiled, using hand sanitizers will not be effective in cleaning off the dirt or killing germs. It is always preferred to wash your hands with soap and water above anything else, but if you are in an area where that is not available then hand sanitizers is your best choice.
What hand sanitizer ingredients you must avoid
The hand sanitizer shortage has led some manufacturers to use ingredients that are harmful for the body. The main ingredient that needs to be avoided is anything that includes methanol.
Using hand sanitizer that contains methanol may cause a toxic effect in the body. Symptoms of methanol exposure are drowsiness, headache, dizziness, confusion, vomiting, nausea, inability to coordinate muscle movement, and heart failure.
Another hand sanitizer ingredient that you need to be careful with is technical-grade ethanol. Technical-grade ethanol has many impurities and it will be listed as “Ethanol XX% (technical-grade) and the label will list directions or warnings such as “Adults only,” “Do not use on broken or damaged skin,” “Do not use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding,” or “Do not inhale.”
If you happen to have used such products, you must stop using it immediately and follow the guideline to get rid of chemical waste or return it to the store you bought it from. You may consult your health care professional to ensure that you discuss any health concerns.
Best hand sanitizer you can purchase in Canada
Now that you have learned what to look for when reading the hand sanitizer label and how to properly use it, you will be able to make the safe choice when completing a purchase.
To make your search easier we have put together a list of the best hand sanitizers that you can buy in Canada.
Puricia Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer Moisturizing Gel with 70% Ethyl Alcohol
Puricia is an antiseptic made with 70% alcohol that will kill every harmful germ. It is moisturizing gel that goes on smoothly and evaporates instantly. It is also gentle on the skin thanks to its hydrating formula that protects the skin from becoming excessively dry due to the alcohol that can cause it to break or bleed.
Puricia hand sanitizer is also safe to use on kids, as it is non-irritating on the skin. It comes in a bottle with a pump to make it easy to use at home, offices, cars, hospitals, and outdoors.
Sani-Gel Pro Hand Sanitizer Gel with 70% Alcohol
Sani-Gel Pro Hand Sanitizer is another great choice that has 70% alcohol to ensure that it will kill all of the bacteria on your hands. It contains glycerin to provide a moisturizing effect that will protect sensitive skin from becoming too dry.
Sani-Gel Pro Hand Sanitizer comes in a bottle that can be carried around anywhere to keep your hands clean. It will also leave your hands feeling fresh from the lemon scent that is added to it.
NATURA Quick Drying Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer
Natura hand sanitizer is a quick-drying antibacterial that contains 62% of alcohol to kill illness causing bacteria. It is a great choice for people who have sensitive skin, as it has aloe vera and vitamin E to keep the skin soft and moisturized when using the hand sanitizer. It comes in a 60ml-sized bottle that is perfect to keep in your pocket, car, and purse.
CRE8 Liquid Hand Sanitizer Spray Bottle with 80% Alcohol
CRE8 Liquid Hand Sanitizer comes in a spray bottle that won’t leave any sticky or greasy residue. The formula is made with USP grade ethanol that is safe to use and has no chemical smell to it.
It has 80% alcohol strength to keep everyone safe and stop the spread of germs. The spray bottle provides an even coverage all over the hands that makes it easier to use.
It’s a great choice for anyone who doesn’t like hand sanitizers that are scented or have a strong smell.
Bodywell Naturals Hand Sanitizer Gel with 70% Ethanol
Bodywell Naturals has one of the highest quality hand sanitizers that include pharmaceutical grade ethanol to ensure the safety of everyone who uses it.
Bodywell Naturals hand sanitizer gel has 70% ethanol that won’t leave an unpleasant chemical smell or sticky residue on the hands. It is also free of parabens, fragrance, dyes, phthalates, formaldehyde, and triclosan, which makes it safe to use on sensitive skin.
This hand sanitizers will leave your skin feeling moisturized, smooth, and clean.