When to use hand sanitizer or wash your hands

by Chase Ogoshi | May 21, 2020

As a kid, my mom always had to apply hand sanitizer on me because I was very curious and would touch everything in my path. She would always remind me about how germs are everywhere and that I could get sick if I didn’t wash or sanitize my hands. I never realized how important this was until the COVID-19 pandemic.

When it comes to preventing the spread of infectious diseases, it is important to remember to always wash your hands. Germs can spread easily, especially during a pandemic. But if soap and water aren’t available, your best bet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), would be to use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Directions on the hand sanitizer’s packaging should explain how to properly use it, along with any warnings.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is not recommended to create your own hand sanitizer because there are several risks involved. If the hand sanitizer is not made properly, it will not only be ineffective, but can also cause skin burns. This came as a surprise to me because I had planned on making my own hand sanitizer for my family.

When using hand sanitizer, it is critical to ensure that your hands are dry before touching any other surfaces. Because hand sanitizer is flammable, be sure to keep it away from any heat and flames, and refrain from using it while smoking. Also, make sure to use the sanitizer only on your hands. If you are inside and have access to soap and water, just wash your hands!

Remember, there are important differences between washing your hands and using a sanitizer. According to the CDC, hand washing with soap and water “works to remove all types of germs, pesticides, and metals” from your hands. Using sanitizer kills “certain germs on the skin but may not remove harmful chemicals, pesticides or heavy metals” such as lead.

Knowing when to sanitize your hands and which method to use is critical in preventing the spread of infection to keep you and your loved ones safe. Watch this video on how to properly wash your hands.

I hope all of you continue to stay safe and vigilant as we power though these challenging times together.

And don’t forget to wash your hands after reading this!

Chase Ogoshi is a digital communications and social media specialist at Hawaiian Electric Company.

Our vision is to deliver cost-effective, clean, reliable, and innovative energy services to our customers.