Hand sanitizer, also called hand antiseptic, handrub, or handrub, agent applied to the hands for the purpose of removing common pathogens (disease-causing organisms).
Hand sanitizers typically come in foam, gel, or liquid form.
Their use is recommended when soap and water are not available for hand washing or when repeated hand washing compromises the natural skin barrier (e.g.,
causing scaling or fissures to develop in the skin).
Although the effectiveness of hand sanitizer is variable, it is employed as a simple means of infection control in a wide variety of settings, from day-care centres and schools to hospitals and health care clinics and from supermarkets to cruise ships.
Depending on the active ingredient used, hand sanitizers can be classified as one of two types: alcohol-based or alcohol-free.
alcohol-free. Alcohol-based products typically contain between 60 and 95 percent alcohol, usually in the form of ethanol, isopropanol, or n-propanol.
At those concentrations, alcohol immediately denatures proteins, effectively neutralizing certain types of microorganisms.
Alcohol-free products are generally based on disinfectants, such as benzalkonium chloride(BAC), or on antimicrobial agents, such as triclosan.
The activity of disinfectants and antimicrobial agents is both immediate and persistent. 1,3,8 Many hand sanitizers also contain emollients (e.g.,glycerin) that soothe the skin, thickening agents, and fragrance.