Hand sanitizer, also known as hand antiseptic or hand rub, is a product applied on the hands to kill any illness causing organisms. It comes in many forms such as gel, which is the most common way to use, foam, and liquid spray.
Hand sanitizers are an important product to have in your bag, car, and office in case soap and water are not available to use. Having hand sanitizer in certain environments such as schools and hospitals to limit the spread of viruses and diseases.
Hand sanitizers have continued to grow more popular among adults and children during the flu season and other easily spread diseases. Although hand sanitizers are highly effective, not all formulas are able to kill every type of bacteria that causes a disease.
Many people believe that any type of product that is labeled as hand sanitizer that claims it will kill 99% of germs will keep them protected from catching an illness. The truth is hand sanitizers have different active ingredients that could be alcohol or alcohol free and while it can kill germs, it will not kill all of them.
Due to shortage in hand sanitizers some manufacturers have been making products with ingredients that are not safe for adults and children. These products can lead to chemical poisoning, as well as the dangers it cause by making people believe that using such hand sanitizer formulas will keep them protect from diseases.
This article will help you learn what ingredients you need to look for when hand sanitizers, how to use it effectively, and the best hand sanitizers that you can trust to keep you safe.
What are the different types of hand sanitizers?
Hand sanitizers have different active ingredients. The most common is alcohol-based hand sanitizer, which is the only kind that you should use if you want to prevent catching a disease. When purchasing a hand sanitizer that is alcohol-based, you must purchase a product that contains 60 to 95 percent alcohol to ensure that it will kill the germs on your hands.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers may list the active ingredient as ethanol, isopropanol, or n-propanol while alcohol free products use disinfectant ingredients such as benzalkonium chloride, or an antimicrobial agent such as triclosan.
Other companies manufacture hand sanitizers that contain natural ingredients such as grape alcohol. You will also notice that they add moisturizing ingredients such as aloe vera and glycerin to help protect your skin from becoming excessively dry when using the hand sanitizer constantly.
The FDA and the CDC both recommend using hand sanitizers that contain 60%-95% alcohol to confirm that you are receiving the maximum result.
What is the most effective way to use a hand sanitizer?
While hand sanitizers are a great item to have in your bag, it is crucial to use soap and water whenever it is available. The CDC always recommends washing your hand with soap and water instead of depending on hand sanitizers to clean your hands.
Soap and water is the best way to kill and remove any type of bacteria off of your skin. It is especially important to wash your hands if they are visible soiled or greasy, as hand sanitizers will not be able to kill the germs on greasy hands or clean off the dirt.
The effectiveness of hand sanitizers relies on many factors from the concentration of the alcohol to how it is used. Aside from using a hand sanitizer that contains 60% or more alcohol you have to make sure that you are using the right amount of product, your skin is exposed long enough to it, and you are using it correctly.
To effectively kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses you must use hand sanitizers that contain 60% to 95% alcohol. Another crucial step to prevent diseases is dispensing an amount of the hand sanitizer that will cover every surface on your hand including the back, between the fingers, under the fingernails, and the wrists.
Once you have applied the products on your hands, you must rub it all over for 20 seconds and allow it to dry on its own. If you wipe off the hand sanitizer without letting it dry it will not work properly.
Giving the hand sanitizer time to dry on your skin is needed to fully kill the germs. The way alcohol-based sanitizers work is by penetrating the surface of the bacteria in order to have the ability to kill it from the inside out. If you wipe off the hand sanitizer before it dries off, it will not have enough time to kill the center of these illness-causing bacteria.
Hand sanitizers work extremely well to help control the transmission of infectious diseases in places where soap and water is not available. It has been found that offices that have hand sanitizer available for everyone has minimized the use of sick day. Schools that provide hand sanitizers for staff and students have also found that it improved everyone’s hand hygiene, as well as reducing absenteeism due to illnesses.
Are hand sanitizers safe to use?
Hand sanitizers are safe to use by both adults and children as long as the active ingredient is alcohol-based. Both the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends to only use alcohol-based hand sanitizer since it’s the only kind that will stop the spread of viruses.
The CDC and WHO have expressed concerns when using alcohol-based hand sanitizers due to products adding active ingredients that are not safe and can lead to chemical poisoning if it is accidentally swallowed.
Hand sanitizers that use antimicrobial compounds such as triclosan can harm the endocrine system and cause environmental contamination. Other concerns from hand sanitizers that use disinfectants and antimicrobials is how it could lead to developing antimicrobial resistance.
Which hand sanitizers are not safe to use?
Health Canada has recalled several types of hand sanitizers that have been found to contain a harmful ingredient that is not allowed to use, which is an industrial-grade ethanol.
Industrial-grade ethanol has impurities that make using a hand sanitizer that contains it to become extremely unsafe.
If you find that you have a hand sanitizer that lists the active ingredient as “ethanol XX% (industrial-grade)” you must stop using it immediately and dispose of the product safely or return it back to the store you purchased it from. If you are concerned about using hand sanitizers that has been recalled by Health Canada, it is recommended to consult your doctor to ensure that you are safe.
Some of the products that have been discontinued by Health Canada are:
If you are using a hand sanitizer and you are unsure of its safety, you can search for a Natural Product Number (NPN) or Drug Identification Number (DIN) that can be found on the label of the product to confirm that it is authorized for use in Canada.
What are the best hand sanitizers in Canada?
Hand sanitizers are incredibly beneficial for all ages and can minimize the risk of catching viruses. Now that you have learned what ingredients to look for and what’s not safe to use, it’s time to help narrow your search for the best hand sanitizers that you can buy in Canada.
BiOSS Gel Based Hand Sanitizer with 75% Alcohol
BiOSS is a natural hand sanitizer that will get rid of bacteria and leave your hand feeling soft. It will prevent the transmission of viral infections while providing a refreshing lemon scent.
It contains 75% ethyl alcohol and aloe vera that will give you clean moisturized hands.
Sani Gel Pro Hand Sanitizer Gel with 70% Alcohol – Lemon Scented
Sani Gel is one of the most popular hand sanitizers in Canada. It is made with 70% ethyl alcohol and has a great citrus scent. The gel formula is easy to spread all over the hands and will not leave a sticky residue on the skin.
CRE8 Liquid Hand Sanitizer with 80% Alcohol
CRE8 Liquid Hand Sanitizer comes in a spray bottle to provide an evenly coverage all over the hands. It is made with pharmaceutical/food grade ethanol that sanitizes the hands without leaving a smell or sticky residue.
It is also a moisturizing formula thanks to the glycerin that softens the hands. The spray bottle makes it perfect to sanitize children’s hands easily.
Kleen RX Hand Sanitizer Gel with 70% Alcohol
Kleen RX makes hand sanitizers that contain medical grade ethanol and moisturizing ingredients such as aloe vera and vitamin E to protect your skin from becoming too dry.
It is also fragrance-free, dye-free, vegan, and it is not tested on animals.