Fast facts: What you need to know about soap and hand sanitizer


You probably remember the days when hand sanitizer and soap were hard to find as COVID-19 caused shortages at stores. Now that the supply is replenished in most places, it's important to know what kind of products you should be looking for and how to use them most effectively. Check out the fast facts below from the experts at McLaren Greater Lansing.

What counts as an effective hand sanitizer?

A hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60% alcohol is considered effective. The only two types of alcohol appropriate in hand sanitizer are ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol.

What is hand sanitizer most useful for?

Cleaning hands that are not visibly soiled. According to the Centers for Disease Control, unless hands are visibly soiled, an alcohol-based hand rub is preferred over soap and water. If your hands are visibly soiled, you should wash them with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.

What kind of soap should I choose for handwashing?

The type of soap you use is less important than how you use it. The physical action of hand washing with soap and water acts to dislodge soil and contaminants and rinse them off.

Does hand sanitizer have an expiration date?

The FDA has designated hand sanitizers as an over-the-counter drug, which the agency regulates. All OTCs have expiration dates, and most hand sanitizers have an expiration date of three years.

How should I store hand sanitizer?

Avoid keeping hand sanitizers within reach of children under 6. Young children should only use hand sanitizer under parental supervision. Also, avoid storing it in areas that can reach 105 degrees, such as a car in summer.

What are hospitals doing to keep me safe from COVID-19?

McLaren Greater Lansing is stepping up to keep you safe during COVID-19. Hand sanitizer stations are found throughout all McLaren facilities. For more information on how McLaren is doing what's best for your safety, click here.