Other Lessons in This Course
- How Effective are Hand Sanitizers?
- How a Pen Works!
- How Do Mood Pencils Work?
- How Umbrellas are Made
- How are Stress Balls Made?
- How are Sticky Notes Made?
- What are Magnets Made Of?
- How Sports Bottles are Made
- How Golf Balls are Made?
- Anatomy of Pens and Pencils
- How Injection Molding Works
- How Effective are Hand Sanitizers?
- How Ceramic Mugs are Made
- How are Pens Made?
- How Pencils are Made
- How Tote Bags are Made
After working a long shift at the hospital, high-fiving strangers at a basketball game, or braving the port-o-potty at a rock concert, you’re going to want as many germs off your hands as possible. You need to know whether or not you can rely on your sanitizer.
How well do hand sanitizers work? Are they only good for so long? Let’s look at the science behind those gels, sprays, and wipes!
Does Hand Sanitizer Actually Work?
While you should still use soap and water, hand sanitizer is actually extremely effective at removing germs. It can remove an average of 97.72% of bacteria when used correctly, with the alcohol-based versions working particularly well.
This data comes from the microbiologists at Vivo Clinical Testing, a specialized lab in Texas that tests the antiseptics used by hospitals and medical facilities throughout the country. In 2017, Vivo tested five sanitizers from Quality Logo Products® to see how well they killed a bacteria called S. aureus. This bacterium, if left untreated, can lead to serious bloodstream or respiratory infections down the road.
Here are the results of Vivo Clinical Testing’s 2017 study:
Cozy Clip Hand Sanitizer
Sani Mist Antibacterial Pocket Sprayer
Antibacterial Wet Wipes
Alcohol-free Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer Gel
*Data courtesy of Vivo Clinical Testing, 2017.
Full study conducted for use by Quality Logo Products®.
The sanitizers that were tested eliminated most of the S. aureus bacteria, with the alcohol-based versions being particularly effective. It took only about 16 seconds for all the sanitizers to work their magic, with an average reduction in germs of 97.72%.
Overall, Vivo’s study shows that hand sanitizer can remove a large majority of the bacteria on your hands. This is a great alternative if soap and water aren’t available
Handwashing Vs. Hand Sanitizer
There’s a healthy amount of debate on the effectiveness of hand sanitizer compared to washing your hands. It all boils down to the occasion and how much time you have for the process. Either way, you can rely on both methods to effectively eliminate germs.
This chart gives you a full breakdown on handwashing vs. hand sanitizer.
Eliminates all germs, dirt, debris, and grime.
Requires soap and warm to be most effective.
Properly washing takes up to 60 seconds.
Completely kills germs.
Always a good option.
Eliminates most of the germs, but not the dirt, debris, or grime.
Requires at least 60% alcohol content to be most effective.
Properly sanitizing takes up to 30 seconds.
Reduces the number of germs present.
Good substitute when soap & water aren’t available.
The most important thing is that you’re keeping your hands clean, whether you go all out and sing the ABC’s while washing in a sink or just use a quick squirt of sanitizer. This is especially true before eating, after using the restroom, and while traveling on public transportation.
Does Hand Sanitizer Lose Effectiveness?
Your hand sanitizer may lose effectiveness after it’s expired, or roughly 2 to 3 years after it was purchased. Be sure to dispose of it properly at that time or it may not fight those pesky germs.
The growth of new bacteria may also affect how well your sanitizer works. For example, in 2018 CNN released a report about a rampant germ in hospitals that couldn’t be killed with sanitizer. They found that while sanitizer is usually a good option, it wouldn’t remove this particular bacterium.
No doubt about it, hand sanitizer is extremely useful. It even makes for a great giveaway at trade shows or fundraisers. At the end of the day, though, nothing compares to warm water and soap. Get to the sink whenever you can to give your hands a good scrub!
The Bottom Line
You can remove a lot of bacteria with an alcohol-based sanitizer, but don’t use that as an excuse to avoid washing your hands forever. Sanitizer is only so powerful, and with so many germs out there, you want to be sure to have the best defenses possible.
Alyssa is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. As a promo expert, she's uncovered the world’s first custom tote bag, interviewed the guy behind rock band ACDC’s logo, and had a piece published by the Advertising Specialty Institute, a leader in the promotional products industry.
Bush, L. (2019). Staphylococcus Aureus Infections. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Show Me the Science – Situations Where Hand Sanitizers Can Be Effective & How to Use It in Community Settings. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from
Kee, C. (2017, October 9). Let’s Settle the Hand Sanitizer Vs. Hand Washing Debate, Once and For All. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from
Wolfram, T. (2017, February 23). Which is Best: Hand Sanitizer or Soap and Water? Retrieved April 1, 2019, from
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