Taking on COVID-19 with Hand Sanitizer

Hand-washing or hand sanitizer: What's better against coronavirus?

Image from nypost.com

Emily Samson

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, hand sanitizers have become a hot commodity. While buying a hand sanitizer that “kills 99.99% of most illness-causing germs” might be tempting, not all hand sanitizers protect against the coronavirus equally.   

According to the CDC, hand sanitizers should contain at least 60% alcohol to help people avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Alcohol kills disease-causing agents, such as bacteria, by breaking apart cells. A concentration of at least 60% is needed for alcohol to kill cells efficiently. Once the alcohol content drops below 60%, the effectiveness of a hand sanitizer drops dramatically. 

Many popular hand sanitizer brands, such as Purell and Germ-X, produce alcohol-free hand sanitizers that have been flying off the shelves due to the coronavirus outbreak. These sanitizers use “benzalkonium chloride” as a replacement for alcohol, and it is much less effective than alcohol-containing hand sanitizer. These products may reduce the growth of germs, but it will not kill them. Unknowingly using these less effective products, could put people at risk for illness. 

To find the alcohol concentration of a hand sanitizer, check the label. Alcohol may be listed as “ethanol”, “isopropyl alcohol”, or “ethyl alcohol”. As long as the hand sanitizer has the appropriate amount of alcohol, it should be effective regardless of other ingredients. 

It is important to remember that while the right hand sanitizer can be convenient and effective, washing your hands with soap and water is always more effective than hand sanitizer! 




3 thoughts on “Taking on COVID-19 with Hand Sanitizer”

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  2. nice blog it very helpful blog day by day increasing more cases . best wishes from shopghumakkad
    keep distancing and daily hand sanitaize

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