Why You Should Be Using Hand Sanitiser
The expert advice that followed COVID-19 being declared a pandemic early in 2019 reminded us how easy viruses and bacteria spread. It also highlighted the importance of good hand hygiene in limiting the spread of pathogens. Each day we are exposed to thousands of bacteria and viruses; floating through the air before settling on surfaces we touch or transferred from one surface to another through touch. Most don’t make us ill because they don’t get into your system. Being transferred from a surface to your hand increases the risk, but good hand hygiene can still prevent it from getting into your system when you next touch your mouth, or rub your eyes or nose.
Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water is the most effective form of hand hygiene. But it isn’t always possible. It is at home, and sometimes at work, but in between we all find ourselves in situations each day where soap and water are not available. And for those times a good hand sanitiser is essential. Even though it is not as effective as soap and water, a good hand sanitiser is still effective at killing many disease-causing germs. Preventing you from transferring viruses and bacteria you are carrying around to surfaces you touch, or from picking up other bacteria and viruses that could make you ill.
How It Works
Regardless of the other ingredients in hand sanitiser, it is the active ingredient that works on germs. And currently, the only active ingredient recommended by the WHO and other health authorities is alcohol, with a level of between 60 and 90 percent. The alcohol breaks down the outer layer of proteins on pathogens, disrupting their metabolism, and effectively killing them. Alcohol can be a little harsh on the skin, so other ingredients might act as a moisturising agent to prevent your skin from drying out, or they might make the sanitiser smell more pleasant, or spread more easily. Choosing hand sanitiser liquids and sprays, gels, or wipes is more of a personal choice than one being more effective than the other.
The Benefits of Using Hand Sanitiser
The use of hand sanitisers is not meant to replace washing your hands with soap and water, but rather to complement it whenever washing is not an option. And regardless of when or where you use them, there are benefits to carrying hand sanitiser with you at all times.
They Slow the Spread of Germs
Used properly and regularly, hand sanitiser can eliminate most bacteria and viruses from your hands, preventing them from making you sick, or transferring to other surfaces and people and making them ill.
They Are Convenient and Portable
There are many occasions when it is impossible to wash your hands with soap and water, but hand sanitisers can be found in small containers that easily fit in your purse or pocket. They can also be used on many surfaces, so instead of just sanitising your hands, you can also sanitise the surfaces and objects you touch.
They Work Quickly
While you do need to take care to properly rub them into all parts of your hand and fingers, sanitisers start working immediately, breaking down pathogens so they can’t be transferred. And you can also use them immediately. No need to excuse yourself and walk to a bathroom first to wash your hands every time you touch a new surface.
How to Use It Properly
Naturally, the best results follow using the right sanitiser, and using it properly. The first thing to look for before buying any hand sanitiser products is the type of alcohol used, and the alcohol content. Ethanol or isopropyl alcohols are recommended, and are safe to use, with ethanol also being more environmentally friendly to produce. Methanol should always be avoided as it is toxic even when used on your hands. The ideal alcohol content level is between 60 and 90 percent; anything lower is not as effective or fast-acting, and anything higher could evaporate too quickly, also reducing the benefit.
If using liquids, sprays, or gels:
- Apply a generous amount of sanitiser to the palm of one hand.
- Rub the palms of both hands together to spread the sanitiser, then continue rubbing to spread it all over.
- Rub the palm of one hand over the back of the other hand and then switch.
- Remember to interlace your fingers both palm to palm and palm to back of fingers and remember to also rub the sanitiser over the thumbs of both hands.
- Pay particular attention to your fingers and the tips of your fingers and your nails.
- Continue repeating all the actions for up to a minute or until your hands are dry.
- Avoid using a cloth or other item to wipe excess sanitiser off your hands. Allow it to dry naturally.
Use similar actions if using sanitising wipes on your hands, but making sure the wipes are sufficiently moist. Dispose of the wipe after use, do not keep it to reuse later as the alcohol would have evaporated. You can use more than one wipe if necessary.
When Shouldn’t You Use Hand Sanitiser
Since washing your hands with soap and water is always more effective than using hand sanitiser, it should always be your first choice when available. Don’t use hand sanitiser instead of washing with soap and water, especially if you have easy access to the latter. Hand sanitiser is also less effective on hands (or surfaces) that are visibly dirty or heavily soiled. The dirt will prevent the alcohol from reaching all parts of the skin on your hands, leaving some germs unharmed. In such situations you should always make a plan to first wash your hands before using sanitiser.
Elyptol carry a wide range of hand sanitiser sprays, gels, wipes, and accessories for both personal use and within businesses. All products are registered with the Australian Government's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), are hospital grade, and use ethanol that is processed from corn or sugar cane.