What You Need to Know about Hand Sanitizer

Is hand sanitizer better than using soap and water?

No, it is not.

  • Using soap and water should be your first choice.
  • You can help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus by washing your hands often.
  • Commit to washing with soap and water for AT LEAST 20 seconds. 
  • And, always wash your hands after using the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. 
When do I use hand sanitizer?

  • Use hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
    Make sure the bottle says it is made with at least 60% alcohol. The alcohol helps kill the COVID-19 virus. 
How do I use hand sanitizer?

  • Rub the hand sanitizer all over your hands. Make sure to get between your fingers and the back of your hand. 
  • Do not wipe off or rinse off. Let it dry. 
  • Do not use hand sanitizer if your hands are greasy or dirty. Instead, wash your hands with soap and water.
Can I make my own hand sanitizer?


  • Hand sanitizer may be hard to find during this pandemic. However, the FDA is not advising people to make their own. 
  • It will not work if it is made incorrectly. Adding alcohol to other hand lotion products is not likely to work. Using it will make you feel safe when you’re not.
  • So, use soap and water!
Are hand sanitizers dangerous?

Hand sanitizers contain alcohol that will make children and pets sick. 

  • Children can get alcohol poisoning by drinking only a small amount of hand sanitizer. 
  • But, they will not get sick if they eat with or lick their hands after using hand sanitizer.

Here are some tips to avoid getting sick from hand sanitizers.

  • Do not drink hand sanitizer.
  • Keep hand sanitizer away from children and pets.
  • Make sure that children only use hand sanitizer with an adult present.

Call the Poison Control at (800) 222-1222, right away, if your child drinks hand sanitizer by accident.