How Long Does Hand Sanitizer Kill Germs?

How Long Does Hand Sanitizer Kill Germs?

There are a lot rumors out there about how long and how effective hand sanitizers are on killing germs and keeping us germ free.  I decided to do some research and find out the facts.

The thing to keep in mind, is that your hands are the gateway to many germs getting inside us.  That is why good hand hygiene is important.  You touch a dirty or germy surface than you rub your nose or put your hand over your mouth to cough…oh no you could be in for trouble.

Think about this we all know it is healthy to eat our fruits and veggies raw and many times apples or carrot sticks are the preferred grab and go snack.  But before you grab, wash those hands or sanitize.  That’s right from your hand, to the food, to your mouth, that is how easily germs can spread.

Back to our original question….sanitizers kill off all germs upon application (remember to get on the backside of your hands and in between your fingers).  The correct way to apply is to wet your hands all over and rub them until they feel dry.  It is important to use a sanitizer with over 60% alcohol.  Your sanitizer will then protect you for around 2 minutes.

2 MINUTES – THAT IS ALL

 

Factors that affect effectiveness:

  • Application
  • Exposure
  • Formula – Is it effective against the germs or bacteria you are exposed to

 

The next thing you touch will be picked up on your hands and here you go again.  So, washing or sanitizing frequently is important.  And wiping down your phone, computer keyboard, car keys and wallet are also a good idea.

Like most of you, I now keep sanitizer in my car before I even start my car back up after an errand or trip to the store, I sanitize.

But before you start to panic, remember you have a built in immune system that is specifically designed to combat germs and fight disease.

That bottle of sanitizer will also expire and lose its effectiveness.  I understand the desire to stock up, but overstocking may just cause you to end up throwing out product.  As time goes by the alcohol can evaporate and make your sanitizer less effective.  US FDA requires all hand sanitizers to have an expiration date printed on the product or a 3 year shelf life.

Handwashing with soap and water is still best for regular dirt, grease and grime.  Soap and water also remove germs and bacteria from your hands.  Regular hand washing is still the recommended way to clean and sanitize our hands.  However, there are times when access to soap and water isn’t convenient.  And that is where hand sanitizer comes in to play. Sanitizer can come as a liquid, gel or even as a foam.

Many schools now ask their student to carry hand sanitizer with them and to use it frequently.  Newer school buildings also have the sinks and handwashing stations outside of the restroom area.  This encourages students to wash their hands even if they don’t need to use the restroom.  It can also help teachers monitor that all students wash before heading to the lunch room.

Grownups are also encouraged to keep sanitizer handy for using in the workplace or before eating and after eating when in a public setting.

 

According to the CDC:  Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Lathering your hands with soap and scrubbing for 20 seconds is the key.  Bar soap, liquid soap or antibacterial soap are all OK.

 

The Take Away

Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer to eliminate and stop the spread of germs and viruses.

Your hands are often the gateway to allowing germs into your body.

Do not count on hand sanitizer to continue to kill germs after two minutes.

Keep yourself healthy and your immune system tip top to fight germs and viruses with good nutrition, frequent exercise, and adequate sleep.

 

Regular hand washing is still the recommended way to clean and sanitize our hands.  Use hand sanitizer when you can not access soap and water!



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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our blood alcohol, body fat and calories burned calculators.

The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.

Our team of health professionals, and researchers use peer reviewed studies as source elements in our articles.

Our high quality content has been featured in a number of leading websites, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Live Strong, GQ, and many more.

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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our blood alcohol, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years. Our team of health professionals, and researchers use peer reviewed studies as source elements in our articles. Our high quality content has been featured in a number of leading websites, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Live Strong, GQ, and many more.

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