Is Hand Sanitizer a Waste of Money?

Jeanne Sager

Flickr photo by theogeo
There's nothing a handwashing addict loves more than a little bottle of hand sanitizer she can use anywhere.

So the mounting evidence that hand sanitizer might just be a giant waste of time -- and money -- is a giant pin in my balloon.

This isn't exactly new news. I remember reading something about the cons back in the middle of the aughts (and pulled it up on the New York Times website).

They said the sanitizers that lacked sufficient alcohol content were doing diddly to kill the germs. So I just upped my search for the stuff with 60 percent alcohol or more.

And then came the bit of new news that made the other shoe drop.

According to a story in the Daily Mail, a study done in December found brands that claim to kill 90 percent of germs have a success rate closer to 46 to 60 percent, and scientists say they'd abandon alcohol if they had to start over and build a hand sanitizer from scratch.

Way to kick a clean girl back to dirty town.

Honestly, I prefer a hot and sudsy scrubdown in a sink, but when I pop back into the car after a day at the mall give me my hand sanitizer and make it snappy. And that's how it should stay, the scientists say, as a second-best alternative when there's no hot water and soap around.

Do you stock up on sanitizer?

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