Hand Sanitizer: Do’s and Don’ts

Basic hygiene and hand sanitizing etiquette has been under the spotlight of late due to the global spread of COVID-19. While people are being reminded to wash or sanitize their hands regularly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have always recommended that people clean or sanitize their hands properly after coming in contact with shared surfaces.

Hands and fingers contribute to the spread of viruses and harmful bacteria. Although COVID is reported to spread through droplets from the nose or mouth, something as simple as blowing your nose may result in your hands becoming contaminated. Many other bacterial and viral illnesses are spread through hand-to-hand contact and contaminated surfaces, including rhinovirus, giardiasis, and shigellosis.

Hand sanitizer has quickly become a part of the new normal, and frequent usage looks set to continue long after the COVID-19 vaccination has been successfully rolled out globally. Despite the quantity of sanitizer used daily, many people continue to sanitize their hands incorrectly. Our guide takes you through the most important do’s and don’ts of using hand sanitizer.


Apply Hand Sanitizer Correctly

Cleaning your hands with alcohol-based sanitizers is different from washing with regular soap. Here are the correct steps for applying it:

  • Apply approximately 0.1 oz. (use the label on the container as a guide) of sanitizer to the palm of your hand.
  • Rub your hands and fingers together for at least 20 seconds.
  • Ensure you spread the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and between your fingers, working the sanitizer up to your wrists.
  • Leave your hands until they dry naturally.

Use Sanitizer With at Least 60% Alcohol

The CDC recommends you use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. Non-alcoholic sanitizer or sanitizer with a lower alcohol content does not provide adequate protection against bacteria and viruses, meaning they may continue to spread and multiply. Sanitizer with up to 95% alcohol content is safe for use.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that people avoid using hand sanitizers that contain methanol. This substance is potentially toxic when it comes in contact with the skin.

Ensure it’s in Date

Check the expiration date of your hand sanitizer and make sure it is still in date. If your sanitizer has expired, this could indicate that the alcohol content has naturally reduced, making it less effective.

Use it After Touching Shared Surfaces

Dirty or greasy surfaces are known to harbor bacteria. Be conscious of the items that your hands come in contact with, and make a habit of sanitizing after you touch shared surfaces, especially when you’re at work. There is no exact number of times someone should sanitize but don’t wait until your hands are visibly dirty.

Keep Hand Sanitizer Away From Young Children

Hand sanitizer can cause alcohol poisoning. Regulated by the FDA, it is officially categorized as a drug, so it must be kept out of the reach of children. Teach kids how to use sanitizer correctly and ensure that they don’t consume it or lick their hands after applying it.

Hand Sanitizer


Don’t Drink Hand Sanitizer

There has been an increase in sanitizer-related alcohol poisoning throughout the pandemic. Keep sanitizer away from your eyes, nose, or mouth to reduce potential risk.

Don’t Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

Despite the online guides you may come across; the FDA does not recommend that people make homemade hand sanitizers. The main reason being that mistakes can lead to ineffective sanitizer or burns and injuries. Sanitizer should be purchased from a reputable source.

Don’t Rinse Your Hands

Allow your hands to dry naturally after using hand sanitizer. Rinsing your hands may remove the gel, making it less effective in fighting off germs and bacteria.

Don’t Store Sanitizer in Your Car

During hot weather, the air within a vehicle can get extremely hot. Although it’s unlikely, hand sanitizer can ignite if it gets too hot. Alcohol also evaporates quickly in the air, particularly if it’s hot and dry, meaning your sanitizer can lose potency when stored in your car over time.

Purchase Hand Sanitizer From a Reputable Source

Soap and hot water are extremely effective in disease prevention. However, it is not always easily accessible. Hand sanitizer is the next best alternative in keeping your hands clean and free of harmful bacteria.

When purchasing hand sanitizer for personal or professional use, ensure it is sourced from a reputable provider, such as ICU Production Inc. We provide high-quality, tested PPE equipment, including hand sanitizer. Visit our website or give us a call today.