February 27, 2024

By Monica Solano

Asst. Health Editor


Hand sanitizer used as a substitute for soap and water, actually gets rid of both the good and bad bacteria on one’s hands.

“Hand sanitizer not only kills the harmful bacteria, but it also kills the good because of the fact that it is alcohol-based and its goal is to basically destroy any foreign cells that are on your hands,” said Scott Sandy, junior biology major.

Sandy suggests soap and water when washing hands. Hand soap not only washes away infectious bacteria it also disposes of them when the hands are dried with a paper towel.

Hand sanitizer may not get rid of organisms, but it will rub and spread them around, Sandy said.

Dr. Daniel Szeto, associate professor of biology and biochemistry, said contact with organic molecules causes hand sanitizer to loses its effect, making it no longer effective.

“Say you wash your hands 125 times a day,” Szeto said. “If you do that with hand sanitizer and take a urine test, there is alcohol in your system.”

Szeto explained hand sanitizer contains 65 to 95 percent alcohol and must be used with caution when applied consistently. The alcohol applied to hands strips away the layer of oil on the skin and gets into the circulatory system, which can be intoxicating.

While hand sanitizer has its effectiveness it can be harmul to one’s health if used too often. It should not be used as a replacement for soap and water.

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