Hand Sanitizers and Cleanliness

Hand Sanitizers and Cleanliness

I love sanitizers. There, I said it. I adore sanitizers! If you really want something from me and want to find ways to get me all flattered, find some kind of exclusive sanitizer boutique (do they exist? 😛 ) and take me there, and consider your job three-quarters of the way done!

The Sanitizer Shebang

The thing about sanitizers is that you never really know if they work. You cannot really see the germs clutching their hair in agony and falling off nor can you see that 0.01% (or whatever percentage they claim) of germs that are left behind. Thus, sanitizer marketers need to rely upon other factors to market their sanitizer and make it appealing to the consumers.


First, it needs to be attractive. Picture this, you stroll into a store on your mission to find a new sanitizer and you see two kinds, the first in a plain plastic bottle with a red cap and the second kind with an innovatively-designed cap with fancy lettering on the front. It’s a no-brainer which one you’ll buy, assuming other factors like the price and brand awareness are constant. For instance, my current sanitizer, Zydus Purify wins over many others in this regard. It comes in a clear bottle with a sky blue cap and the sanitizer itself is gorgeous! It is a very pretty blue color and has tiny blue beads floating in it. These beads merely dissolve into nothing when it is used, yet they make the whole thing look so appealing! See, what I mean?!


Second, it needs to have fancy stuff written on the container. Most sanitizer manufacturers have similar claims about their product. It’s not enough to merely say “this liquid kills germs like there’s no tomorrow.  Buy now!” You need stuff like “With extracts of the exotic flower of Alapoosa, and root of the Yimpin tree, guaranteed to nourish your hands and continue moisturizing them for upto 3 hours and make them smell like pepperoni pizza, this sanitizer’s all you need!”

Third, it needs to smell nice. Earlier, I used to use the Godrej Citrus Sanitizer (green one) and its smell used to bother certain people (supposedly reminded them of hospitals), but now that I have Zydus, people have stopped complaining. Since you’ll be using your sanitizer around other people, it must have a nice people-pleasing-smell and yes, that does mean you’ve now got to chuck away the new sanitizer you bought last week which reminds you of a week-old pizza under the bed that you like so much. Oh, and by the way, Zydus users, does its smell (blue one) remind you of Silk-n-Shine hair potion (the orange carton and the clear plastic bottle)? :toothygrin: and yes, I said “pizza” twice in a row now, I must be hungry **rubs tummy in anticipation**

Fourth, it must come in convenient sizes. A 50 mL bottle’s the best, or even a sleek 100 mL bottle will do. You need the bottle to easily slide into your bag, in a corner, or even fit into one of the smaller pockets. The bottle must be sturdy, and should not be prone to leaking.

Fifth, it should not dry your hands out terribly. Of course, you cannot expect your hands to burst into goodness of moisturizing land after using sanitizer (alcohol, people!), but if your sanitizer is making your hands look like they just got out of Oily Hands Camp with flying colors, it’s time to look into other brands or at least variants.

Now that I’m done with my discourse on the various things a bottle of sanitizer should be in order for it to get picked up from that supermarket shelf and thrust into your cart, I’m going to cover other points.

Importance of Hand Cleanliness:

We all know that we need to keep our hands clean and all that, but it’s not really easy to do so when we’re out and about. That’s where instant sanitizers come into the picture. According to the Mayo Clinic Staff, “Frequent hand-washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness. Hand-washing requires only soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer — a cleanser that doesn’t require water.”

As you touch surfaces, people, and things during the day, germs accumulate on your hands. Those germs in turn get transferred to your face, eyes, nose, mouth, etc., when you touch them. It’s not really possible to have absolutely no-microbes on your hands, but cleaning hands frequently is the best way to inhibit their transfer.

Hand Sanitizer

Why Sanitizer is not a quick fix for everything:

A typical hand sanitizer is alcohol based. Our hands have a protective film of oil on them. That oil prevents resident bacteria from coming to the surface. A sanitizer strips the skin of the oil film, leaving room for the resident bacteria to surface. Thus, sanitizer actually leads to an increase in overall bacteria. Of course, those bacteria needn’t be the type to make us sick, but you can never really tell.

Unfortunately, sanitizers are marketed as a way to “wash your hands” without the hassle of soap and water. Many people think that using sanitizer is a perfect substitute for washing with soap and water. Not true!  Sanitizer can be used in addition to hand washing, but not in place of. If soap and water is available, we must always go for that, and not merely squirt on some sanitizer and be all happy.


You know that claim of 99.99% germs being blasted off your hands? True, and not true. You see, the sanitizers are tested on inanimate surfaces such as tabletops and plastic boards, and not necessarily on human hands and how many tabletops do you think have special oil films on them to keep bacteria under there? :haanji:

Also, sanitizers will kill most bacteria and some viruses, but they don’t kill the microbes that lack membranes (that includes your typical cold virus etc).  Sanitizer doesn’t remove dirt from hands, merely microbes, only soap and water does that.

You know how sanitizer is drying and all that? Well, the high alcohol content can actually dry skin out and cause fine cracks to appear on your hands. You can’t see them, but if your hands are super-dry, they’re there. This results in the skin on your hands being more prone to infection than before you even used the sanitizer, so now who wins?

Quite matter of fact-ly, soap and water wins hands down.


