The Majority of people are now using hand sanitisers to protect themselves and others from the corona virus, but many don’t know the correct method of using it or how it kills the virus.
This guide tells you the correct method to use to ensure you successfully kill the virus on your hands or other surfaces and which hand sanitisers are effective.
How to Use Hand Sanitisers
It’s important to understand that hand sanitisers do not necessarily clean your hands. Unless a hand sanitiser is combined with soap or other type of detergent. In many community settings such as food handling, playing sports, working outside, your hands can become greasy, oily or soiled. In these cases it is important to take greater care when using hand sanitiser and wash your hands with soap and water.
- Read the directions on the hand sanitiser to find how long you need to leave the hand sanitiser on your hands (usually, 20 to 30 seconds)
- What quantity of hand sanitiser you need to apply. Many hand sanitisers have a dispenser such as a hand pump that ejects a measured amount of hand sanitiser.
- Cup your hand and apply the hand sanitiser to the palm of your hand in enough quantity to saturate your hands
- Rub your hands together, ensuring that you cover all areas of your hands and wrists including between fingers and under your nails
- Rub your hands together for at least 20seconds, but preferably longer, until all the hand sanitiser is dried
Types of Hand Sanitiser that are Effective against COVID-19
The corona virus Covid-19 is enveloped within a lipid or protein protective cover around the cell and can only survive or replicate itself within the cell. Alcohol and detergents are able to destroy this protective cover killing the virus and stopping its spread. This is whether the cell is on a surface or in the air attached to a droplet of moisture as in when someone coughs or sneezes. This protective envelope allows the virus to survive for a relatively long time (possibly several days).
Hand Sanitisers with an Alcohol Concentration of More than 60%
- Studies have shown that hand sanitiser with a total alcohol content or concentration of 60 to 90% are effective at killing the COVID-19 virus if used correctly and for at least 20seconds.
- Hand sanitisers without a 60 to 90% alcohol concentration merely reduce germ growth rates and don’t kill them. Most non alcohol based hand sanitiser use benzalkonium chloride or triclosan and are not effective against COVID-19
- Effective hand sanitisers contain either or a combination of ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and n-propanol, but these, although they are very effective against COVID-19, they do not kill all types of microbes and they are not able to eliminate all types of germs.
It has also been shown that hand sanitisers do not remove heavy metals, chemicals or pesticides. The best way to clean these, germs and other contaminantes from your hands is to use soap and water.
Using an alcohol based hand sanitiser (with more than a 60% concentration of alcohol) is the best, most cost effective and convenient way to protect yourself and others from the corona virus and COVID-19 when soap and clean water are not available.