Hand sanitizers claim to kill 99.9% of germs, but that statistic depends on a few criteria, says the American Chemical Society in a video posted today. Most hand sanitizers use alcohol to dissolve the outer coats of bacteria and viruses, causing them to explode. But, how well a hand sanitizer works hinges on how much alcohol is in the cleansing solution and how grimy and greasy your hands are. Because alcohol doesn’t get rid of dirt, these sanitizers work best when you also regularly wash your hands with soap and water.
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