If there is soap and water available, use it. For instance, at home, instead of sanitizing your hands before doing your makeup, just lather up, get all sudsy, wash the suds disappear down the drain, hum a few bars of your favourite song, dry your hands on a CLEAN towel, and preen away. :preen:

Even though there is undeniable evidence that hand sanitizer is a huge waste of time, energy, money, resources, you name it, there is nothing to beat the feeling you get from having supposedly ‘clean’ hands and it’s all in the mind, as they say and quite honestly, that’s true. :haanji:

Even if we are dying of some incurable disease but are on meds that make us think we’re getting better, we feel good about it and somehow end up living (sometimes) longer than what was expected. I’m not saying that using sanitizer is comparable to that, but just look at the power of our thoughts.

Even though I know that sanitizer zaps a few microbes and leaves the rest right there, possibly brings more bacteria to the surface, swooshes away my protective oil layer, causes fine cracks in my hand that are as good as nailing up a sign saying “all bacteria welcome. No presents please,” there is nothing more satisfying than having just squirted your hands with that cool liquid, watch the beads or whatever’s in there dissolve gleefully, and rub all over, all the while watching it disappear, with this smug satisfaction, that maybe, just maybe, you’ve killed some germs that would have caused you to writhe and die in agony after a week – had you not used your trusty old sanitizer.

Take care you guys and get those germs!



Image Sources: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6.

Disney Minnie Mouse Hand Sanitizer
Dettol Hand Sanitizer
Lifebuoy Hand Sanitizer
Zydus Purify Herbal Hand Sanitizer Flora
Human Heart Nature Citrus Burst Spray Sanitizer
Holy Seat Spray Toilet Seat Sanitizer
Bath and Body Works Vampire Blood PocketBac Hand Sanitizer
Himalaya Herbals Pure Hands
Avon Peach Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel
Bath and Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar Pocketbac Sanitizing Hand Gel
Bath and Body Works Citrus Crush Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel
Carex Aloe Vera Antibacterial Hand Gel


33 thoughts on “Hand Sanitizers and Cleanliness

    1. Haha Rati :)) Me too. I also use hand cream obsessively, though, so I’m hoping it’s somewhat okay.
      Just go for soap and water whenever available; when you’re out, use sanitizer royally! It’s what I do :haanji:

        1. I’m pretty bad too. I wash my hands AND use sanitizer. Yes, I’m also crazy :dumb:
          It’s okay as long as you don’t do it too much :)) I doubt you do your makeup more then, say thrice a day, right? 🙂 Then it’s fine.
          Just don’t go overboard with it.

  1. Nice Article Samantha…really an eye-opener…
    My Mom says that using a hand-sanitiser is like dry cleaning ur clothes.. :toothygrin:

  2. very informative samantha.. i am a hand sanitizer addict… all my colleagues ask me to take a bath in it… nw i feel sad aftre reading this article, i feel so cheated… :((

  3. i have thay godrej one.. i try to use it everytime.. but my Sir once shouted on me… saying i stinked alcohol !!! 😐 😐 😐 😐 😐 😐 i will get the zydus one i think :haanji:

  4. Nice post Sam…..after my li’l one was born, I used to buy jumbo sized bottles of sanitizers, like the ones they have in hospitals and always asked people around to sanitize their hands before touching the baby…I believe that since they are alcohol based, they are bound to kill germs effectively, but yea, like you said, washing with water and soap is BEST!!

    1. Thank you, Agnibanya 🙂
      I understand what you mean… where a baby’s concerned, sanitizer’s better than nothing at all!

  5. Good one Samantha :thanks: . Recently bought a huge dispenser type sanitizer for my dresser. :shying: tought will be great to use before my makeup.. but soap and water seems to be the best bet. :waytogo:

  6. Nice post sam!! this post was needed! :waytogo:
    I bought dettol sanitizer an year ago, and still half the quantity is left 😐 I somehow never trusted them 😀
    Thanks again for the article! :waytogo:

  7. Very informative post Sam :thanks: I actually thought hand sanitizer means “wash your hands” without the hassle of soap and water. :chewnails but now I know the clear picture :yes:

  8. I always have a hand sanitiser in my bag. More often than not…public restrooms are out of soap….so I rinse with water…dry…and then use the sanitiser. :specs: :specs:
    But my Ma complains whenever I use it becoz of the smell. :yuck: :shame: I think I’ll get the zydus one now. 😀
    Thanks for the article,Samantha!

  9. Samantha….a very informative post…hand sanitizers are a must-have for me too…and I always carry the dettol one around in my handbag…..kind of feel safe with it in my bag :waytogo: :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo:

    1. Thank you, Jomol 🙂 I always have my Zydus in my bag too :)) It’s almost over now… I think I’ll get the Disney one next :toothygrin:

  10. Very informative post Sam.. i was thinking of buying a jumbo bottle of santizer.. but now i m confussed.. whether to get or not.. :stars: :stars: :stars:

    1. Thank you, Poo :))
      If you can carry the jumbo bottle about, it’s fine. If you want the jumbo bottle to use at home, I suggest you skip it and just wash your hands regularly for the reasons mentioned in the post above. 🙂
      If it’s for carrying around and using when you’re out of the house, get a smaller bottle that’s easier and more convenient. The pricing is more or less the same. :haanji:

  11. very true n informative post samantha… i to :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: hand sanitizers… they’re a boon for hygiene freaks like me n most f the beauties over here… 😀 😀 😀 😀

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