Written by Penny Maurer, CDA

December is Handwashing Awareness month so let’s “scrub up” on the CDC’s recommendation for hand hygiene for healthcare providers. 

The CDC recommends utilizing an alcohol based hand rub (ABHR) unless hands are visibly soiled. Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds if visibly soiled, before eating, and after using the restroom. The CDC recommends that ABHRs for healthcare workers contain at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol.

With shortages during the COVID-19 outbreak, non-alcoholic hand sanitizers containing benzalkonium chloride (BKC) were prevalent. The FDA does deem BKC eligible for use in the formulation of healthcare personnel hand rubs. 

However since these hand sanitizers are not alcohol-based, they are not recommended by the CDC for use in healthcare.

Hand sanitizers containing methanol and 1-propanol are not recommended by the FDA. Below is a link to check if hand sanitizers are on the FDA’s “do not use” list.