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hand rub,substance used to clean and sanitize the hands, especially when soap is not available. Hand sanitizers, introduced commercially in the late 1980s, are available as liquids, gels, or foams, and are effective in reducing infections when used properly. A person should apply a hand sanitizer to one palm, then rub the hands together until they are thoroughly dry, making sure to cover all surfaces of the hands and fingers. Hand sanitizers can be alcohol-based or alcohol-free and based on a disinfectant or an antimicrobial agent, but alcohol-based products with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol are recommended because they also offer antiviral protection. Handwashing, however, is preferred because soap and water are more effective when hands are soiled or greasy, are better at reducing certain types of microbes, and can also remove harmful chemicals.
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