How To Choose The Right Hand Sanitizer For You

Written by Dr. Pramod Mane on Tue, 01 August 2023


Why should we use hand sanitizer?

As we're surrounded by germs everywhere, it's really important to stay aware and away from them. They can easily get onto our hands and various things we touch during our daily routine activities and make us sick. A hand sanitizer is a waterless disinfectant or an alcohol hand gel that comes in handy, in places where you don't have access to soap and water.

There are some key differences between soap and water, and in using a hand sanitizer. Washing hands with soap and water works by removing all the germs from hands. However, a hand sanitizer kills certain of them on the skin. They can quickly reduce the number of germs in most situations, but they must be used only on the right occasions.

Also read: 10 Reasons To Take A Deep Breath More Often

Some limitations of using a hand sanitizer are in removing harmful chemicals and some germs like norovirus, Cryptosporidium, etc. which soap and water can remove easily. Hence, knowing when to clean your hands and which is the best method for it may give you the best chance of preventing sickness.

Now let's talk some more about hand sanitizer, the benefits, and how to choose the best one.

How to choose the best hand sanitizer?

As already stated, hand sanitizers mainly contain alcohol. A sanitizer with 60-95% alcohol is recommended to be the most effective than the ones with lower alcohol content. Some products don't have any. These are probably best to reduce the number of germs and not kill them. So, always have a look at the contents before buying.

On the flip side, hand sanitizers with more than 60% alcohol may irritate your skin despite killing the germs faster. So, again choose the one which suits you the best, as in this case, one closer to 60% should work just fine.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the use of only 2 types of alcohol to make or select a hand sanitizer-ethyl alcohol (also called ethanol) and isopropyl alcohol. Some other ingredients apart from alcohol that you may see in a sanitizer are benzalkonium chloride. Now, this may not work as well as the alcohol one but it is still useful as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Also read: Everyday Mistakes That Kill Your Immunity

Which hand sanitizers should not be used?

The FDA has issued warnings regarding the use of some imported hand sanitizers such as from Mexico and some other countries. These sanitizers disguised as hand antiseptic contains methanol as the alcohol.

Now, this methanol is a type of wood-based alcohol which is commonly used to make fuel and antifreeze. So, using such sanitizers can be very harmful to the skin and cause skin diseases, and can be life-threatening if ingested.

If you see methanol on the content list, just move away and don't buy that. In many cases, you may miss out on checking the label and the contents the sanitizer has. But don't worry, FDA has prepared a do-not-use list of hand sanitizers that may come in handy before buying one.

Insider tip: Never try to make a hand sanitizer on your own as it may not be as effective. Also, it may cause some skin burns and be toxic for you.

Benefits of using hand sanitizer

Now since you already know how to choose the right-hand sanitizer, why to use it, and which ones to avoid, let's list out some benefits of using the same.

1. Keeps you clean

Well, this shouldn't come as a surprise, right? Sanitizers were designed to clean our hands and kill germs. If used correctly, they can eliminate 99.9% of the germs on your hands. But make sure you take a good amount and rub it thoroughly on your hands and between your fingers and let it dry. Also, don't wash it or rinse it away. There's no point in that right?

Also read: Too Many Negative Emotions? Your Immunity Could Suffer A Setback

2. Is very portable

Now you may know this, but the last time we checked, you cannot have a sink ready for you having access to soap and water everywhere you go. In those situations, a hand sanitizer comes in handy and can help you have a good cleaning of your hands for the things you want to do such as eating, drinking, leaving a public space like the grocery store. You can easily slip a little bottle into your glove compartment or even a pocket.

3. It's great for group settings

In public places or where a lot of people gather such as offices, and classrooms, germs spread quickly. Moreover, living with people in close quarters, germs can still affect you even if you don't eat together or take out the garbage on your own. In such places, teachers, students, and office employees can use hand sanitizer throughout the day and can kill germs without having to leave their workplace. For gym lovers, you can just squirt a little quantity of hand sanitizer and wash away the germs before moving on to the next machine.

4. Lessens the risk of diseases

It's well known that during the flu season, socializing a bit less can help you catch other people's germs. This is where using a hand sanitizer comes in handy as using it often while you visit your friend's place or a store lessens the risk to catch a disease.


In summary, it's really important to keep clean and wash your hands frequently to stay away from germs and diseases. Since you know a lot about hand sanitizers now, you should go and get one if you don't have one already, as you can see its benefits. So, go on, keep clean and stay sanitized!


Dr. Pramod Mane

A Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Pharmacology., currently based in Mumbai, India, Dr Pramod Mane, comes with an experience of more than 20 years of working in Medical Affairs in the Pharmaceuticals & Nutraceutical Industry. Director of Medical Services at Mega Lifesciences since 2008, Dr Mane has been associated with several MNCS in the areas of Medical Affairs, Medical Services, Medico-marketing, Pharmacovigilance & Clinical trials in his illustrious career.

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Our team of experts frequently monitors developments in the health and wellness field, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

Aug, 01 2023

Written By

Dr. Pramod Mane