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Wash or Sanitize?

Glo Germ in useThe Glo Germ Company has spent the better part of 5 decades teaching many industries and every age range how to protect themselves from hand transmitted pathogens. We are based here in Moab and work around the world helping people stay healthy.

We all try to make health conscious decisions about the things we put in and on our bodies these days but there is so much information out there that it can get confusing sometimes. One thing remains the same. The very best way that you can protect yourself from harmful germs is to wash your hands properly and often. Hand sanitizers should only be used when you cannot wash your hands with soap and water.

There are many opinions out there on how to protect you and your family from infections. One thing is certain, the misconceptions surrounding hand sanitizers are causing illnesses. People behave differently when they use hand sanitizers over hand washing. In their minds, their hands are sterile- which is not the case. Also most sanitizers available to the public do NOT kill viruses. If the packaging does not say that the product kills viruses than you can be sure that it doesn’t. That old saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” works in this situation as well. When you improperly apply hand sanitizers, you are only killing off the weak germs and leaving the strong ones to breed with less competition for resources.

Hand WashingThe FDA and CDC stand by hand washing as the best way protect yourself from hand transmitted types of germs. An FDA white paper states, “Alcohol gel sanitizers that do not require rinsing may be ineffective on their own due to the fact that there is no mechanical action to wash away bacteria … As they dry, alcohol products may pull resident bacteria from deeper skin layers, thus an increase in resident bacterial counts may be noticed.”

Just like sanitizing, hand washing has to be done correctly to be effective. It seems like such a simple task, hand washing, when in reality most of us do it improperly. In our 45 years of teaching proper hand washing we have come to realize, each and every one of us has our own way of washing our hands incorrectly. Some forget our palms, wrists or finger tips. Others do not wash nearly long enough. Some of us even completely forget our thumbs! Here at Glo Germ™ we pride ourselves on teaching proper hand washing techniques using our simulated germs. Glo Germ™ sticks to hands just like germs do and it glows under UV light so you can easily see where you wash well and where you miss. In a joint effort to help Moab stay healthy, we will be offering our economical mini-kits to the public at the Canyonlands Copy Center. These kits have everything you will need to test and sharpen your and your family’s hand washing skills, including a mini UV light.

What is the right way to wash your hands according to the CDC?

Wet your hands with clean, warm running water and apply soap.

Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.

Rinse your hands well under running water.

Dry your hands using a clean towel or air-dry them.

A few additional resources available for learning how to properly wash your hands include websites for The Centers for Disease Control and The Food and Drug Administration. Our website contains a few videos and pointers for proper hand washing techniques as well. If you have any questions please contact us at 435-259-5931 or by email at
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