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    How Does Hand Sanitizer Work?

    • 2 min read

    Keeping your hands clean is one of the most effective steps to help lower the spread and risk of infection from the Covid-19 virus. The quickest way of achieving clean hands when you don’t have access to soap and water is through the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. These hand sanitizers typically work by sitting on the surface of the skin and killing the germs and viruses that it comes in contact with. Sanitizers containing about 62% alcohol or greater by volume are considered to be very effective in killing many disease-causing viruses, including the coronavirus compared to other sanitizers containing lesser alcohol content. When the alcohol comes in contact with the skin through rubbing, it evaporates, and it is by this process the germs and viruses are killed.

    Typically, the process involves denaturing the micro-organisms i.e. killing them by de-activating their proteins. Many categories of these micro-organisms including the coronavirus typically have an outer covering called an envelope. By the application of the hand sanitizer, the envelope starts dissolving due to the reaction with the alcohol and eventually attacks the virus and destroys it by killing its metabolism. The alcohol in the sanitizer disrupts the various chemical bonding species that are present in the proteins and nucleic acids of these micro-organisms which kills them, as they will be unable to survive without the active bonding.

    For the sanitizer to be highly effective and efficient make sure that you use enough to fully coat both of your hands and rub thoroughly for at least 15 seconds or until it dries off completely. This action is very important in making sure that the alcohol gets to react with the micro-organisms that your hands carry if they came in contact with a contaminated surface. Make sure to apply the sanitizer over your entire hands, including between the fingers for the most effective results.  

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