Hand Sanitizer: When Should You Use It?

We’ve all been there. We’re on an airplane and want to eat a snack, yet not allowed to get up to wash our hands. Or we’re out running errands, like grocery shopping or the car wash, and we can just feel the germs on our hands. Or we’re at our kid’s soccer game, and they need something to wash away the remnants of a sticky treat.

Will hand sanitizer do the trick?

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers or gels, or antibacterial wipes, are great alternatives when you can’t get to someplace with soap and water. [Link to other post on handwashing.] Use one or two squirts or pumps of the sanitizer, and then rub hands together briskly, including the front and the back, between fingers and under nails. Keep rubbing until your hands are dry.

If you’re using wipes intended to clean your hands, wipe all areas of your hands until they are visibly clean. Use one more wipe, and be sure to throw them out in an appropriate container. Let your hands air dry.

If you keep hand sanitizer around, be sure that you’re storing it safely out of reach of children. Supervise small kids if they are using it, and keep them to one pump only, which is plenty for little hands. They should not put their hands in their mouths until they are completely dry. And, remember to read the label to know exactly how much product you should use, and don’t use wipes intended for cleaning countertops or other surfaces in the home to clean your hands (but you could use a baby wipe)!



  1. K
    Kate Hansen

    It was helpful when you said that you should read the label on how to use the hand sanitizer. I was thinking about getting some since it’s flu season and I’m wanting to keep germs away. I’ll make sure to keep these tips in mind once I get some hand sanitizer!


  2. J

    When you are a grocery store and cannot wash your hands , when you put hand sanitizer on your hands how long will it last does it last? Do you need to reapply many times?


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