The Novel Coronavirus continues to spread each day, and even with all the social distancing and self-quarantine protocols, we are still a long way from wiping this virus out for good. But the realization that there is only so long that countries and its population can stay cooped-up indoors has sparked a new fear – how to protect oneself when moving around in a pandemic-stricken world. Needless to say, facemasks are the most highly recommended and popular tool for protection, but closely following its heels are the much essential and highly in demand- hand sanitizers.

Here are some quick facts about hand sanitizers that you need to know before you start stepping out of your homes again.

  1. Effective Hand Sanitizers must contain at least 60% alcohol: There is no denying that washing your hands with warm water and soap for those good 20 seconds is still the best way to purge all the hidden germs and viruses that you may have contracted. But in today’s situation, an occasional coat of sanitizer can actually save lives. With most of the prominent Hand sanitizer manufacturers facing acute shortages, the market today is rife with many other substitute brands that claim to be equally effective. The best way to figure out is to look for sanitizer brands that put 60% or more alcohol content on their labels. The alcohols in these solutions usually go by the names ‘ethanol,’ ‘isopropyl alcohol’ or ‘ethyl alcohol.’ As long as the percentage of any of these is not less than 60%, it would work just fine. The effectiveness of hand sanitizers that contain less than 60% of alcohol is said to reduce dramatically. It is also recommended that you look for some moisturizing ingredient in the mix if you are prone to dry skin more often. Any added moisturizing or fragrance inducing substances do not change the effectiveness of the solution.
  2. How you apply affects how well it works: So now that you have your hands on those strong sanitizers, it does not guarantee full protection. According to scientists, how you apply the solution also impacts its effectiveness. It is best to actually read through the label and find out the recommended amount to dispense on your hands, as they vary depending on the alcohol content in the solution. The next step, which is especially crucial, is to let the solution air-dry once you’ve rubbed them on your hands. The proper technique is to apply it to the palm of one hand and then rub it all over both hands until the sanitizer dries completely. This takes about 20 seconds. Wiping your hands before it dries may not kill all the germs.
  3. Oily or Greasy hands need to be washed First: If your hands are oily or greasy like they usually are after a meal, then it is only recommended that you wash your hands with soap and water first before applying sanitizers. The same goes for dirt or dust one might collect while working outdoors. Applying hand sanitizers directly on visibly soiled hands won’t kill any bacteria or germs.
  4. Choose your sanitizer occasions wisely: With many manufacturers reporting acute shortages of sanitizers, and some retailers even hiking prices, it might be in good taste to know when to use sanitizers most efficiently. For instance, before and after touching surfaces that other people might touch like elevator buttons, shopping carts, door handles etc. It is also a very good practice to use a dollop of sanitizer (or wash your hands if possible) after each time you cough or sneeze.