Are You Sanitizing Properly?

We all know the importance of hand sanitizer during flu season, as it can be very helpful in killing germs that cause viruses like COVID-19. Hence why sanitizer sales have skyrocketed this year and everyone and their mother is slathering it on everytime they touch a shared surface or object in public spaces. However, many people may not realize that they may be making some major errors when applying the product, which can lead to less effective results.

Some common mistakes in sanitizer use are:

1. You’re Using The Wrong Kind Of Sanitizer
Not all sanitizers contain the same ingredients.  In fact, due to the current pandemic-provoked financial crisis, many business like breweries and distilleries started making their own sanitizer gels; flooding the market with a variety of cheap, smelly, and not quite the most efficient sanitizers.  The CDC states sanitizer fluid that contains at least 60% ethyl alcohol or 70% isopropyl alcohol is the most effective at eliminating germs. It is definitely a good idea to read the label of the product you’re buying to determine if its active ingredients kill bacteria, viruses, both, or neither.  Using products that are only bactericidal may give you a false sense of security, as they do not provide any protection from viral pathogens such as Covid-19.  Some products like baby wipes and disinfectant wipes may not even be antimicrobial at all. Avoid brands that contain methanol, as they can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested. Also double check to make sure your sanitizer is not on the list of brands that have been recalled by the Food and Drug Administration.

2. You’re Not Using Sanitizer Long Enough
You know how they say that you should wash your hands for a full 20 seconds to ensure you’re eliminating germs effectively? Well the same holds true for hand sanitizer.  Doctors advise that you should rub sanitizer into your hands for 20 to 30 seconds, and to make sure you rub it in until it is all gone.

3. You’re Using Too Little
You may not be successfully cleansing your hands if you are not using enough hand sanitizer. Some people think just using a a small droplet will do the trick, but in reality, you should really use about a nickel or quarter size of sanitizer to ensure the most effective sanitization.

4. You’re Not Getting Every Area Of Your Hands
Any part of your skin that you leave unsanitized can carry germ particles of viruses.  So even when you touch something with just one finger, you should still properly sanitize both of your hands entirely just to be safe.

5. You’re Not Storing It Correctly
Make sure to double check the drug facts label on your sanitizer and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper temperature that the product should be stored at.  Storing sanitizer in extreme temperatures can affect the product’s potency and make it less effective.  In fact, if stored above 105 degrees, the heat can actually destabilize the sanitizer and render it ineffective altogether.

6. You’re Not Sanitizing Before Eating
Many people might remember to sanitize their hands after going shopping or touching the gas pump, but what about before you get ready to eat?  Any germs left on your hands can easily get ingested when eating, especially with finger foods. And just think about everything you’ve touched throughout the day!  Do you really want to put your hands in your mouth or touch your food after all of the dirty surfaces you’ve touched all day? As a general rule of thumb, if you are going to put your hands near your mouth, it is advised that you play it safe rather than sorry and sanitize again.

7. You’re Not Being Careful Around Candles Or Flames
Alcohol-based sanitizers are flammable and should be used with extra care around open flames.  There have been reports of consumers suffering burns due to sanitizer use in combination with open flame exposure, like cigarette lighters.  To avoid this danger, you should allow some time for the alcohol-based sanitizer on your hands to absorb and evaporate before any open flame exposure.  It is advised to avoid open flames for at least 30 minutes after applying hand sanitizer.

8. You’re  Sanitizing With Dirty Hands
If you use sanitizer while your hands are dirty or greasy, the sanitizer may not come in sufficient contact with your skin and may not do its job properly.  If your hands are visibly dirty, it is recommended to wash them with soap and water first.  Sanitizer is a great alternative when you are in a situation where you can’t wash your hands or your hands are not visibly dirty; however, it is no replacement for good ‘ol soap and water, which is the best and most efficient way to clean dirty hands.  If you have the option, soap and water should be the preferred method of cleaning your hands.  The act of scrubbing with soap and water during hand washing physically removes germs away from the skin’s surface.  Additionally, the friction created when drying your hands with a paper towel also helps by physically removing pathogens from the surface, unlike hand sanitizers.

9. You’re Not Allowing The Product To Dry
All sanitizers and disinfectants require a certain amount of contact time in order for them to kill the pathogens they are intended for.  Attempting to accelerate the drying process of sanitizer with a towel will limit its effectiveness since you’re removing it before it’s had a chance to complete its job.  Premature drying may even render the sanitizer ineffective altogether, giving you the impression that you are protected when you’re really not.

10. You’re Overdoing It
Overusing hand sanitizer may not harm it’s effectiveness, but could increase dryness and leave you with chapped hands.  Sanitizers not only kill bad bacteria, but they also kill good bacteria, which can irritate the skin.  Specialists advise using a moisturizing cream on their hands immediately after using sanitizer.  If skin irritation develops, try changing products rather than decreasing the amount of product used or the time spent applying it.

11. You’re Making Your Own Sanitizer
The high demand for sanitizer gel during the pandemic has led to a lot of people trying to make their own sanitizers.  Experts advise against this, as it is easy to mistakenly create a mixture that is not strong enough to actually kill germs.  Furthermore, homemade sanitizer concoctions may contain alternative ingredients that do not meet FDA guidelines nor have not been properly tested or proven to effectively eliminate germs.

12. You’re Not Sanitizing Other Items You’re Frequently Touching
Many people are remembering to sanitizer and wash their hands throughout the day, but what about all of the other objects you’re frequently touching all day long?  It is important to remember to sanitize items like wallets, IDs, credit cards, keys, and phones so that you do not cause any cross-contamination that could leave you at risk for contracting germs.  It is recommended to sanitize any high-touch items that you carry with you each time you sanitize your hands.

13. You’re Not Checking The Expiration Date
The active ingredients in sanitizers may degrade over time, so double checking the expiration date is important.  If you have to resort to expired product because newer sanitizers are not available, just know that it is likely to be not as effective as when it was manufactured. It may be better than nothing, but you should replace the product with a fresh hand sanitizer as soon as you can.

At, we take extra care in making sure that our sanitizers are tested regularly and exceed FDA requirements.  Not only are our sanitizers customizable with your company logo or message, but none of our sanitizers are made with any harmful ingredients like methanol, nor do they have any funky smells or textures.  Plus, we have a number of different sanitizer options made right here in the US so you can feel confident in supporting local and getting your product in a timely fashion.  We’ve got small, travel-sized sanitizers with carabiner clips that are great for on the go, as well as sanitizer gallons that are great for high-traffic public spaces and refilling smaller bottles.  And we’ve got inventory in stock and ready to ship!  So what are you waiting for?  Help keep your family, friends, customers, colleagues, and yourself protected from unwanted germs and grab some custom hand sanitizers today!

*Experts are still discovering new information about Covid-19 every day. Please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for the most updated recommendations for preventing the Covd-19 virus.