What Do You Need to Know About Hand Sanitizer?

While washing with warm water and antiseptic hand soap remain the gold standard for hand hygiene, hand sanitizer still enjoyed explosive popularity since Covid-19 outbreak for its convenience and simplicity. Hand sanitizer stop spreading of bacteria and virus more effectively, require less time and irritate skin less often than antiseptic hand soap and water.



Currently hand sanitizer divided into two types, alcohol- based and alcohol-free. U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that the alcohol-based hand sanitizer can kills bacteria and virus also prevent the spread of contagious bacteria and virus to others.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (ABHS) contains ethanol or isopropyl alcohol that can denature and coagulate proteins, then microorganism’s cells are then lysed, and their cellular metabolism is disrupted. Ethanol is widely use as the alcohol ingredient because it appears to be the most effective against viruses. ABHS containing 60-80% of alcohol as the most effective antimicrobial agent.

Beside that alcohol ingredient, most of ABHS contains water, moisturizing agent (eg Glycerine, Aloe Vera, etc) and additive fragrance (scented). Frequent use of alcohol tends to cause drying of the skin so moisturizing agents are added to the ABHS formulations for eliminating the drying effect of alcohol. The efficacy of ABHS will be maximized by the proper way to use hand sanitizer.


Make sure you always clean your hands after playing sport, gardening, eating a snack or any other activities that require you to use your hands. Clean hands will absorb the sanitizer fast and effectively. Below are the steps on how to use hand sanitizer properly.

1.           Clear your hands of all accessories

Take off all rings and other jewellery that may be covering the surfaces of your hands. Remove all dirt, grease or food to get effective result.

2.           Apply hand sanitizer into the palm of one hand

Apply adequate amount of sanitizer on your hand.

3.           Rub your hands together gently

Be sure to cover the surfaces of both of your hands, including fingers and around your fingertips and nails. You also should rub your upper wrist. Rubbing process should be take around 30 seconds.

4.           Let your hands dry off

Approximately after 30 seconds of rubbing, your skin should have absorbed the sanitizer. If your hands are still wet, just wait for a few more seconds until it completely absorbed and dry.

By Mr Mohd Hazim Amsyar, Vcare Pharmacist