Does Hand Sanitizer Really Work Against Coronavirus?

By now you know that hand sanitizer is flying off the shelves. It might even have been a while since you’ve seen any in stores at all. (Psst, you can buy some here from Clean Hands Sanitizer, by the way.)

But it’s worth wondering… Was stocking up on hand sanitizer useless? Does hand sanitizer even really work against coronavirus? 

The short answer is yes, but it’s actually not your best option. That’s still washing your hands with soap and water. Let’s take a deeper look.

Why Soap & Water Is Best For Clean Hands

We’ll refer to the experts at the CDC here, who say that hand sanitizer just is not as effective as washing your hands with soap and water when it comes to killing germs. Washing your hands is better at removing viruses and bacteria.

Hand sanitizer is less effective partly because people often wipe their hands before the sanitizer has completely dried. Sanitizers also cannot penetrate dirt and grease like soap and water can. 

This is why the World Health Organization recommends using hand sanitizer as an alternative, not as a solution. The CDC and National Institutes of Health agree, and recommend washing your hands whenever possible. 

Want to take a deep dive into scientific studies on handwashing from the U.S. National Library of  Medicine? There’s the link for you. The CDC also kindly has released helpful guidelines on handwashing to follow during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All that being said — hand sanitizer isn’t BAD. In fact, it is indeed a good option when you’re in a pinch.

When Hand Sanitizer Is Still A Good Option

Hospitals. Hand sanitizers are incredibly useful in hospitals to prevent the virus (or any, for that matter) from transferring between patients by hospital personnel. This is the best use-case of hand sanitizer.

But for us normal folk out in the real world? It’s fine to keep a bottle on you to use when you’re out running errands. Most hand sanitizers are small and very easy to keep in your pocket or purse and essentially bring with you anywhere you go.

But if you’re going to be really getting your hands dirty, hand sanitizer won’t break through the grime. And outside of a hospital setting, most people catch respiratory viruses from direct contact with those who are already infected. Unfortunately, hand sanitizer won’t do anything in those circumstances. 

What Does The CDC Recommend?

While we know that the CDC says washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations, most does not mean all. Sometimes, you won’t have soap and water readily available. In those cases, it’s time to break out the alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

According to the CDC, effective hand sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol (which ours is). So how do you use it properly to kill germs and bacteria then? Great question

Without further ado, straight from the CDC website, here is how to use hand sanitizer:

  • Apply the sanitizer product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the sanitizer over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.

Remember that hand sanitizer is essentially worthless if it is not at least 60% isopropyl alcohol. It can be more, but it cannot be less. If you’ve found that your third-rate hand sanitizer does not meet these specifications, then sorry Charlie, you’ve been duped. 

Why Clean Hands Sanitizer?

But the hand sanitizer from Clean Hands Sanitizer follows the WHO and CDC guidelines. We didn’t jack up the price like some of our counterparts out there.

We simply saw a need, had the means to do something about it, and did. What you get is an effective hand sanitizer to take with you on the go and keep your hands clean when you can’t get to soap and water. 

Stay safe everyone!