Hand sanitizers work by disrupting the outer wall of a virus. For bacteria, they disrupt the outer cell membrane. This is made possible by alcohol which is a key ingredient. Alcohol kills germs by rubbing the sanitizer onto your hands and between your fingers. The other ingredients in the formula provide for moisturising the skin which helps your hands from drying out. Dry and chapped skin can be counterproductive in trying to fight germs. When using hand sanitizer ensure to drop an adequate amount that will cover both hands and up to your wrists. Leave it on your hands at least 15 seconds for best results.
- How much alcohol content is needed in hand sanitizers?
Alcohol is useful in these trying times as it has the ability to deactivate proteins in viruses and bacteria. This process is called denaturation. The best hand sanitizers have an alcohol content of 60 to 95 percent. This ensures they are effective in killing germs. Anything below the recommended alcohol content will not be as effective in fighting off bacteria and disease.
- Can home-based hand sanitizers serve the same purpose?
This is not advisable. Fighting off Covid-19 you don’t want to attempt to make good sanitizer. It is recommended to use professionally made hand sanitizers. These are made with the right amount of alcohol and other ingredients in their formula. Lower levels of alcohol in home-based sanitizers may not kill viruses and bacteria which defeats the purpose. Some ingredients in the formula will prevent hands from drying and cracking up. Cracked hands pick up germs at a higher rate as they are exposed. So, unless you already have a great deal of experience making hand sanitizer company, leave the work to the professionals. Not only are you risking your health, but also the health of those you interact with.
- Is hand washing enough?
Unfortunately, hand washing is not enough. In the pandemic world we are living in, there is less opportunity to be always around soap and water. Hand washing is very practical but it is also not as convenient as hand sanitizer. You can’t wash your hands every now and then and hope to keep bacteria off your hands. This is where hand sanitizers come in. They kill germs and help keep your hands moist. This does not mean to stop washing your hands. Keep doing this in addition to sanitizers.
- Do they have a shelf life?
Just like most products, hand sanitizers do have a shelf life. It is usually indicated on the bottle how long it will last, or how long it should be used after it has been opened. Due to the nature of hand sanitizers, exposure to air tends to destroy the active ingredients that kill harmful germs. That said, you should always be aware of their shelf life. If you have a bottle that you are questioning the shelf life, always lean towards the side of caution.