How to Use Hand Sanitizer Safely – Tips For Safe Use [2024]

A healthcare professional using the proper hand sanitizer application technique.

Updated on November 21, 2023

Hand sanitizer is everywhere, yet how effective it is depends on the formula you’re using and your technique. 

Who knew there could be a wrong way to apply hand sanitizer? Well, apart from the CDC and the FDA of course. 

We’ve curated the top 12 tips from hygiene experts for correctly using hand sanitizer whether you’re in the workplace, in a busy shopping centre, or on the move!

Let’s get sanitizing! 

A list of 12 tips for using hand sanitizer.  A list of 12 tips for using hand sanitizer. 

1. Be wise – sanitize! 

Make hand sanitizer part of your hand hygiene routine. 

Hand sanitizers contain a minimum of 60% alcohol in order to kill harmful bacteria on hands. 

The best hand sanitizers brands like Purell can kill up to 99.9% of germs on your hands. 

2. Know when to sanitize

There are times and places that you should prioritize using hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available. 

Some examples include: 

  • Before entering a public space with vulnerable people (hospital unit, daycare, long-term care facility)
  • Before and after using public transit
  • Entering and existing high-traffic areas like a mall, busy restaurants, or gym 
  • Before administering first aid
  • Before and after you eat
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3. Less than a palmful is enough

Take only one measure of hand sanitizer at a time. 

Having more than one measure in your palm won’t make you any cleaner than a single measure. Plus, too much can dry your hands out, causing cracks, and leaving you more susceptible to bacteria. 

4. Follow proper hand sanitization technique 

Once you have sanitizer in your hands, follow the same steps you would use to properly wash your hands. 

  • Palms together
  • Tops of hands and fingers
  • Between fingers
  • Scrub your fingernails against each palm to get the grime beneath
  • Don’t forget your thumbs! 

5. Be careful of eyes and open wounds

Hand sanitizer is a great defence against contagious illnesses – but if you apply it to hands that are chapped or scratched, it could sting for a while until the product is dry. 

Be careful not to rub your eyes before the product is entirely dry on your hands – the sensation of alcohol in the eyes is far from pleasant… not that we’ve tried it 😅.

6. Once you’re dry, you’re sanitized

Don’t rinse the sanitizer off your hands before it dries on your hands. While the hand sanitizer remains wet on your hands, it hasn’t finished doing its job. Rub the sanitizer into your hands and wrists until the product has dried – then you’re sanitized!

7. Use commercial dispensers

To reduce plastic waste and eliminate the need to physically touch small hand sanitizer bottles, a touch-free, refillable commercial dispenser is the best way to reduce the spread of germs.

8. Look for sanitizers that are effective at killing germs but gentle on your hands

Trusted hand sanitizer brands like Purell, are scientifically proven to combine powerful germ kill and no rinse protection while being gentle on the skin. 

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Any hand sanitizer formula that contains too little or not enough alcohol – 60% – 95% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol – will either be ineffective or harmful. 

9. Supervise children while they use hand sanitizer

Some personal hand sanitizers that can be purchased from stores are dyed bright colours, some have sparkles in them, and some have sweet food scents – all of which can be appealing to children. 

Don’t forget that hand sanitizer is deadly to germs – and toxic if consumed by humans. 

Make sure your little ones don’t lick sanitizer from their hands while it’s wet.

10. Use hand sanitizer more frequently during cold and flu season

Soap and water aren’t always available when you’re on the go. Use hand sanitizer while out and about to reduce the spread of illnesses like cold, flu, RSV and COVID-19, and keep a personal supply of sanitizer in your bag for use between stops. 

11. Ensure your workplace has commercial dispensers in high-traffic areas

Public health requires that we all work together to stop the spread of viruses and germs, which means placing hand hygiene tools like commercial dispensers in high-traffic areas. 

If your workplace doesn’t have commercial dispensers or keeps running out of sanitizer in their dispensers, contact us here at Citron Hygiene, and we can help provide a refill service to ensure you never run out of hand sanitizer! 

12. Know that soap and water are your best defence

Your best line of defence against catching contagious illnesses is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water. 

Whenever you have the chance, even if you’ve recently sanitized your hands, you should stop at a soap and water station and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

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Stock up and never run out of sanitizer again

Give good hand hygiene a helping hand by partnering with a trusted hygiene expert to create healthy public spaces. 

Here at Citron Hygiene, we’re here to help brands and facilities managers with companies of all shapes and sizes meet a new standard for away-from-home washroom experiences. 

Together with Purell, we meet and exceed heightened hand hygiene expectations by providing an all-inclusive hand hygiene service from installation to routine, reliable servicing. 

Never run out of hand sanitizer again:

  • A specially trained technician will refill your hand sanitizer dispensers at a frequency that best suits your business. 
  • A reliable supply chain that ensures you never have to worry about running out of hand sanitizer – even during a global pandemic!
  • Worry-free restock of supplies so you don’t have to buy bulk quantities of hand sanitizer which may expire before you use it up. 
  • Educational signage is available with your hand sanitizer dispensers to instruct visitors on how to properly disinfect their hands with sanitizer.
  • Our service agreements lock in prices – protecting you from price fluctuations and gouging for the duration of the contract! 

Reach out to our team today for a free consultation – and a free trial too!

Find out how we can elevate your washroom experience today.