Fast Facts About Hand Sanitizers

Sanitary practices have evolved over the centuries. But only within the last 70-80 years has hand sanitizer become a mainstay not only for doctors and nurses operating in hospitals but for businesses in every industry. With the invention being widespread before the pandemic, and more so since the pandemic, its pervasiveness is causing people to ask questions about its origins, effectiveness, and even possible harmfulness. 

So, with that being said, here are five interesting facts about hand sanitizer you may (or may not) care to know. 

Its history is shrouded in mystery 

Who invented hand sanitizer? One story circulating the internet is that Lupe Hernandez, a nursing student from California, created the first-hand sanitizer solution back in 1966. However, like many stories on the internet, it’s not based on any verifiable facts. For instance, it can neither be confirmed whether Lupe Hernandez is a man or woman or that such a person ever invented hand sanitizer. 

Confused? Same. 

Hand sanitizer contains somewhere between 60-90% alcohol. And while alcohol has been used as an antiseptic since the 1800s, the exact date of its origin is up for debate.  

There is a correct way to apply it, just like there is a proper way to wash your hands. 

We all know (one hopes) how to correctly wash your hands. Use warm water, scrub between the fingers, under the fingernails, use soap (that’s a big one), and wash them under running water between 20-30 seconds. What you DON’T want to do is touch cold water with just your fingertips for 5 seconds and then leave without drying. That’s a big no-no. 

Likewise, when applying hand sanitizer, you want to continue rubbing your hands together until they feel dry. If there is still moisture, then you need to rub some more. What you DON’T want to do–UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES–is drink it.

Also, here’s a bonus fast fact: hand sanitizer is less likely to dry your hands out than traditional washing with soap. 

Purell is the top brand in the United States. 

According to Statista, Purell is the most recognizable hand gel brand, selling upwards of 36.7 million dollars worth of sanitizing products. That’s a lot. And, yeah, it’s a pretty trustworthy brand, so lather up! But also make sure to support your local hand sanitizer distributors on Etsy. 

It can be used for other purposes. 

Remember when I said there is a right and wrong way to apply hand sanitizer? Well, I’m not sure this fact fits within those categories. I want to make a distinction between purpose and value. Hand sanitizer was created for the purpose of cleaning hands when handwashing isn’t accessible. However, its value extends past its purpose. For example, it’s also a helpful tool for removing stains off walls, counters, and even clothes. So, even though it wasn’t designed with that function in mind, it still works wonders. Try it (if you have a stain).  

Never buy sanitizer brands that have this chemical in it 

The FDA website contains a lot of information about hand sanitizers that have been recalled due to containing harmful chemicals. One such chemical is methanol. The worst effects of using this sanitizer are when (surprise, surprise) you ingest it. So, as the previous fact about applying hand sanitizer makes not, don’t drink it. 

According to the FDA, “methanol that has led to recent adverse events including blindness, hospitalizations, and death.“ And, in case you had further doubts, here’s another quote: “Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects.”  


So, I hope you had fun with these facts. It just so happens that Exhibit Store sells PPE products for business and events. You can peruse our selection of sanitizer gel/liquid (which are all up to FDA standards) as well as our automatic dispensers right here

To learn more about our options for hand sanitizer stations – graphics and accessories, too – give Exhibit Store a call at 800-343-2005 or contact us here.