How to Use Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers

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  • 0:01 Hand Sanitizers
  • 0:24 Proper Use
  • 1:18 Important Steps
  • 2:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

In this lesson, you'll learn what is better: washing your hands or using a hand sanitizer. You'll learn what hand sanitizer you need to get and how to properly use one.

Hand Sanitizers

When I'm out trekking through the woods, there is often very little in the form of comforts of home. Even water sources are sometimes scarce. But, I certainly want to maintain some form of hand hygiene. So what do I do? I use hand sanitizers. A hand sanitizer is commonly an alcohol-based substance that reduces but does not eliminate all types of germs in some situations.

Let's see how these should be properly used.

Proper Use

The definition for hand sanitizers says that they can reduce the number of microbes, and quickly so, in some situations. I say some situations because if your hands are visibly soiled and caked in dirt, then believe me, the hand sanitizer will be almost useless. Why? Well, the organic debris on your hands (the dirt) serves as a shield (or cover) for microorganisms against the microbe-killing alcohol.

This means that if you are like me, out trekking in the woods, you need to clean the visible dirt off of your hands before you use the alcohol based rub so that microorganisms on your skin don't have a place to hide as you're trying to kill them. This is also true if your hands are greasy with some sort of oily substance. Hand sanitizers will not work as well in such scenarios, either.

Another thing you need to consider is what kind of alcohol-based rub you are using. A hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol in order to be effective, so check the label before buying it!

Important Steps

While using soap and water to wash your hands is the best way to reduce the number of microorganisms on your hands, sometimes we only have hand sanitizer at our disposal, like in my case. If that's all we've got, that's way better than nothing. But just plopping some of that sanitizer into your hand isn't good enough. You need to use it correctly for maximum effectiveness.

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