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Sanitizing: How to do it the right way

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  • Written By: Rachel Conrad, PBT, CPT, MA
Sanitizing: How to do it the right way

Grocery shopping is your mission. The game plan is to get in and out as quickly as possible before coming into contact with… THE PLAGUE!

That’s right, you are fully aware of the dangers: the flu and bronchitis are lurking around the corner, after all. Regardless of the danger, you’ve accepted the mission: purchase a gallon of milk before the family dies of hunger.

Jokes about catching the plague aside, we all realize that germs are simply more common in places where people gather. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand washing is one of the best ways to protect you and your family from getting ill this flu season.

As you may know, running water and soap aren’t always available. So, using hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes are often what’s available; but do you actually know how to properly use them? Check out these tips to help you get the most protection from germs when you aren’t able to scrub with soap and water:

  1. Choose a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. Remember that hand sanitizers DO NOT kill all germs and are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty. Be cautious when using hand sanitizers with children—swallowing hand sanitizer can be poisonous.
  2. Apply about a dime sized portion of hand sanitizer to the palm of the hand (or enough to cleanse the entire hand) and rub hands, fingers and nails together until the product is COMPLETETLY DRY. Remember—you’ll re-introduce germs to your hands if you touch something before the sanitizer is dry and the friction helps to loosen the germs on your hands. Check the label of your hand sanitizer for additional tips.
  3. When using sanitizing wipes remember to “use it and lose it.” Dr. William Schaffner Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine says disinfecting wipes are best used on one surface and tossed out. So, when you wipe down the handle of your shopping cart, be sure to grab another one if you plan to use it another place. Although the wipes will kill bacteria, some of the bacteria remains on the wipe and can be spread from surface to surface. Best practice is to clean surfaces with one wipe, and then disinfect with another.
  4. Just like hand sanitizer, the surface cleaned with a sanitizing wipe must air dry to be effectively disinfected. Most wipe products have a specific dry time, so it’s best to read the label and follow the instructions. When the product label is unavailable,at a minimum, allow the surface (like your shopping cart handle) to fully dry before use. Simple Green calls this drying time “kill time”. Remember-sanitizing wipes are typically not intended for use on skin.

In addition to covering our coughs and washing our hands, using hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes can be one of the best tools to help you and your family avoid catching the “rhinobronchiastrepalitis of 2019” or any other illness that plagues us this winter.

Now that you can use them effectively in the battle against germs, you won’t have to hibernate till spring. Be safe and well out there people!

Check out more tips on how to prevent the flu at

Have Questions?

Campbell County Health's Wellness works to reduce health risks and promote overall wellness among employee groups and individuals across the northeastern Wyoming region. To learn more about Wellness, please visit or call 307.688.8051.

Rachel Conrad, PBT, CPT, MA, works at CCH Wellness as a Technician and Phlebotomist