How Does Hand Sanitizer Kill Viruses?

How Does Hand Sanitizer Kill Viruses?

Getting sick often forces us to press pause on life, taking us away from work, family, hobbies and everything else that’s part of our regular day to day. Sometimes, a virus can even lead to professional medical care as opposed to just riding it out at home -- we’re all too familiar with that thanks to what 2020 has brought. 

Because health is so important, it is always worth it to practice preventative measures like mask wearing, hand washing, and using hand sanitizer to keep viruses and germs in general at bay. 

One of the most effective ways to neutralize germs, kill viruses, and banish bacteria is through hand sanitizer. However, not just any hand sanitizer will do. 

As familiar as we are with these best practices, do we actually understand how hand washing or hand sanitizing works to kill viruses? Some of us have the idea that, like dirt, germs just get scrubbed off and washed down the sink. Others might have the idea that the warm water we use melts away germs like a hot knife through butter. 

This post serves as a guide to understanding why and how good hand sanitizer effectively kills off viruses, giving you everything you need to know to pick out a high-quality hand sanitizer that works as well as possible.

What makes hand sanitizer work?

The primary ingredient in any good hand sanitizer is alcohol, specifically isopropyl or ethyl. 

Alcohol works by latching on to the outer protective layer of the virus and breaking it apart so its fragile insides are no longer protected, effectively killing it off. Alcohol has been used for centuries as a powerful antiseptic because of this simple ability to get rid of germs, bacteria, and viruses. 

However, the effectiveness of alcohol depends on the amount of alcohol in a solution. A hand sanitizer that is less than 60% alcohol is not strong enough to kill off that signature 99.99% of germs on your hands. On the opposite end, if hand sanitizer is 100% alcohol, it may evaporate too quickly to be able to latch on and actually pull apart the germs. So, we’ve found that 80% alcohol is the sweet spot in between that’s perfect for hand sanitizer spray, and for sanitizing non-porous surfaces, too, though anywhere from 65 to 95% is within CDC guidelines

The label on a bottle of hand sanitizer includes a section called “drug facts,” where you’ll be able to see the alcohol concentration of your sanitizer -- check here for your alcohol percentage. If it’s below 60%, toss it. 

Will using hand sanitizer keep me 100% safe from viruses?

While we wish we could say that hand sanitizer could keep you indefinitely virus-free, that’s sadly just not the way it works. 

No matter how careful you are or how much sanitizer you use, you still run the risk of getting sick -- this is where that iconic “99.99% of germs” motto comes into play. 

However, the more you put health and safety measures into practice, the more you reduce your risk of getting sick, so sanitize onward!

But really, nothing can make you completely immune to a bug like the flu, not even a flu shot. However, in the same way that a flu shot lowers your risk of catching that infamous bug, using hand sanitizer after coming into contact with high-touch surfaces is a powerful defense you should always play. 

Although it won’t guarantee 100% that the flu virus won’t snake its way into your body to do what it does best, sanitizing is one of the most effective means of killing the flu virus, coronavirus, and most of the other viruses, bacteria, germs, and spores out there looking for a warm place to stay this winter. 

How do I make the most of sanitizer’s cleaning power?

According to the CDC, hand washing is ultimately the most reliable way of getting germs off your hands. However, in many circumstances throughout your day, you might not have access to running water and soap. In these situations, hand sanitizer is perfectly capable of keeping those hands 99.99% germ-free. Carry a portable bottle of hand sanitizer with you any time you go out in public and you’ll have a guaranteed method of cleaning your hands no matter where your errands take you. 

One of the major parts of smart hand sanitizer use is getting enough on your hands to get the job done. You’ll need a generous portion of hand sanitizer for each use, enough to cover the entirety of both of your hands fully. You might not be using enough hand sanitizer each time you apply – no shame if you’ve been skimping, it’s been hard to get our hands on the stuff! But, now is the time to be generous and make sure your hands are saturated, but not dripping. 

Once you have enough hand sanitizer applied, rub it in. You don’t have to rub too vigorously – just enough motion to create some friction will do. Think of it as a similar motion to washing your hands with soap and water. The goal is to thoroughly cover your hands with sanitizer so every germ is reached in each nook and cranny.

So, where can I even find good hand sanitizer?

Due to the pandemic, hand sanitizer is scarce in many places you’d normally find it -- it’s unfortunately been this way since March and it doesn’t seem to be getting much better, especially with consumer hoarding and price gouging lurking around every corner and online retailer.

With these kinds of obstacles to basic hygiene, went on a mission to offer effective, safe, simple hand sanitizer that is affordable and accessible to anyone who needs it. 

We know that your hands aren’t the only things that need sanitizing each day, so we’ve made our hand sanitizer sprayable and easy to apply to high-touch surfaces, too. Our hand sanitizer is 80% alcohol, making it well above the required 60% for killing germs on hands, and also meeting the 70% minimum to safely sanitize non-porous surfaces. 

It’s the sanitizer for everyone and everything, and we intend to keep it that way even if demand spikes again this winter. In the marketplace, you’ll never have to worry about running out of hand sanitizer ever again, and with our prices, you can keep your arm and leg, too. 


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