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Using hand sanitizer throughout the day is fine, even though it’s kind of annoying to listen to it being applied (it’s been like 30 straight seconds Lisa, pretty sure you can stop rubbing your sand paper hands together now). But some people I know think it’s okay to use hand sanitizer instead of washing their hands, and it forever taints them in my mind.
The building I work in is pretty small. There are only two single-stall bathrooms – one for men and one for women. So that means you have to wait outside the door in the hallway if someone is using the bathroom.
So one day I’m waiting outside of the women’s bathroom because someone is in there. And yes, I use the women’s bathroom as a man because I identify as someone who likes to use clean bathrooms. They’re taking a while, so I have a pretty good idea of what’s going down in there out of the two most likely options. I finally hear the toilet flush, but then the door starts opening way faster than it should. Obviously this no-hands-washing nasty ass patient zero is determined to give the entire office pink eye. The culprit passes me and I get hit with a wave of alcoholic vapors that make my nostrils sting. Then I realize that this sociopath has substituted hand sanitizer for soap and water.
I know there are some of you who are unfazed after reading that, so let’s break down exactly what’s wrong here. Using hand sanitizer instead of washing your hands is like if Cersei didn’t shower after she went through that literal shitstorm of a shame walk and just spritzed some Febreeze on herself when she got back to the castle instead of taking a shower.
“Excuse me your grace, you’ve got a little shmuts on your face. Actually, it’s covering your entire body. Here, some Febreeze should do the trick. There you are your grace! Clean as a whistle and smelling like a flower patch.”
Not everyone watches Thrones so I’ll draw another analogy. It’d be like if your car was dirty, like very muddy and dirty, and instead of using water and soap to wash your car, you just took a soup ladle and a bucket and scooped dollops of hand sanitizer onto your car and rubbed that in like old people at the beach who use way too much sunscreen. Refreshing, right?
More broadly, I don’t think hand sanitizer should be used at all unless you’re a surgeon about to go into the OR. There’s really no point. It’s like that douchebag who puts premium gas in their ’96 Toyota Celica because they think they’re Dale Earnhardt Jr. Besides, unless you’re dipping your hands in straight Ethanol, you’re not killing all of those little critters anyways.
“But Everett! It still kills 99.99% of germs!”
Yeah, I’m not impressed by that either. If you took a group of 10,000 people and killed 9,999 of them, that last person is going to go on a revenge tour that would rival Uma Thurman’s in Kill Bill. Or the one in Apocalypto. Or The Punisher. The point is, if you make that 0.01% of germs watch all of their friends and family die in agony at your hands (literally) only for them to survive, they’re going to decide that it’s payback time. Those last little guys are going to work their way onto your avocado toast and cause a ruckus inside your body that even Osmosis Jones can’t take care of.
I only remember two concepts from high school biology: mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, and evolution is a thing. Since evolution is a real thing that happens, wouldn’t it make sense that the last 0.01% of germs that don’t die are going to reproduce to make a bunch of sanitizer-resistant germ kids? Holy shit I just realized those germs are like my friends; they don’t die after being bathed in alcohol and they go on to produce offspring that make me scared for the future.
That last note is just a thought; there’s no evidence I’m aware of to support it. But there is evidence that suggests that some sanitizers are actually bad for you (see: triclosan). There’s also evidence that shows regular soap and water is still the best option. Just go wash your hands. Soap is a surfactant, which means it’s really good at getting water to wash stuff off of your hands. Soap is also cheap af. Also, you’re nasty as hell if you don’t wash your hands anyways so just use soap and skip the hand sanitizer. Alright I’ll get off my soap soapbox now..
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