The quick answer to when you should use hand sanitizer is: whenever you think you should. Many basic hand sanitizers have chemicals that are harmful to your skin. But, if you use a premium hand sanitizer, one that uses minimal harsh ingredients and actually moisturizes your skin, you can sanitize you hands just about as often as you like.
Before we go into the particular times you should use hand sanitizer, it's important to note that, according to the World Health Organization, washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs and minimize the spread of viruses.
But, if you can't wash your hands with soap and water, using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is the best alternative.
6 Times You Should Use Hand Sanitizer
1. Before & After Eating
Sanitizing your hands before eating can prevent germs from getting into your mouth. After eating, any trace of food on your hands could attract germs and enter your system if you touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
2. After Using the Washroom
When you use the washroom, your hands may come in contact with urine and feces, which are sources of germs. Even if you just use a washroom to 'freshen up' your hands may come in contact with surfaces that have germs.
3. After Blowing Your Nose, Coughing or Sneezing
According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) in the U.S., "Covering coughs and sneezes and keeping hands clean can help prevent the spread of serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and COVID-19."
4. Before & After Food Preparation
Sanitizing your hands before you prepare food helps prevent spreading germs to the food. Doing so after preparing food gets rid of the food particles that can attract germs and bacteria.
5. Before & After Being Around Someone Who is Sick
If you know you will be near someone who is sick, sanitizing your hands will help prevent the spread of more germs to them when their immune system is weak. Sanitizing afterwards will help stop the spread of germs to yourself or others.
6. After Touching Things That Have Been Touched by Others
You don't know what was on the hands of those who have used something before you. If their hands had bacteria and viruses, they can live on surfaces like door handles for days. If you do not sanitize as soon as you can after touching things like doorknobs, shopping carts and elevator buttons, the risk is higher that you'll spread the germs to yourself or others.
If you enjoyed this post, check out our article "5 Myths About Hand Sanitizer".