Friday, May 7, 2010

Choosing the right hand sanitizer

Hand Sanitizer - With so many on the market which one is right for me? When should I use them? and where should I keep the dispensers?

We can begin by breaking hand sanitizer down to 2 groups Alcohol and Alcohol Free. To begin both types have several problem. Alcohol can be corrosive, look at walls below sanitizer dispensers, or floors and carpets in the vicinity of an alcohol based sanitizer bottle. Usually they are discolored and damaged. Alcohol Free sanitizer is not recognized as being effective and while some companies have published research about their product other companies are just trying to sell a product.

Here's is what to look for. Alcohol based hand sanitizer should be a minimum of 62%. Some hospitals have done research and found internally that a minimum of 70% alcohol should be used, but it's important to note that to be 99.9% effective Health Canada and WHO require a 62% alcohol. When possible spending the extra for a foam sanitizer is going to be worth the investment as this will be less likely to damage floors and carpets. When it comes to Non-Alcohol sanitizer a little research will go a long way. Some alcohol free sanitizers will stay active on your hands for a while after using them continuing to kill bacteria. They will also have a micro efficacy data sheet to prove how effective they are against which strains of bacteria. These are also usually foam based and are not corrosive, so your floors and walls will stay nice. Many also find that alcohol free sanitizers are easier on the hand. Which ever you choose there are a few important tips to remember.

Sanitizer is to encourage voluntary hand washing. What does this mean? As in past it was not always accessible or convenient for some to wash there hands, hand sanitizer was introduced to help. It does not replace hand washing. Using sanitizer is part of a complete hand hygiene program and should be used only when hand washing is not available.

When install dispensers remember the following. Never place a hand sanitizer dispenser in the washroom, (we want to encourage hand washing) if there is need for one close to a washroom then outside the doors is acceptable. Having a dispenser at reception where there is a lot of traffic is a good idea. Some have even liked one near the lunch room. Any where that has a high volume of traffic and no access to soap and water. It also a good idea to have a bottle in our purse for ladies and the car.

Yes while hand sanitizer has simplified our life on the go we never want to forget the most important part of good hand hygiene, Washing our hands with soap and water.