Not every bathroom sink has antibacterial soap, so it helps to be prepared by carrying a hand sanitiser wherever you go. When used properly, they rid your hands (and you) of illness- causing bacteria and viruses – even the flu. Follow these tips to find the strongest kind and use it to its fullest potential.
CHECK THE ALCOHOL CONTENT
Most hand sanitisers use alcohol to kill germs, but make sure you buy one with at least 60 per cent alcohol. It won’t be as effective with less, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US. Major brands offer that amount – Tri- Cidal Disinfectant Alcohol Gel ($9.95 for 480ml from Unity Pharmacies) contains 70 per cent, but some budget brands may contain less.
However, don’t assume that superconcentrated is better. A recent American Journal Of Infection Control (AJIC) study found that sanitisers with 95 per cent alcohol don’t have enough moisture to work properly.
LOOK FOR MOISTURISER
Alcohol can dry your skin, and excessive sanitiser use can make your hands uncomfortable, rough or even have cracked skin. Help yourself by buying a bottle that’s infused with a moisturiser. Aloe vera is one of the most common additives. It moistens your hands and has been shown to boost the sanitiser’s microbe-fighting power, according to another AJIC study. Dettol Instant Hand Sanitizer with aloe vera ($4.90 for 50ml from Unity Pharmacies) is a good choice.
SOAK FOR 30 SECONDS
If you can rub your hands dry in 15 seconds, you didn’t use enough sanitiser. In a University of North Carolina study in the US, a dollar coin-size dollop – 7g – killed germs more than twice as effectively as 3g did. That amount will take 30 seconds or more to rub dry.
USE WIPES AND GEL
Gels are often thought to be better than wipes, but that may not be the case. A recent AJIC study found that of gels and wipes that contained the same amount of alcohol, wipes killed almost 50 per cent more of certain types of bacteria than gels did. Buy a bottle of gel for when you’re on the go, but keep a box of wipes at the office.