When hand sanitizer doesn’t cut it

I hate hand sanitizer.

Last week my 4-year-old niece attempted to substitute this goo for a good hand washing just prior to diving into a baked potato.

“Not happening,” I told her. “There will be no shortcuts today, lady.”

With her head slightly hung she marched down the hall to the bathroom, pushed up her sleeves, and got to scrubbing. She needed a little help, but she got it done.

I tried to explain to her, hand sanitizer doesn’t really get your hands clean, it just shines them up a bit. Sure, they say it “kills germs,” and it very well may, but the one thing I know it doesn’t do is remove play-dough and/or dog poop. Both of which could have very likely been on her hands by that point in the day.

Of course, she didn’t want to go through the hassle of an actual washing, she wanted a shortcut. That’s understandable.

Washing your hands takes a little bit of time and quite a bit more effort. You’ve got to go all the way to the bathroom, sometimes adjust your clothing, and turn on the water.

And that’s just the beginning.

Then you’ve got to work up a decent lather, which if we’re talking bar soap here, could take a little work. Plus, bar soap is well-known as a creepy hair magnet, so you might have to deal with removing a few tiny curls.

Then there’s the scrubbing, the rinsing, and the drying. If done correctly, this is at bare minimum a 3-minute process.

What 4-year-old wants that when he or she could simply pull a squirt-and-dash with the hand sanitizer? Not a one.

The problem, however, is while that gooey junk might make you feel all shined up, really it’s just providing a brief mask covering the filth.

There are a lot of masks like that in life. There’s a lot of hand sanitizer-esque solutions out there attempting to make us feel clean, and to be honest, they’re really easy to fall into using.

Maybe being it’s being generous with our money. Maybe it’s spending time helping out with a worth cause. Or, maybe it’s simply the concept that we’re just generally being a “good” person.

None of these are bad things, in fact, they are all quite good and are things we should do.

But in reality, none of these remove the dirt.

Sure, they might temporary shine us up and make us feel clean, but unless we’ve also had a good washing, they’re simply proving a glossy film over the gunk.

What we really need is a good, hard washing. One that would take far more time, effort, and pain, than is humanly possible for us.

Lucky for us, Jesus already did the leg-work for our washing and this weekend, us Christians will both mourn and celebrate that.

Easter is always bitter-sweet for me like that.

I mean, I’m looking at a guy who went through some of the most brutal torture in history, just so I might properly be cleansed of all the dirt I’ve spent, and too often still spend, my time rolling around in.

Just thinking about it generates the oddest blend of sobering, humbling, and yet, joyous feelings I’ve ever encountered.

But more than that, it also makes me more thankful than anything else ever has, or will.

I know it and you know it. We’re dirty.

And the only real solution is that legit, deep, scrub-until-the-soap-disappears-into-a-puff-of-soap-smoke cleaning.

There are a lot ideas floating around in the world about how we can pull this cleaning off on our own, but truth be told, none of those alone can produce much more than a little bit of temporary shine on top of our dirt.

I don’t know about you, but I need the real deal scrub and am thankful it’s been made available to me.








About travman44

I work as a reporter for a newspaper in southwest Virginia. I play as a writer specializing in deep thoughts on shallow, and occasionally not so shallow, subjects. I'm also a former history teacher, bible college alum, and lover of the NBA and kids' breakfast cereals. It's a delicate blend. -- @TravisKWilliams on Twitter
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One Response to When hand sanitizer doesn’t cut it

  1. Thank God for the soap that cleanses!

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