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Confused about hand sanitisers?

Only use hand sanitiser when you can’t wash your hands with soap and water

The demand for hand sanitiser skyrocketed with the spread of Covid-19. But with too many sanitisers to choose from, people are often confused what they should look for in a sanitiser.

It’s simple in fact: Pick one that contains mostly alcohol, and has a few other ingredients.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says hand sanitisers should be at least 60 percent ethyl alcohol or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.

Other approved ingredients may include sterile distilled water, hydrogen peroxide and glycerin, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, reports AP.

You should avoid anything with methanol or 1-propanol, both of which can be highly toxic. The FDA also warns people to watch out for hand sanitisers packaged in food and drink containers, since accidentally ingesting them could be dangerous.

Health officials also suggest avoiding hand sanitisers that replace alcohol with benzalkonium chloride, which is less effective at killing certain bacteria and viruses.

But experts also don’t encourage people to make their own sanitisers since the wrong mix of chemicals can be ineffective or cause skin burns.

“You should only use hand sanitiser when you can’t wash your hands with soap and water,” says Barun Mathema, an infectious disease researcher at Columbia University.

Hand washing is better at removing more germs, experts say.