Liquid Hand Sanitizer vs Gel Hand Sanitizer – Which One Is Better?

hand washing

We are living in unprecedented times. One minute everything was “normal” and before we knew it, terms such as clinical masks, social distance, and hand sanitizer have become a part of our daily vocabulary. 

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened our need for proper personal sanitation and hand hygiene. Health authorities around the world have insisted that people carry hand sanitizer with them because of their travel-friendly nature. 

A hand sanitizer is a hand antiseptic that is applied and rubbed into the hands to kill disease-causing bacteria. Sanitizer is used when soap and water is not an option. This normally happens when you’re on the go but still want to maintain clean hands.

Sanitizer is typically available in two forms: liquid and gel form. It’s important to know what sets the two apart so here are a few points to consider when trying to pick out a hand sanitizer that works for you. 

What’s the Difference Between Liquid Hand Sanitizer and Gel Hand Sanitizer?

First and foremost, both gel and liquid hand sanitizers are scientifically effective; as long as you use them the right way. The difference between the two only comes in when you consider certain aspects such as their physical properties or how long they take to work. 

For instance, it has been noted that liquid sanitizer acts faster than gel sanitizer. Liquid sanitizers kill disease-causing bacteria under 15 seconds of use while gel sanitizers need at least 30 seconds to work.

The longer time taken for gel hand sanitizer to act may result in decreased efficacy. This is because some people may quickly rub it on their hands, then wipe it off before it has the chance to do its job. This greatly reduces its effectiveness. It is important to educate users that they need to be a bit patient when using gel hand sanitizer. 

Liquid sanitizers are recorded to leave less residue on a person’s skin, but this is dependent on the manufacturer. Manufacturers develop hand sanitizers with different ingredients and formulations thereby affecting the end product’s texture and consistency. 

Gel sanitizers, on the other hand, take much longer to dry. Once again, compliance will affect the effectiveness of the sanitizer. A lot of users have claimed that they found it is easier to dispense and handle gel sanitizer than it is for the liquid sanitizers. 

In the end, however, both liquid hand sanitizers and gel hand sanitizers are both effective at killing bacteria. However, you need to make sure that you use it well. If you do not apply the sanitizers on your hands effectively, this reduces the efficiency of the sanitizer. This is how you should go about it.

How to Effectively Use a Gel or Liquid Hand Sanitizer

There are 4 steps to follow when using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:

  1. Apply a generous amount of hand sanitizer to the palm of your hand. 
  2. Rub your hands together ensuring that the product reaches your fingertips, nails, and the back of your hand. (the same way you should wash your hands with soap and water.)
  3. Continue rubbing all surfaces until your hands are dry. 
  4. Do not go near a gas burner, flame, or any burning object when applying hand sanitizer. Alcohol is extremely flammable. 

You also need to consider the alcohol concentration of the sanitizer. Let’s take a deeper look.

What Role Does Alcohol Play in a Hand Sanitizer?

Many experts have said that the more alcohol content a liquid or gel hand sanitizer has, the more effective it is at killing off bacteria. But what is the minimum alcohol content required for a sanitizer to be effective? 

The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol content. This isn’t new information because alcohol has been used as a disinfectant throughout history and into the modern medicine world. 

Alcohol alters the bacteria from its original state through a process called denaturation. This is how it fights off the pesky germs that could cause you disease or infections

For instance, if you have bacteria that could cause Covid-19 on your hand and you apply an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, the alcohol will alter the bacteria’s chemical makeup thus preventing it from doing any real damage. 

There are so many hand sanitizers flooding the market and if you don’t pay attention to the alcohol content, you may end up buying a non-effective hand sanitizer which may smell nice but not do the job as required.

Do Hand Sanitizers Effectively Prevent The Spread Of Covid-19?

The world has shifted to disease preventative measures in a bid to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. A hand sanitizer should not be treated as a cure but simply a preventative measure. 

Handwashing is the best way of cleaning your hands and preventing the spread of the coronavirus. However, a good gel or liquid hand sanitizer can also do a good job on the same. It is, therefore, important to walk around with a hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of 60% or more. All public areas such as schools, grocery stores, and offices should also install hand sanitizer dispensing points for people to observe good hand hygiene.

When Are Hand Sanitizers Not Effective?

If your hands are visibly soiled or greasy, sanitizer may not be as effective be it liquid or gel. In controlled environments such as hospitals, healthcare workers are normally contaminated with pathogens but are hardly ever soiled or have grease. However, in community settings where playing, cooking, gardening or other outdoor activities are the order of the day, hand sanitizer will simply not suffice.

Keep in mind that leaving hand sanitizer in near reach to children is dangerous because they may ingest the sanitizer. Children are highly attracted to hand sanitizers because they are usually brightly colored, well scented, or packaged attractively. 

So Which Is Better? Liquid or Gel Hand Sanitizer?

In truth, it is hard to say that one is better than the other. It is more of a matter of personal preference and how you feel the product on your hands. As long as you apply your sanitizer properly and purchase a CDC-approved alcohol-based sanitizer, then you should be on the right track.