How does Hand Sanitizer work?

How sanitizer works

Today we all are facing the situation like never before due to coronavirus breakout. In this war against Covid-19, everyone is looking for the vaccine to neutralize its impact on human beings. But in the absence of the vaccine, our biggest weapon is alcohol-based hand sanitizer. There are many types of hand sanitizers in the market but only a few hand sanitizers beyond a certain percentage of alcohol are useful against the coronavirus. The first question that comes in our mind is what is a sanitizer and what it does? Before that let us discuss the making of it.

How Hand Sanitizers are made?

Hand sanitizer is basically a dilute solution of alcohol (Ethanol / Isopropanol / N-Propanol) and water (H2O) to disinfect the viruses and germs. But if only these two would be used then it will need much in quantity to use on even small surfaces. Because of this reason Glycerol is mixed with it. If we don’t mix Glycerol with it then it will look like vodka being poured onto hands. It will make the solution thicker and increases the surface tension and make it like a gel which helps to use less solution and get the same work done.

Note: Percentage of alcohol in Hand sanitizer is to be used is 60% or more to kill germs and to be safe from the COVID-19 virus.

How does Hand Sanitizer works?

Alcohol in the sanitizers when applied on the hand dissolves the outer coating of bacteria and the viruses and explodes their membranes. This is done by the alcohol which is polar. It disrupts the protein and liquid molecules which makes the bacteria’s membranes and viral envelopes. By disrupting the membranes of bacteria and viruses it makes them split and make them explode which is not capable of making sick anyone.

covid 19

Here in the picture, the sample structure of Covid-19 is shown. We can see that it has protein spikes and keeping the virus safe from soap and hand wash, but yes if we use soap more than 20 seconds then it can kill the Covid-19 virus. The sanitizer beyond the 60%-70% of alcohol breaks these protein membranes and keeps you safe. Remember the alcohol is the only ingredient that is working on it, other ingredients like glycerol and water are just to maximize the use of it.

How to use Hand Sanitizer?

Dirty hands
Dirty hands

People use it in many ways to prevent the germs and sometimes they forgot to clean their hands before using it. If we use it on the dirty hands like shown in the figure, alcohol in the sanitizer will get dissolved in the dirt on the outer layer of the hands without reaching the actual virus or bacteria. Hence you are not safe with those hands.

Applying sanitizer on clean hands
Applying sanitizer on clean hands

So, the best use of it is to clean your hand first with soap if needed then put sanitizer on the hand. This method will give you the maximum benefit of sanitizer keeping you safe from any germ cell, virus, and bacteria.

So below are the few best sanitizers you can buy and keep yourself safe in coronavirus breakout with the best use of it.


Never use any kind of alcohol sanitizer near any kind of fire or flame. Few points given below-

  • Do not use sanitizer spray on bike or car which is already started. (Silencer flame may catch the sanitizer spray)
  • Do not use sanitizer while cooking.
  • Do not use sanitizer and burn lighter for cigarettes.
Share Knowledge
Jaikamal is a very fluctuating mind person who always looks for knowledge or resources of knowledge. He believes that knowledge is the key to success.

5 thoughts on “How does Hand Sanitizer work?

Leave a Reply

Back To Top