It’s Wise To Sanitize: The Truth About Sanitizer

Did you know that hands spread germs more quickly than a sneeze? More than 80% of all illnesses are transmitted by hands. What can you do? Sanitize! Sanitizer can help reduce the spread of germs in an office by 74%. However, it can be tough to get employees to regularly use sanitizer. Some may believe that using sanitizer will just result in the bacteria building a resistance to it. Research has shown that’s not entirely false. While germs are not building a resistance to sanitizer, some are starting to build up a tolerance.

A recent study by Science Translational Medicine found that strains of E. faecium in hospitals were beginning to build an improved ability to tolerate alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Tolerance and resistance are different, however. The alcohol-based sanitizer was still killing the bacteria, it was just able to survive for a longer period of time. This data shows that it’s more important than ever to use sanitizer properly. So how can you increase usage of sanitizer within your workplace? It starts with education. A recent Q&A conducted with Riley Doherty, Area Vice President at Staples Business Advantage, aims to answer some of the most popular questions people have about hand sanitizer:

“Q: How effective is hand sanitizer at killing all germs?
Doherty: Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs. Always use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Read all instructions to make sure you are using the proper amount and don’t use hand sanitizer as a substitute for handwashing.

Q: Don’t germs just build up a resistance to hand sanitizer over time?
Doherty: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no chance for the germs to adapt or develop resistance to an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, even with frequent use. Ethyl alcohol, found in well-known hand sanitizers, quickly terminates the cell membranes and dissolves cell proteins. Additionally, according to the CDC, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers does not cause antibiotic resistance.

Q: Won’t the alcohol in the sanitizer dry out hands?
Doherty: There is a misconception that the frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers will dry out your skin on your hands. The truth is that formulation matters. You will want to pick a hand sanitizer that is formulated to not strip natural lipids away from your hands.

Q: Is there a particular type of hand sanitizer my workplace should be using?
Doherty: Use sanitizers that contain alcohol, rather than an anti-bacterial that could contain triclosan. The FDA is still studying this and fear it could breed antibiotic resistance, ruining the natural flora on the skin. The FDA is conducting ongoing studies” (“Decipher Between,” CleanLink).

Employees who know the facts about sanitizer are more likely to take advantage of it. It can be helpful to place literature about sanitizer such as flyers and print-outs at or near dispenser stations. Placement of sanitizing dispensers can also be key in increasing usage. Recommended places are restrooms, entrances and exits, meeting rooms, employee desk areas, transaction counters, cafeterias, food courts and break rooms (Faivre, “Best Places for Hand Sanitizer”).

To find out how Weiss Bros. can help you get your facility set up with sanitizer, contact us to have a consultant help you put a successful sanitizing program in place to keep your facility healthy. You can also check out our Sanitizers and Dispensers on our online catalog.

“Decipher Between Hand Sanitizer Fact And Fiction.” CleanLink, 09 Sept 2018, https://www.cleanlink.com/news/article/Decipher-Between-Hand-Sanitizer-Fact-And-Fiction–22862.

Faivre, Isabelle. “Best Places for Hand Sanitizer.” CMM, 02 Feb 2018, https://www.cmmonline.com/articles/best-places-for-hand-sanitizer.