UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
How does hand sanitizer kill germs?
Answer 1:

That is a great question about hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer contains a high percentage of alcohol, which kills bacteria cells. It kills them by destroying their cell membranes and the proteins inside the cells. Luckily, the alcohol does not destroy human skin cells. A negative effect for people is that it can lead to dry skin, so hand sanitizers usually contain a moisturizer along with the alcohol. While hand sanitizer can kill bacteria, it cant remove dirt, which is why hand sanitizer shouldnt be used as a substitute for hand washing.

Thanks for your question!

Answer 2:

Alcohol dissolves the bacterial cell membranes.


Answer 3:

Patrick,

It's poisonous, and germs don't have any skin to protect them from the poison.


Answer 4:

Hand sanitizer has high levels of alcohol in it. The alcohol kills any bacteria.



Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use