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Common Mistakes when Using Hand Sanitizer During COVID-19

Among the protective measures against COVID-19, hand sanitizer has quickly become one of the most popular resources available. Although easy and fast, sanitizer can become a false sense of safety in the hands of those who need it most. Are there mistakes to be made with use, and if so, what are they?

Effectiveness of Sanitizer

Before highlighting common mistakes of applying sanitizer, perhaps the most effective practices are to follow the usage guidelines suggested by the Department of Health.

  1. Make sure all organic matter is removed from your hands.
    All visible organic matter, such as dirt, must be removed from hands prior to applying a waterless hand sanitizer.
  2. Apply a dime-sized amount of waterless hand sanitizer to the palm of one hand or use a waterless hand sanitizer wipe.
  3. Rub hands together covering all surfaces of hands and fingers.
  4. Rub until waterless hand sanitizer is absorbed.

Source: Minnesota Department of Health 2020


How long should you use hand sanitizer for?


Common Mistakes

Now that you know how to use sanitizer, watch out for these common misconceptions!

Washing Hands 

Although hand sanitizer is an effective way to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria, it should not be used as an alternative to soap and water. According to the FDA, there is no alternative to washing your hands besides, well….. Washing your hands! Hand sanitizer is meant to supplement washing your hands in locations or times when it would otherwise be impractical or impossible. 


Another common misconception is the more often one uses sanitizer, the safer they will be. When it comes to frequency of use, hand sanitizer users should use with caution as overuse can disrupt the natural, beneficial bacteria found on your skin. These bacteria are essential to wellbeing, and even protecting against unhealthy contaminants we come into contact with.


Does hand sanitizer dry out your hands?


Label Information

Regardless of the product, the FDA recommends to always check labels for directions, ingredients, and expiration dates. The same rules apply to hand sanitizer. During COVID-19, certain production guidelines have been expanded in order to produce more supply to meet the increasing demand; however, some bottles may no longer have these expiration guidelines. Always check to be sure sanitizer has at least 60% alcohol to be effective. 

For more information, check out this powerful guide written by the FDA on hand sanitizer during COVID-19. Stay healthy and happy!