Supermarkets and pharmacies with empty aisles of hand sanitizers have become a common sight. These days, it is like a miracle, if you can find them that is! As the Coronavirus situation carries on, the demand for hand sanitizers is high but supplies have not been able to cope. But there is hope. Even though hand sanitizers might be out of stock, there are things you can do that can help. To give you some ideas, check out the five hand sanitizer alternatives below.
Hand Sanitizer Alternatives
Hand sanitizers are certainly useful ways to limit your exposure to viruses and germs, but they aren’t the only ways to sanitize your hands. There are other ways, and here are a few ideas for ways you can keep your hands clean without using hand sanitizers:
Hand sanitizer alternative # 1 – Soaps
Soap and water aren’t just good for normal washing during showers – they are also a great way to clean your hands.
Nearly all soaps are designed to be disinfectants. So if you are looking for a hand sanitizer alternative, this is a really easy one. Also, hand washing is especially important now, so washing your hands is something you should do even if you use hand sanitizers. Check out this article for more on that: Hand-Washing Really Is As Important As Doctors Say – Here’s Why
Soaps are not as convenient as hand sanitizers, true, but they are effective. In fact, soaps can be more effective against Coronavirus than hand sanitizers (according to the CDC). So why are soaps so effective against Coronavirus you ask? It’s because the virus has a skin that’s basically made of fat – and the soap dissolves that layer, which then leaves the virus ineffective.
You can learn more about soaps and why they are so effective against Coronavirus here.
Hand sanitizer alternative # 2 – Rubbing alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol as they are commonly known, can be a great disinfectant (source). There is a reason why hospitals and health professionals have been using it for eons to disinfect.
Most pharmacies stock them. It is important though to check the content of the bottle you get to make sure that it has at least 60% alcohol content as otherwise it might not be very effective.
Hand sanitizer alternative # 3 – Antiseptic liquids
Antiseptic liquids like Dettol (and other similar products) can be great alternatives to hand sanitizers (source). You can dilute them in water to reduce their strength and make them more skin friendly.
Although most of them are already pretty safe for skin, do check before using.
Hand sanitizer alternative # 4 – Gloves
Here is another alternative to hand sanitizers – wear gloves. Wearing gloves might seem like an odd thing to do in summer, but they limit your chances of coming into contact with pathogens. When you are touching things with gloves, your skin does not come into contact with pathogens, so you don’t really need to use hand sanitizers. After all, the whole point of hand sanitizers is to kill germs your hands come into contact with, so when you are not touching anything directly, logic would dictate that you don’t really need to use/sanitize them.
Plastic or rubber gloves are better than woolen or fabric gloves, as wool or fabric gloves have pores.
Doctors and health professionals have been using them (gloves) forever to reduce their exposure to pathogens and germs, so this is clearly a good way to reduce your exposure.
That said, don’t wear it all the time, and DO NOT touch your face or other exposed body part with the gloves – that defeats the whole point. You can’t reduce your skin’s contact with pathogens if you are going to use your gloved hands to touch your skin. So using gloves can reduce your exposure, but not if you are not being smart about it and use it to touch your face or skin. Be smart about the choices you make.
Hand sanitizer alternative # 5 – Plastic bags
What do you do if you have to go down to the supermarket for some essentials, and don’t have hand sanitizers or even gloves to hand? Maybe you find yourself in a shop and now need an option to reduce your risk of exposure… Here is an idea – try using a plastic shopping bag as a glove, or at least, to touch things. This is what I did recently when I went to the supermarket and had forgotten my gloves. So in a pinch, these can be great, especially as most supermarkets have them.
Ziplock bags will also do the trick.
If you are in a fix, plastic bags are better than nothing – they reduce your exposure to surfaces and viruses. Hand sanitizers are there to clean your hands after you’ve touched things. Plastic bags will limit that contact, which then means that you don’t really need to sanitize your hands. That said, you still should. Especially during this time of heightened risk, you should always wash your hands after getting back home.
What about using Vinegar as a disinfectant?
Here’s a bonus tip – don’t rely on vinegar as a hand sanitizer alternative. Vinegar has long been used as a disinfectant, but during our research, we found that even though it still has lots of uses, vinegar isn’t very potent as a disinfectant for viruses.
If you were thinking about using vinegar to deal with viruses, using something stronger like bleach, or proper disinfectants, is better. Better safe than sorry and all that.
Manufacturers are working towards increasing stock – so it is a matter of time till hand sanitizers (and other products that are running low or have gone out of stock) are back in stock again.
That said, the hand sanitizer alternatives above will see you through this Coronavirus situation, so there is no reason to worry. Also, when using hand sanitizers, there are certain things you should keep in mind, like when it is not very useful to use. Check out this hand sanitizer factsheet from the CDC for more information.
Whichever option you opt for, check to make sure that you don’t have any sensitivity to it. Different people are sensitive to different things after all. If you are unsure, check with your doctor.
Help us help others
We really hope that you found this article on hand sanitizer alternatives useful. If you did, please share it with others via social media and email, as that way we can reach others who can also benefit from this. Help us help others 🙂
Let us know in the comments how you are getting on with this Coronavirus situation, and if you have any tips and suggestions to share, especially if you have any tips regarding hand sanitizer alternatives.
Wherever in the world you are, we hope you are well. Stay safe!
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