Hand Sanitizers – How Effective Are They?

They claim to kill all known germs, they claim to offer a viable alternative to hand washing with soap and water; they claim to effectively clean your hands and stop spread of flu and other viruses and yet a new study is now saying that hand sanitizers are only effective for 2 minutes.

hand sanitizerGermophobes, who felt secure being armed with hand sanitizers at all times; beware! Hand sanitizers do not offer long term protection; in fact they work only for a couple of minutes and then have to be reapplied when recontamination occurs.

Though hand sanitizers do in fact decontaminate hands, this effect is very short-lived because hands get re-contaminated very quickly; as soon as they touch something else. In the study, one thousand Americans were surveyed and quizzed about hand sanitizer use.

Respondents of the survey; 68% of whom use sanitizers, were under the erroneous impression that hand sanitizers work better than soap and water. A majority of respondents keep a sanitizer close at hand, in a bag or so on.

The bottom line is that soap and water still works best when hands are washed for half a minute or so. However, when this is simply not possible, a hand sanitizer may be a good idea, so long as directions for use are properly followed.