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Physical fitness is a general state of health and well-being and, more specifically, the ability to perform aspects of sports or occupations. Physical fitness is generally achieved through correct nutrition, moderate-vigorous physical activity, exercise and rest. It is a set of attributes or characteristics seen in people and which relate to the ability to perform a given set of physical activities.

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26 February 2021

  • Brush Your Shoulders Off with These 11 Shoulder Mobility Exercises

    Poor shoulder mobility can be hella uncomfortable. And sadly, you prob can’t just shrug it off. The good news? We have 11 exercises that can get your shoulders in tip-top shape.

    How to do shoulder mobility exercises properly

    Ready to release all that tension? Here’s a rundown of the 11 best shoulder mobility exercises.

    1. Shoulder roll

    The role of the roll is to relax your shoulders and reduce upper-body tension. It’s also a great pre-workout stretch.

    To do a shoulder roll:

    1. Stand tall with a straight spine.
    2. Relax your arms and shrug shoulders toward ears.
    3. Move shoulders in a circular motion for 30 seconds.
    4. Repeat in the other direction.

    Repeat 2–4 times.

    Pro tip: Imagine there’s a string pulling your head straight up.

    2. Shoulder pendulum swing

    This swing sesh is an awesome arm stretch. It can help increase your range of motion, giving you a smoother flow of motion.

    To do a shoulder pendulum swing:

    1. Support your right arm on a table or chair.
    2. Let left arm relax and hang down.
    3. Gently start to swing left arm.
    4. Start to make small circles.
    5. Gradually make the circles bigger.
    6. Reverse the direction after 1 minute.

    Repeat for a total of 4–6 minutes on both arms.

    Pro tip: You can sit or stand for this exercise. Do what feels the most comfortable.

    3. Dumbbell shoulder press

    This shoulder press can increase your strength and range of motion.

    To do a dumbbell shoulder press:

    1. While standing or sitting, hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height.
    2. Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle.
    3. Extend through elbows as you lift the weights overhead.
    4. Slowly return to the starting position.

    Do 10–15 reps.

    Pro tip: Don’t overdo it with the weights. The idea is to increase mobility, not bulk up.

    4. Reverse fly

    This exercise targets your upper back muscles. It’s an important strengthening exercise for folks who sit behind a computer a lot.

    To do a reverse fly:

    1. Sit or stand with knees bent and lean forward.
    2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand (this also works with resistance bands).
    3. Let arms hang down to your calves.
    4. Gently raise the weights out to the sides until elbows are at shoulder height.
    5. Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.

    Do 10–15 reps.

    Pro tip: Don’t hunch or arch your back.

    5. Standing row

    This upright exercise can improve strength in your traps, rhomboids, and biceps.

    To do a standing row:

    1. Grasp two dumbbells or a barbell.
    2. Get your hands in line with your thighs.
    3. Let the weights hang in front of you with your arms straight down.
    4. Turn your palms toward your body.
    5. Lift the weights straight up toward your chin and exhale.
    6. Pause for a moment.
    7. Return to the starting position.

    Do 10–15 reps.

    Pro tip: Opt for a light weight so you can ease into the motion.

    6. Shoulder cross-arm swing stretch

    You might remember this one from middle school gym class, but it’s actually legit. It’s a great way to stretch your rotator cuff.

    To do a shoulder cross-arm swing stretch:

    1. Stand with feet a little less than shoulder-width apart.
    2. Bring left arm up to just below your shoulder.
    3. Place right hand on left elbow.
    4. Slowly pull left arm across your body.
    5. Use right hand to gently hold the position for 30 seconds.
    6. Repeat on the other side.

    You can do this one as much as you want, but 3 times on each side usually does the trick.

    Pro tip: Take deep breaths as you hold the stretch. It’s hella relaxing.

    7. Doorway stretch

    This stretches your shoulders one at a time, which is great if one is tighter than the other.

    To do a doorway stretch:

    1. Stand in a doorway with one foot slightly in front of the other.
    2. Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle.
    3. Bring left arm up to shoulder height.
    4. Place left palm and forearm flat against the doorframe.
    5. Slowly lean into the stretch.
    6. Hold for 30 seconds.
    7. Repeat on the other side.

