With Covid-19 being declared pandemic & affecting millions across the globe, people are compelled to take adequate precautions. Many affected with this virus have suffered from various types of symptoms, while others did not even show symptoms. Thousands have also died within a span of few days after being affected by this virus. This virus is said to spread through physical contact.
Is hand sanitizer effective as hand washing?
You can come across hand sanitizing products of different types & companies, ranging from wipes to gels. However, you may have this question in mind, whether it is as effective as water and soap. Sanitizer when used can help remove germs effectively. But experts agree to the fact that it can never replace traditional washing of hands using water. Rather, hand sanitizer is best used with hand washing. This will ensure proper hygiene, especially if water & soap are not available. Do make sure to invest in alcohol-based hand sanitizer products only from reputed companies. These are recommended for you & your family members to eradicate the Covid-19 virus that may otherwise spread as it may settle in your palms.
Difference between hand sanitizing & hand washing
Health experts consider hand sanitizing & handwashing to be excellent hygiene practices with each playing a significant role. For example, by handwashing using water & soap, you can remove grease, dirt, heavy metals & pesticides. Using hand sanitizer products might not prove to be that effective for such purposes. Rather, it is agreed upon that hand sanitizers are effective in clinical settings such as hospitals. These are places where people tend to contact harmful germs, but not heavily greasy or soiled. Moreover, using sanitizers, it becomes possible to eliminate & diminish microbes present in your hand. But this is possible if your hands are not dirty physically. The same principle tends to hold true to different surfaces like tables or countertops. It is necessary to clean these surfaces first to eliminate soil & dirt and then disinfect or sanitize it effectively. Hand wipes are found to be more effective when compared to gels to eliminate germs & dirt from hands.
It is effective enough to eliminate viruses, bacteria, germs & debris physically. Rubbing hands together using water & soap creates necessary friction to dislodge germs & debris accumulated on your skin. This is something not achievable with sanitizer. Hence, hand washing becomes crucial before using sanitizer products. These days, due to the Covid-19 virus, everyone is compelled to use sanitizers to maintain hygiene & eliminate this virus.
Surfactants, detergents & soaps
Detergents & soaps are a surface-active agent & surfactant type. These cleaners have a surfactant agent that features a hydrophobic tail & hydrophilic head. This molecular chain features one end attracted to water, while the other end repels water. As you rub hands, such opposing forces work effectively, lifting germs & debris from your hands.
To ensure cleanliness, you need to wash your hands in the following ways:
- Wet hands: You may use warm or cold water to wet your hands before apply soap.
- Later soap properly: Rub soap properly to cover both hands completely.
- Scrub surfaces thoroughly: Scrub your hands like backs, palms, underneath nails & in-between fingers.
- Rinse: Rinse the soap from hands using clean water & rub them together.
- Dry: Use a clean, soft towel to dry your hands or air dry.
When to wash your hands?
With proper hand washing, you can effectively eliminate germs, viruses, grease & dirt from your hands. Hand washing is mandated by health experts in given below situations:
- Before starting to prepare food.
- Before wearing single-use, clean gloves to work with food as well as between glove changes.
- While entering the kitchen area to prepare food.
- While switching & changing tasks between managing raw foods as well as when working on RTE foods.
- Before serving utensils & handling clean equipment.
- On touching bare body parts like exposed arm areas & parts apart from clean hands.
- After sneezing, coughing, using tobacco, blowing the nose, drinking, or eating.
- After using the toilet.
- After handling or caring for land or aquatic animals.
It is effective enough to eliminate germs and useful if you do not get access to water & soap nearby. But hand sanitizer does not destroy everything. It is best used along with handwashing.
Chemical & alcohol content
You need to purchase only alcohol-based sanitizer products for use. It is the right amount of ingredient contents present in the sanitizer that makes it fully effective to destroy germs including the Covid-19 virus. You can also come across a combination of alcohol (like ethyl alcohol or ethanol), benzalkonium chloride, or isopropyl alcohol. They are active ingredients that work like antiseptic and do work effectively to eliminate germs & viruses.
Sanitizing your hands properly
To derive the best results and to destroy harmful viruses including Covid-19, use a branded sanitizer product having a minimum of 60% alcohol in it. Also, do follow the given below instructions:
- Application: Use a sufficient amount of sanitizer if using a gel to cover your hands completely. If using a wipe, then open up the wrapper or remove it from the container.
- Rub properly: Once the above step is complete, rub your hands for approximately 20 seconds. Your rubbing in the sanitizer is complete as your hands start to feel dry. If using a wipe, then wipe hands for about 15 seconds.
- Leave it: Do not remove the sanitizer before drying fully from your hands. Avoid rubbing or washing it off on your apparel.
When to sanitize your hands?
Before using hand sanitizing wipes or sanitizer products, it will be necessary to first wash your hands using water & soap if you get access to the latter. Otherwise, you can use hand sanitizing wipes. Using sanitizer can prove to be convenient as well as beneficial in the given situations.
- After or before visiting anyone at a nursing home or hospital. Guests, patients, nurses, workers & doctors do use hand sanitizers as there is plenty of germs that spread in these areas.
- While preparing food outdoors. It is also used if water & soap is not available nearby.
- After using phone & computer: Be it landline, mobile phone, laptop, or desktop, these gadgets tend to gather not only dust or dirt but also harmful germs & viruses. Since they are prone to contamination very fast, you need to decontaminate them every now & then. You can use the hand sanitizer to clean your hands as well as your phone or computer.
- Within the classroom setting: It has become important for children of all ages to use hand sanitizer in the classroom setting to keep the dangerous Covid-19 virus at bay.
- Additional precaution after washing hands with water & soap: You need to use hand sanitizers after using the restroom or after visiting the kitchen area.
Maintaining better hygiene staying clean is no more a luxury. Rather, it has become a necessity to stay in good health & to be Covid-19 virus-free. Hand sanitizer products are indeed the best choice available currently to be safe & ensure you & your family remain well protected from this dangerous pandemic.