The Do's & Don'ts Of Using Hand Sanitizers | Some Common Questions On Hand Sanitizers

Whenever we think of protection from COVID-19, two things unconsciously strikes our mind: 
  1. Face masks 
  2. Hand Sanitizers
So today in this article, we bring you some information on hand sanitizers, will be including some common questions that may arise in your mind before or after using hand sanitizers. 

In This Article 
  • Does Sanitizer Kills Coronavirus?
  • Is 60% Alcohol Necessary In Sanitizer For Killing The Virus?
  • Is It Safe To Eat Or Handle Food After Using An Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer?
  • Does Expired Hand Sanitizer Works?
  • Is It Safe To Use Hand Sanitizer On Face?
  • Is Hand Sanitizer Safe For Babies?
  • Should You Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer At Home?

"Hand Sanitizer is generally a liquid, gel or foam based product that is used to remove viruses or infectious agents from hands"

Does Sanitizer Kills Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Even though hand sanitizers are generally known as an alternative to washing hands on the go, but in most cases, they are less effective at killing germs and viruses when compared to washing hands with soap and water. 

People may incorrectly wipe off hand sanitizer before it has dried, and it's effectiveness may also reduce due to low alcohol concentrations levels.

With that said, Hand sanitizer does destroys viruses that are similar to the Novel Coronavirus, So experts believe it will work against the COVID-19, too

But even in that, Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol (60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol) should be used and correct quantity should be applied on all surfaces of both hands. But, If you’re near a sink or wash basin, wash your hands with soap and water instead. 

Is 60% Alcohol Necessary In Sanitizer For Killing The Virus?

The SARS-CoV-2 genome is made of a molecule called RNA, which is encased in a Fatty lipid bilayer.

Soap molecules have one end that links up with water and another that attaches to fats. The fat-binding end can squeeze its way in between the lipid bilayer of the virus, breaking it apart, releasing and destroying the viral genome

Hand sanitizers on the other hand are not as effective as soap, but they can also work in the same way on the lipid bilayer, given required amount of sanitizer used with correct application method.

Hand sanitizers with below 60% Alcohol content may not work the same way and the viruses may remain on your hand even after using the hand sanitizer.

Is It Safe To Eat Or Handle Food After Using An Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer?

Hand sanitizers are generally accepted as a substitute to washing hands and require no water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers evaporate from hands, leaving little to no trace so it is not necessary to wash hands after using them. 

But with that said, Hand sanitizers may remove the build-up of germs and viruses from hands, but they may not remove dirt and other chemicals, fragrances that may exist in commercially produced hand sanitizers from your hands. 

Hence, it is always better to wash your hands with soap and water before eating or handling food.

Does Expired Hand Sanitizer Works?

Hand sanitizers works on viruses due to there high alcohol content but soon after you pop the top of your hand sanitizer, it start's to lose it's effectiveness as the alcohol starts evaporating over time. And if the concentration goes below 60% alcohol, then it may lose some effectiveness.

So, Hand sanitizers does have an expiration date to ensure it's effectiveness but this does not means you cannot use sanitizer beyond it's expiration date. It is weaker than a new bottle but it's still better than using nothing

Hence, If expired hand sanitizer is your only choice, use it! 

Is It Safe To Use Hand Sanitizer On Face?

Hand sanitizers are usually made of isopropyl alcohol, ethanol and are generally used to kill the germs present on our hands on the go. But are they good enough to work on face as well? The answer is probably NO!

It's because the skin cells on our hands tend to be more stronger, more resilient than that of our face. Hence, the alcohol content present in hand sanitizers might be a good option for keeping your hands clean, but they may be way too powerful for the face. 

Is Hand Sanitizer Safe For Babies?

Hand sanitizer that is considered safe for babies is usually alcohol-free, hence using the commonly used alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not considered safe for babies.

You baby or toddler can suck on their hands before the sanitizer gets evaporated/ dry, which may cause health issues to them at such nascent stage.

So, If you want to clean your little one’s hands, then stick with soap and water and clean it well so that no remains leave on their hands.

Should You Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer At Home?

Even though many recipes and methods like DIY sanitizer, Do it yourself, Home made hand sanitizers, etc., have been circulating the internet since the time COVID-19 pandemic is known, probably it's not a wise idea to make hand sanitizers at home. 

Making your own hand sanitizer can be a complex task and the recipes may vary. Hand sanitizers should be made up of at least 60% alcohol, but 70% is generally considered best

When making hand sanitizer at home, You will have to do the calculations clearly determining how you are mixing the ingredients like alcohol, gel, hydrogen peroxide, to minimize contamination while using sterile utensils and containers. 

You must also keep in mind that the alcohol you use needs to be 91% isopropyl rubbing alcohol, so that the mixture is properly concentrated.

Hence, it can be confusing for common consumers, and if they create mixtures that are not effective, it can keep them oblivious to the fact that their hands are not clean, even after using their homemade hand sanitizer.


Hand sanitizers are great for cleaning hands on the go. But, they are not as effective as using soap and water hence should be used only if you don't have soap and water near you.

Look for those hand sanitizers that contains more that 60% alcohol content as anything below that may reduce the effectiveness of the hand sanitizer.

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