How to make the best use of sanitizers and disinfectants?
How to effectively use sanitizers and disinfectants?
There are primarily a couple of reasons why a person uses products effectively. Firstly, when the product is expensive and scarcely available. Secondly, when the effective use of the product directly influences its working. During the COVID-19 pandemic, hand sanitizers & disinfectants became household terms. COVID-19 pandemic witnessed a journey of hand sanitizers from an unimportant luxury product to an important necessary one. Over time, disinfectants also underwent modifications that made them much safer & effective. In this article, we shall understand the best practices of hand sanitizers, surface sanitizers, and disinfectants that will allow you to achieve their maximum potential.
How to make effective use of hand sanitizers?
Hand sanitizer is a product consisting of an active ingredient with properties that can eliminate pathogens on the skin (with few exceptions). They also have certain additives that have additional effects. Hand sanitizers are vital in maintaining hand hygiene when soap & water are not available. Two factors ensure the best use of hand sanitizer. They are an appropriate selection of hand sanitizer & their proper application techniques. These two factors can be classified into seven steps that one can follow to ensure the best use of hand sanitizers.
Seven steps for appropriate selection & use of hand sanitizers
Step 1: Is it FDA approved?
Before buying a hand sanitizer, check the label. You will find an FDA approval mark. Buy the hand sanitizer if you spot the FDA approval symbol. Check the next step before buying the hand sanitizer.
Step 2: Check the composition of the hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizers can be broadly classified into two types based on their active ingredient. The two types are alcohol-based & alcohol-free. If it is an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, ensure that the alcohol is either ethanol or IPA (rubbing alcohol). The concentration of the alcohol should be in the range of 60% to 95%. Ideally, the alcohol concentration should be 70%. Alcohol-free hand sanitizers contain an active ingredient called quaternary ammonium compounds. The most common one is benzalkonium chloride.
The second thing one needs to check is for a compound that one may be allergic. If any such ingredient is identified, refrain from buying that hand sanitizer. Also, check whether the hand sanitizer is apt for your skin type, especially if you have sensitive skin. Try to choose hand sanitizers with more natural compounds.
TYPE OF HAND SANITIZER
Kid-friendly & pet-friendly
Hand sanitizer spray
Easy to carry & use
Hand Sanitizing wipes
Easy to harbor & use
Step 3: Check the label thoroughly
The label of the hand sanitizer also contains directions for its use. Also, one must mandatorily go through safety precautions. Also, check for allergy advice, potential hazards, a symbol for FDA-approved, expiry date, warnings against improper use, and additional information.
Step 4: Application technique of hand sanitizer
Applying hand sanitizer is the key to extracting the best from it. Before application, ensure that your hands are free from visible dirt & grease. Apply a few drops of hand sanitizer to your hands. Ensure that the hand sanitizer is enough for complete rubbing on your hands. Rub the sanitizer all-around your hands, especially on your fingertips & in between fingers. Rub until your hands feel dry as this is important for the effective elimination of pathogens. It takes around 15 to 20 seconds. Children must use hand sanitizer under adult supervision. Always use hand sanitizer in a well-ventilated area only.
Step 5: Storage of hand sanitizer
The storage of hand sanitizers, especially alcohol-based hand sanitizers is vital. It is because alcohol is a volatile & flammable compound. Storing hand sanitizers in a well-ventilated, dry, and cool place is necessary. Keep it away from the reach of kids & pets. Proper storage ensures the strength of active ingredients is maintained.
Step 6: When should you avoid using hand sanitizer?
It is important to avoid using hand sanitizer when a person is suspected to be in contact with pathogens like norovirus, Cryptosporidium, and Clostridioides difficile. The use of hand sanitizers must be avoided if hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
Step 7: Avoid using homemade hand sanitizers
The best use of hand sanitizers would result only when you follow the guidelines of government regulators. FDA has strictly mentioned avoiding the use of homemade hand sanitizers. Improper or negligent preparation methods can result in less effectiveness, or even worse, maybe completely ineffective. Worst case scenario may cause hand sanitizers to cause harm too.
