A Waste of Time and Money?

I don't consider myself a germophobe, but I don't like to touch door handles or spend too much time in public restrooms, and I insist on washing my hands before eating. But I've never bought into the hand sanitizer craze.

We have hand sanitizer dispensers posted all around our school. The kids either ignore them, or press their grimy hands into the dispenser to get a giant glop of it, and then happily smear it all over their hands and arms. Personally, I never use the stuff. It creeps me out. I love the feel of soap and water, and so I cringe at the idea of massaging this slimy gel into my skin.

Anyway, I started wondering about the actual health benefits of using hand sanitizing products, especially in school environments. I did a bit of research (the peer reviewed kind), and discovered that--guess what?--there's very little to no evidence that hand sanitizers prevent illness in school settings. Why is this? Here are several likely reasons: 
- The alcohol content of the hand sanitizer is less than 60% 
- Students don't regularly use the hand sanitizer, so germs still spread 
- Students don't use enough of the sanitizer, or wipe it off before it dries
- Hand sanitizer doesn't remove certain types of germs

So why do we keep buying the stuff and forcing it on our kids? Maybe because we feel proactive by using it? Or because it's more convenient when we don't have access to a sink? I always ask students to wash their hands before lunch, after using the bathroom, or after they sneeze into their hands. And all those other times? Well, I just try not to think about it.

What do you do in your home or classroom?



  1. hahaha I totally agree! It grosses me out, too. Our supply lists has each student bring in a bottle of it PLUS I have a sink/soap/towels in my classroom... I don't know what we are going to do with all of it at the end of the year!

    Real Teachers Learn

  2. Ha! That definitely seems like overkill! Plus, just one more routine/procedure that our kiddos have to keep track of. Sometimes it just feels like too much, doesn't it? Thanks for stopping by!