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8 Unusual Facts You Didn’t Know About Hand Sanitizer


Personal hygiene comes first! People always washed and bathed even the most ancient of our ancestors. However, the disinfecting potential of various substances was only discovered in the 19th century when Joseph Lister began researching the antiseptic properties of various materials, including carbolic acid, which was used to disinfect sewage pipes in London.

Hand sanitizers in their usual for us form appeared only in 1966, thanks to Lupe Hernandez, a student nurse from California, who invented and patented the alcohol-based gel. However, this product became available in regular stores only in 1988.

What other curious things about hand sanitizers will we learn today?

1. What even is a sanitizer?

Sanitizer is an antiseptic in the form of a gel on an alcohol or non-alcohol basis. The composition of the sanitizer also includes additional antibacterial agents that not only protect but also moisturize the skin of the hands. Thus, it kills most bacteria, without causing any significant harm to the skin.

2. How does it work?

The alcohol in the sanitizer is super-effective and destroys various bacteria and viruses quite easily, but it’s never 99.9%, as advertised. In real life, getting rid of all the germs will not work. Aside from that, sanitizer works best when there is no visible dirt on the hands. For example, if you washed your hands and then treated them with an antibacterial gel.

3. What’s the correct way to use sanitizer?

Generally, you should use hand sanitizers if you don’t have access to soap and water. But before that, wipe your hands with wet wipes to remove as much dirt as possible. It is not recommended to use the sanitizer every day, because your skin will eventually become irritated and dry. And dry skin will almost always lead to cracks and micro-wounds, making it easier for the germs to get inside your bloodstream. In addition, bacteria and viruses often develop resistance to antiseptics. It’s just basic laws of evolution.

4. Which sanitizers are the best?

The studies have shown that sanitizers with 60-95% alcohol are the best at killing germs. And as to the non-alcoholic gels, they kinda suck at slaying the dab bacteria and viruses and instead are excellent at drying out your skin and making it itchy. Don’t use those unless you have absolutely no other choice.

5. The correct dosage is important

Didn’t your mother tell you not to be wasteful? All you need is to squeeze a pea-sized drop of the gel on your hand and vigorously rub it in until your hands are dry. It should take you about 30 seconds if you’re doing it right. Don’t leave the hands moist. Nobody likes that.

6. Hand sanitizer is a team player

As mentioned before, hand sanitizer is terrible at removing dirt, so first, you need to wash your hands with soap and let them dry. Only then should you be using the gel. This combo will definitely kill close to 99% of the germs.

7. Do NOT consume hand sanitizer!

This needs to be said: hand sanitizers are not food and should not be used for throat gargling. All alcohol based sanitizers contain ethyl alcohol, which is basically poison. This is why the sanitizer should be tucked away somewhere where your kids won’t be able to reach it.