Hand sanitizer is the easiest and most convenient way to keep your hands clean wherever you are. Due to its quick accessibility to sanitize the hands by simply reaching for a bottle, it has made people prefer using it instead of washing their hands with soap and water. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention always recommends washing the hands instead of using sanitizer gel, as it is a lot more effective in killing illness-causing bacteria.
While hand washing is the best way to stop the spread of infectious diseases, hand sanitizers also provide preventive benefits that protect you and others from bacteria. It is important to use hand sanitizers properly when soap and water are not available.
Providing hand sanitizer in areas that have surfaces that are frequently touched by people is crucial to keep hospitals, schools, and businesses safe. Doorknobs, elevator buttons, railings, and faucets are all surfaces that are required to be touched in every office. To keep yourself and your staff safe, you must have hand sanitizers available in the correct areas.
This article will help you understand the importance of hand sanitizers and how to have them available in your business.
How does hand sanitizer work?
Hand sanitizers are meant to be used on the go when soap and water are not an option such as needing it when you are in the car or if you are on a camping trip.
While it is an effective method, you must follow the general rules when using hand sanitizers. It must contain alcohol that is at least 60% to kill germs. The active ingredient in hand sanitizers may be listed as ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol.
Using hand sanitizers that don’t contain alcohol or has a lower alcohol concentration is not going to be effective at killing bacteria and protecting you from getting sick.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers work by destroying the cell membrane of the bacteria, which guards the inside of the bacterium. Once it penetrates the cell membrane the alcohol will start to kill the proteins inside it.
The cell membrane is composed of phospholipids that can be dissolved by propanol or ethanol, which is used in hand sanitizers. The protein in bacteria is what keeps its life going and the second it has its protein molecules breaking down by the alcohol it starts to die.
In short, hand sanitizers work by breaking down the wall that protects the inside of the bacteria and then attacking the center of it that keeps it alive.
How to use hand sanitizers properly
Due to how the alcohol works when killing bacteria, you must use it the right way. If you don’t allow it to dry, then it will not be effective since it did not get enough time to break down the bacteria.
Using hand sanitizers the proper way involves steps that are easy to follow, but it is often unknown by many people who love the convenience of it.
Here are the steps to using hand sanitizers effectively:
Step 1. Purchase the right hand sanitizer
The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer that contains 60% to 90% alcohol, anything less than 60% that will not kill the bacteria. You must only purchase hand sanitizers that are alcohol-based.
When buying hand sanitizer you will notice that some labels will claim it can kill 99% of the bacteria, but it is made with disinfectant instead of alcohol. While that claim can be true, it does not mean that it will kill every illness-causing bacteria.
Other ingredients you should look for when buying hand sanitizer is looking for products that add aloe vera, vitamin E, or glycerin to protect the hands from becoming too dry due to the concentration of the alcohol.
Step 2. Apply it correctly
After you have found a hand sanitizer that works great for you, start applying an amount that is enough to cover the entire hand. Apply the hand sanitizer on the back of your hand, between the fingers, and up to the wrist. Begin to rub the product for 20 seconds, similarly to hand washing.
Step 3. Wait until the hand sanitizer dries out
This is the most important step when using hand sanitizer. It is common to not follow this step due to people not knowing how necessary it is to use hand sanitizers effectively.
Once you start rubbing the hand sanitizer all over the hands, you must wait until it dries completely. People frequently think that the amount left on their hands is extra and decide to wipe off.
If you don’t allow the hand sanitizer to dry on your hands, it will not have enough time to kill all of the bacteria on your hands.
When to use hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer should never be replaced with soap and water, as it is not as effective as hand washing. If your hands happen to be dirty or greasy, using hand sanitizer will not kill the bacteria or clean off the soil due to its inability to penetrate the way soap does.
The World Health Organization only recommends using hand sanitizer when you don’t have access to soap and water. It is important to wash your hands when it is possible instead of depending on the hand sanitizer.
How to add hand sanitizers to your business
While washing your hands with soap and water is the preferred method to stop the spread of infectious diseases, installing a hand sanitizer dispenser will serve a great purpose in your office.
Hospitals, clinics, and schools have hand sanitizers available for everyone to use to minimize the risks of getting sick and preventing the spread of diseases. A study has discovered that having hand sanitizers available in the office has decreased the number of employees that needed to use their sick days after catching the flu from their coworkers.
Hand sanitizers can protect you and your staff from viruses, but it must be used correctly and contains at least 60% alcohol.
There are simple guidelines that you can follow when installing a hand sanitizer dispenser and providing a hand sanitizer station.
- Use alcohol-based sanitizer that contains 60% to 95% concentration. If you use non-alcohol hand sanitizers it will not be effective in attacking the protein inside the bacteria cells.
- Check all of the ingredients on the hand sanitizer label before making a purchase. Due to the shortage in manufacturing hand sanitizers, some companies have been selling products that contain chemicals that are harmful for the body and can lead to poisoning.
- Remember that hand sanitizers are flammable and you have to keep in mind of where you are placing them around the office. Hand sanitizers can also spill if it is not stored correctly.
- The supplier will provide instructions on how to store the hand sanitizer if you purchased it in a bulk or if you want to refill the dispenser. You must follow the instruction to keep your office safe.
- When refilling the hand sanitizer dispenser, follow the procedure that the company provides to do it safely.
- Do not refill a hand sanitizer dispenser with products that are from different companies or try to mix two kinds. That could lead to making it less effective at killing bacteria.
- Bottles can only be used within 90 days after opening due to the alcohol in hand sanitizers evaporating, which makes the concentration less effective. If you find that one of the stored hand sanitizer bottles is damaged, has a broken pump, or it is past its expiration date you must discard it safely.
- Write the date each time you refill the bottle to ensure that it is not expired.
- You must refill hand sanitizer dispensers or bottles in a designated station on a surface that can be properly sanitized after the refill such as stainless steel surfaces.
To ensure that you are protecting yourself and your employees from getting sick, it is recommended to add simple instructions above the hand sanitizer dispenser for people to see to properly use the product without wasting it. You can write short steps that explain that the hand sanitizing gel must cover the entire hand and they have to wait for it to become dry, as well as a reminder to not wipe the product off.
Buying hand sanitizer in bulks
A great way to save your business a lot of money is buying hand sanitizer in bulks and refilling the dispenser. It also prevents you from dealing with tricky situations such as a shortage in hand sanitizers.
Every business owner is taking extra steps to keeping their work environment healthy and preventing disease from spreading. Hand sanitizers continue to become very popular among offices and that can lead to stores running out of stock.
Buying hand sanitizer in bulk will reduce the cost and it will save you a lot of money in the long run. Find a manufacturer that you can sign a contract with to supply your business with sanitizers.