Hand sanitizers are good items to have in your “toolbox” of necessities. While overuse is probably not recommended, because we feel it can affect the quality of your skin – there may be times where it is sensible to use.

What to Look For in Hand Sanitizer | The Active Ingredient

by Ken Jorgustin

Hand sanitizer will have an active ingredient. It’s the ingredient that gets the job done. The disinfecting.

Use it when hand washing is not available or practical. It will help to kill bacteria and inactivate virus that may have gotten on your hands.

Hand Sanitizer Active Ingredient

The active ingredient is typically alcohol. The most common is ethyl alcohol. Also, isopropyl alcohol.

Why alcohol? Because it is antimicrobial. It kills bacteria. Alcohol kills bacteria usually by dissolving its cellular membrane.

“The way alcohol-based hand sanitizers work is basically by busting the cell wall of germs” and thus killing them, said one doctor. Compared with soap and water, sanitizers are a convenient alternative when you’re on the go.

Does Hand Sanitizer with Alcohol Kill Virus?

Alcohol is effective against influenza virus.

Ethyl alcohol (70%) is a powerful broad-spectrum germicide and is considered generally superior to isopropyl alcohol.

~ National Center for Biotechnology Information

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers kill most types of bacteria, viruses and fungi in a few seconds.

While rubbing your hands with sanitizer for 15 seconds is ideal, poor hand-sanitizer use still beats poor hand washing.

About the author


NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.