Things to Remember While Using Hand Sanitizer


The ongoing pandemic has changed a lot of things for us. Even though sanitizers have existed for some time now, their importance now is highlighted more than ever. Apart from carrying your phone, keys, and wallet, hand sanitizers have occupied a space in your bags and pockets. While sanitizers have become a crucial part of our day to day lives, it cannot be forgotten that they are little bottles of chemicals. Things can go massively wrong if we are not careful with them. Here are a few of the things we need to remember about hand sanitizers while adapting to our ‘new normal’ lifestyle.

Beware of Methanol Based Sanitizers

Due to the increase in demand, the market today is filled with sanitizers from various brands. Hence, it is advised to read their labels carefully before purchasing. While methanol has a fresh fragrance and gives a tingling sensation that you like, make sure the sanitizer you choose does not contain it as an ingredient. According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), methanol exposure can result in terrible health issues such as nausea, vomiting, headache, permanent blindness, and permanent damage to the nervous system or death.

Do Not Apply Sanitizers on your Hands Before Eating

Alcohol based hand sanitizers have high chemical content in them that help in killing germs. They have at least 60 per cent alcohol in them. Hence, applying them before consuming meals can make their way into your system which in turn can cause a lot of damage. Alcohol poisoning and weakening of the immune system are two such damages. Instead, wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly. Even doctors recommend washing hands more than using instant hand sanitizers.

Avoid Sanitizers that have Triclosan Instead of Alcohol

Not all hand sanitizers are the same. Currently the market is flooded with cheap variants that cause a lot of damage to us. The main ingredient of effective sanitizers is their irreplaceable alcohol content. Triclosan is a powerful antibacterial chemical that is mostly used in pesticides. Other studies show that the use of triclosan by humans can cause severe harm to their gut, disrupt hormones, Impact your thyroid, and even damage your liver.

Do Not Go Near The Fire After Applying A Hand Sanitizer

They are extremely inflammable and can quickly catch fire due to the alcohol and ethanol content present in them. Do not apply sanitizers before cooking. If you are concerned about hygiene while in the kitchen, keep a bottle of hand wash next to the sink and wash your hands before you start preparing the meal. Hand sanitizers fall under the category of hazardous substances and thus should be handled with care. Make sure you store them in a cool and dry place; Far from high temperatures or flames. Also, if you are a smoker who carries a lighter with them at all times then remember to keep them far from the sanitizer.

Make Sure Your Hands Are Not Dirty or Greasy Before Applying a Sanitizer

Hand sanitizers are not effective in dirty or greasy hands. If you’ve used your hands to eat food or returned home from playing at the field or did a task that involved soiling of hands then wash them with soap and water instead. Remember, they work only on dry or damp hands. This is the reason why factory workers dealing with heavy metals and strong chemicals are recommended to wash their hands regularly.

Don’t Over or Underuse The Hand Sanitizer

When using a sanitizer, make sure you only use a thumbnail size amount, rub your hands thoroughly and wait for it to dry. Using too much or using it too frequently can dry up your hands or worse, harm your immune system. A Weak immune system makes you more prone to the virus you’re trying to fight. Reach out for your hand sanitizer only when you’re out or when soap and water aren’t available to you. Using just a drop will do nothing. You should use enough to cover both the front and back of your hand.

Do Not Use Hand Sanitizers to Clean Your Face Masks:

Doctors and health experts have repeatedly spoken about the importance of the face mask. Studies show that wearing Mask is the most significant factor affecting COVID-19 with a 70-per cent impact. Washing your mask is as important as wearing one. Unless you’re using disposable masks, you should always wash your mask with detergent and warm water as it helps in deep cleaning. Do not use sanitizers to disinfect your mask as you will be inhaling it once you put it on. This, in turn, can cause a lot of damage to your organs and respiratory system.

Store Your Sanitizers in Airtight Bottles:

Storing hand sanitizers in airtight bottles is extremely crucial as the chemicals evaporate quickly when exposed to air. By leaving the bottle open, it loses its properties and effectiveness. This also lessens chances of unfortunate fires. If you have sanitizer bottles in your car then make sure their caps are tightly closed. Vapours accumulation can lead to the car turning into a gas chamber which in turn can cause drastic fires.

Do Not Use Expired Sanitizer:

Yes! Sanitizers do expire. While there might or might not be visible changes in its colour, texture or odour, never use a hand sanitizer after the expiration date mentioned on the bottle. It can lead to severe skin and blood infection.

These are tough times and our safety is in our hands, quite literally. Hand sanitizers can cause as much trouble as they can avoid. Since its use has become mandatory, it is upon us to be responsible with it.

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