How to make effective use of disinfectants & surface sanitizers?
A disinfectant is a product consisting of an active ingredient with properties that can eliminate pathogens (bacteria & viruses) on a particular surface (with few exceptions). Sanitizer is a product consisting of an active ingredient with properties that can eliminate bacteria on a particular surface. They also have certain additives that have additional effects. Similar to hand sanitizers, two factors ensure the best use of disinfectants and sanitizers. They are an appropriate selection and their proper application techniques. These two factors can be classified into seven steps that one can follow to ensure the best use of disinfectants & surface sanitizers.
Seven steps for appropriate selection & use of disinfectants & surface sanitizers
Step 1: Is it EPA approved?
Before buying a disinfectant or surface sanitizer, check the label. You will find an EPA registration number. Check whether the disinfectant or sanitizer is on the list of EPA-approved disinfectants. If the disinfectant or sanitizer is EPA approved, you can check out the next step before buying.
Note: Disinfectants undergo rigorous EPA testing. Compared to them, surface sanitizers have less rigorous EPA testing. EPA allows registration of the same product as both sanitizers & disinfectants subject to their passing of respective tests.
Step 2: Check the composition of disinfectants & surface sanitizers
Commercially available disinfectants & surface sanitizers may be made up of several harmful chemicals. These chemicals may be dangerous to the environment and even humans in the worst cases. To avoid these, as a responsible global citizen, one must choose disinfectants & surface sanitizers that don’t have harmful chemicals. The best choice would be selecting natural disinfectants and sanitizers.
Find out the list of the five best natural disinfectants.
Step 3: Check the label thoroughly
Similar to hand sanitizers, the label of the disinfectants & surface sanitizers also contains directions for their use. Also, one must mandatorily go through tips and safety precautions provided by the manufacturer. Also, check for allergy advice, potential hazards, expiry date, warnings against improper use, and additional information.
Step 4: Pre-clean the surface
Disinfectants & surface sanitizers lose their effectiveness if the surface is visibly dirty or greasy. One must clean the surface with the help of cleaning agents. This can be skipped if the disinfectants & surface sanitizers are equipped with cleaning agents. This can be confirmed from the label.
Step 5: Follow the contact time
Depending upon the active ingredient of the disinfectant or surface sanitizer, the contact time may vary. One can check the label of the product to find out the contact time. One must ensure that the surface remains wet throughout this period.
Are you confused about what disinfectant to choose? Find out more details about it in our blog on the best disinfectant for you!
Step 6: Wear appropriate PPE and wash your hands clean
PPE that should be donned includes a respirator (or disposable face mask), safety goggles, and disposable hand gloves. Discard the hand gloves and face masks after using them. Dedicate the safety goggles for disinfection or sanitization purposes only. Wash your hands with soap & water after the removal of the PPE.
Step 7: Storage of disinfectants & surface sanitizers
The storage of disinfectants & surface sanitizers is vital to avoid any hazards. They can be extremely dangerous to infants, pets, and kids. They must be stored in a well-ventilated, dry, and cool place away from the reach of kids & pets. If necessary, these disinfectants & surface sanitizers can also be diluted before storing them.
The best use of sanitizers & disinfectants is only possible when they are used and stored appropriately. To ensure safe and hygienic surroundings, one must maximize the effects of sanitizers & disinfectants. Hand sanitizers, surface sanitizers, and disinfectants are products used for maintaining personal and public hygiene. It marks their importance in the maintenance of hygienic surroundings. Their proper use also ensures the effective elimination of pathogens, thus safeguarding people's health. The bonus of making the best use of hand sanitizers, surface sanitizers, and disinfectants is on us. With the proper knowledge of the application of sanitizers & disinfectants, it can be achieved.