Can hand sanitizer be used to disinfect wounds?

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Bactakleen Herbal and Organic Hand Sanitizer

Are you asking if it is ideal for reaching to sanitizers to disinfect wounds in the wound care realm? Of course, since the pandemic stroke the world, the demand for disinfectants have gone up because it’s among the products used to control the virus’s rapid spread. Even worse, by now, the number of global coronavirus cases has surged to above twenty-three million.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have committed to providing safety guidelines to reduce interpersonal virus transmission rates. As much as the demand for disinfectants has gone up, hand sanitizers have become anyone’s closest friend. The practice occurs whenever people go including at the airports, train stations, shopping centers, bathrooms, or a walk down the street.

Other than coronavirus, you may ask about other infections caused by germs and other pathogens. Well, the answer is that all these pathogens are still active, just like they used to be. Like before, and if you get a minor accident and get wounded, your wound can get infected. Let’s take a look at whether hand sanitizers are the most suitable mechanisms in wound care.

What are the ingredients used in a hand sanitizer?

Standard hand sanitizers contain alcohol and water, and for it to be effective against pathogens, the concentration has to be 60% alcohol and 40% water. Some products contain more alcohol than 60%, the recommended proportion by the CDC. The basis being the fact that the more the alcohol is used making the solution stronger. Water in a sanitizer works as a carrier for the ingredients and part of the hydrogel. Alcohol, on the other hand, is the disinfectant that kills pathogens. Other than alcohol and water, sanitizers also contain emollients. The ingredient emollients protect your skin from the drying effects of alcohol and keep it healthy.

Can a hand sanitizer be used to disinfect wounds?

The study conducted by Greenaway et al. (2018) acknowledged that sometime back, alcohol served as a disinfectant for wounds, and maybe you have seen alcohol-based products included in a first aid kit. However, the CDC points out that this practice is no longer recommended because alcohol is naturally harsh. There is no disputing the fact that applying alcohol on a wound can be effective against any form of a pathogen that might infect the wound no. the only problem is that when it’s used, it will kill pathogens and prevent infection. Still, it won’t stop there. Berardi et al. (2018) ascertained that its harsh nature would harm the tissue surrounding the wound and kill healthy cells along with pathogens. And as a result, that can make it harder for the damage to heal.

In conclusion, with the world facing a novel medical crisis, effective hygiene practices are crucial to prevent infections. Guidelines offer compliance hand hygiene recommendations, including the WHO’s and the CDC’s hand sanitizing techniques. However, challenges exist regarding how to enhance passivity to the protocols and interventions.

Hand sanitizers have proven advantages, if you are the person who opts for swabs to disinfect wounds or a cut immediately, the practice is antiquated. Putting non-alcohol based versions containing benzalkonium chloride or triclosan can less effectively work against pathogens. But it is easy on the wound beds, leaving a little irritation on the skin.


Greenaway, R. E., Ormandy, K., Fellows, C., & Hollowood, T. (2018). Impact of hand sanitizer format (gel/foam/liquid) and dose amount on its sensory properties and acceptability for improving hand hygiene compliance. Journal of Hospital Infection100(2), 195-201.

Berardi, A., Pinelli, D. R., Merchant, H. A., Bisharat, L., Basheti, I. A., Bonacucina, G., … & Palmieri, G. F. (2020). Hand sanitizers amid CoViD-19: A critical review of alcohol-based products on the market and formulation approaches to respond to increasing demand. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 119431.

CDC. Show Me the Science – When & How to Use Hand Sanitizer in Community Settings

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