Hand Sanitizer VS. Regular hand washing

I was hard core blanking when trying to think of a third and final topic for this blog period. The other two came to me very quickly but this time it was a little bit more difficult for me to come up with something on the spot. I started scanning my dorm for inspiration and I saw hand sanitizer sitting on my roommates desk and immediately started thinking about all of the germs that are covering this huge college campus. I remembered my past week of rushing sororities and the hundreds of hands a shook and began to realize how easy it is to get sick here. After all of my rush days I found myself using hand sanitizer and thinking that all the germs from the many different girls had left my hands. However, as I was thinking about hand sanitizer from a more scientific perspective in a mindset caused from writing these blogs, I began to question its effectiveness and if it can replace regular hand washing.

As I read up on this topic I learned that using hand sanitizer cannot completely replace washing your hands regularly with soap and water. First of all, when you have dirt or something else that you want to wash off your hand and you are not necessarily worried about germs at the moment, hand sanitizer will not help nearly as well as washing with soap and water (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). A more serious reason that hand sanitizer is not an equal substitute for hand washing is because it does not work against some very serious infections, which is explained in further detail here.

The most important thing to take into account when purchasing or using hand sanitizers is the alcohol concentration. If it is not at least 60% alcohol than it is not only ineffective, it also has negative effects. One of the negative effects of sanitizers with not enough alcohol is that they can increase a germ’s resistance, which is completely countering the exact reason you are using the sanitizer (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).


  1.  Do not think that you can replace the routine washing of your hands with the application of hand sanitizer
  2. When using hand sanitizer, make sure it has an alcohol concentration of at least 60% !!!!



7 thoughts on “Hand Sanitizer VS. Regular hand washing

  1. Samuel Deluca

    This is a topic I have thought about in the past. At my high school in the bathrooms their was a hand sanitizer option instead of taking the time to wash my hands. I always went with the hand sanitizer because I am lazy, but after this blog I will most like wash my hands next time.

  2. Elizabeth Anne Galante

    I could assume that the reason I am such a germophobe has to do with the fact that both my parents are and have taught my siblings and I to basically follow what they do from such a young age. I never believed in “washing your hands” with hand sanitizer, and I put that in quotes because to me that’s not washing your hands at all. Yes, it is certainly taking germs off your hands and making them cleaner than they originally were- that’s evident; but, it is most definitely not doing the amount soap and water could do for you. Reading about what you wrote about hand sanitizer was very useful and knowledgeable. I will admit it is probably a bit excessive that I wash my hands almost every hour of the day, but living in a college campus where germs are caught every second, I like having the feeling of always being clean. Washing our hands does more than you would think, and reading this link below you will learn that.

  3. Kameron Villavicencio

    I’m actually a terrible person who never uses hand sanitizer. I wash my hands frequently don’t worry, but I see people who use hand sanitizer all the time and it seems a bit excessive. I know that there are studies out there that claim that doing this will prevent you from building up your immunity, and after this class, I want to take a second look at them because who knows what is actually true.

  4. Alexis Paige

    My mom is a science teacher and hates when kids ask for hand sanitizer! She would rather them use the sinks in the room so she doesn’t even put any out! Being lazy, I sometimes use hand sanitizer to “wash” my hands so I can take my contacts out. It never feels quite as clean and I hope my eyes don’t suffer for my vast laziness! As of the sickness on campus, how do you feel about vitamins? I know I take them but still have the sniffles! Let me know!

  5. dcd5251

    I totally feel you on blanking on the third blog post, I had the same problem as you. My mom was a strong supporter of using hand sanitizer. Every day when I would get home from school, or a practice, or hanging out with my friends she would come over to me with that little bottle of what we call in our house “green stuff”. This green stuff in my mind totally kept me from getting sick since my mom has been using it. I started using hand sanitizer around the 7th grade, and since then I have missed six days of school to sickness. I never get sick, and I strongly believe that the hand sanitizer is the reason for that. Of course, I get small colds and stuff like that, but nothing horrible and I owe it all to the green stuff.

  6. Anna Josephine Wisniewski

    I never knew that the alcohol content played a role in whether the sanitizer worked or not! I’d be interested to see what the concentration is on common brands like Bath and Body Works. I try not to replace hand washing with sanitizer, but sometimes (especially during rush like you mentioned) it is almost impossible not to apply it 24/7. We have a bottle on my room and I use it all the time, thinking it will make me invincible to germs. Well, I have already had the plague not once but twice.

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