People often ask “Does hand sanitizer kill all germs?” Well, look no further your answers are right here.
What is a hand sanitizer? It is a liquid gel or foam generally used to reduce infectious agents on your hands. There are two main types of sanitizers. Alcohol-based sanitizer and alcohol-free sanitizer. Alcohol-based sanitizers contain varying amounts and types of alcohol. The percentage of concentration is often between 60% and 95%. It usually uses isopropyl alcohol, ethanol, or n-propanol.
Alcohol is known to kill most germs. Alcohol-free hand sanitizers contain quaternary ammonium compounds rather than alcohol. They reduce microbes but are less effective than alcohol. Alcohol-based sanitizers are the most commonly used type of hand sanitizer.
When some people hear that alcohol is used in sanitizer, they are misinformed that it is the same alcohol you would find in bars and restaurants. The alcohol used in sanitizers is quite different and not safe for human consumption. This type of alcohol is very flammable. Ethyl alcohol is the type commonly preferred by most manufacturers.
How Does This Alcohol Kill Germs?
The alcohol kills microorganisms. Its use to kill germs dates back to as early as 1800. It kills germs by destroying cell membranes and denaturing proteins of bacterial cells. The protein is the main component for survival and multiplication of the bacteria.
As effective as the hand sanitizer sounds, it is not 100% effective. Most companies suggest their hand sanitizers are 99.9% effective. Even hand sanitizers containing 60% to 70% of alcohol can’t kill all germs. Research shows that sanitizer is effective in killing bacteria such as MRSA and E Coli. They are also effective in combating viruses such as Covid-19, Influenza, Hepatitis-A, and MERS-CoV. However, the sanitizer is not reliable in fighting the norovirus and other bacteria. They can only reduce the growth of germs but not necessarily kill these germs.
It has been proven that sanitizer does not kill all germs. Hand sanitizers also don’t work well when your hand is greasy or dirty. It also does not remove harmful chemicals such as pesticides which can cause infections. Sanitizers may also be ineffective when not rubbing it in throughout your entire hand. In such cases, washing hands with soap and water are most effective. Some sanitizers contain glycerine which prevents your skin from drying up.
Sanitizers might not be the best method to fight germs but they can be considered reliable. The CDC recommends using hand sanitizers as a first choice in certain situations, such as before and after visiting a store. This reduces the likelihood of contaminating your hands with germs. It is also advisable to use hand sanitizer regularly when interacting with people with weakened immune systems.
The bottom line is sanitizers do not kill all forms and types of germs. They are however effective in killing most germs and a good substitute for soap and water. Washing hands may the best way but using hand sanitizers can also reduce the risk of germ contamination.