Does hand sanitizer work? The U. S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that using hand sanitizer on unclean hands that have no visible grime on them is as effective as washing with soap and water. But how can you tell which -- or even if -- sanitizers are right for your restaurant? First, be sure to select a brand that contains at least 60% alcohol. It is the alcohol that provides the antiseptic quality to the sanitizer. Second, encourage staff servers to wash their hands whenever possible and reserve the use of the sanitizers for quick cleansing, such as between bringing plates of food to guests. Chefs and kitchen workers should stick to soap and water as much as possible.