    Repeat 2–3 times on each side.

    Pro tip: This shouldn’t be painful. Don’t stretch past your comfort zone.

    8. Reverse shoulder stretch

    Here’s another one for all the homies hunching over screens all day. It’s also a top-notch choice if you breastfeed or slump your back a lot.

    To do a reverse shoulder stretch:

    1. Stand straight up.
    2. Clasp hands behind you.
    3. Gently pull shoulders back and lift your chest.
    4. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax.

    Do 3–5 reps and go deeper each time.

    Pro tip: You might naturally tip forward a bit, but don’t lean forward. It increases your risk of pulling a muscle.

    9. Shoulder wall slide

    This is a great move to test your range of motion and improve it over time.

    To do a shoulder wall slide:

    1. Stand with back against a wall and feet slightly away from the wall.
    2. Bring your elbows to a 90-degree angle with hands facing up.
    3. Press elbows and forearms into the wall.
    4. Slowly slide arms against the wall over your head.
    5. Gently squeeze shoulder blades together.

    Do 3–5 sets of 5–8 reps.

    Pro tip: Don’t forget to engage your core!

    10. Thread the Needle shoulder stretch

    This classic yoga pose will release shoulder tension and back stiffness.

    To do a Thread the Needle shoulder stretch:

    1. Start on all fours on the floor, keeping hands under shoulders.
    2. Tuck in your toes.
    3. Open the chest to the left.
    4. Move your right arm under your chest.
    5. Extend left arm toward the sky.
    6. Keep both knees and right arm on the floor for support.
    7. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

    Pro tip: Gaze toward your raised hand and breathe deeply.

    11. Chest expansion

    There are many ways to do this exercise. It’s great for relieving stress in your upper back, chest, and shoulders.

    (One way) To do a chest expansion:

    1. Stand while holding a band or towel behind you, just under your butt.
    2. Keep arms extended with hands at about shoulder width.
    3. Slowly pull hands backward while keeping arms straight.
    4. Roll shoulders backward, raise chin, and open up your chest.
    5. Hold and breathe for 7–10 seconds before returning to the starting position.
    6. Repeat for 1–2 minutes total.

    Pro tip: Keep your spine aligned the entire time.

    What’s the difference between shoulder mobility and flexibility?

    Shoulder mobility relates to range of motion — a joint’s ability to complete a variety of movements. It’s affected by the soft tissue around the joint (like your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules).

    Mobility is different from flexibility, which is the ability of a muscle or muscle groups to lengthen through a range of motion.

    Reasons you may be feeling shoulder tightness

    Lots of lifestyle factors can result in shoulder tension. These can build over time, creating discomfort and decreasing mobility.

    Causes of poor shoulder mobility:

    Shoulder tightness can also be a symptom of health conditions such as:

    • gout
    • lupus
    • arthritis
    • Lyme disease

    Benefits of stretching even without tightness

    You don’t need an out-of-whack back or tight shoulders to reap the many benefits of stretching. Here are some of the perks:

    • Relieves stress. Stress and muscle tightness often go hand in hand. Stretching can loosen your muscles and make you feel more relaxed. Try to focus on areas where you hold the most tension, like your neck, upper back, or shoulders.
    • Increases flexibility. Stretching on the reg can help increase your flexibility. This can make everyday activities easier and can prevent a decline in mobility as you age.
    • Increases blood flow. Research suggests that stretching could improve circulation and increase blood flow to your muscles. This could shorten your workout recovery time and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness.
    • Perks up your posture. A small 2015 study found that a combo of stretching and strengthening exercises could encourage correct spinal alignment and reduce musculoskeletal pain.
    • Helps prevent back pain. A solid stretching routine reduces your risk of muscle tension. (PSA: You shouldn’t overwork an existing injury.)
    • Gets you ready to rumble. A good stretch before a sweat sesh is always a good idea. Studies suggest that stretching can prep your muscles for movement. 

    The importance of good form

    Nailing proper form can make or break your workout. It can reduce your risk of injury and enhance the effectiveness of each stretch.

    Here are a few tips to keep your form fab:

    • Don’t hold a stretch for too long.
    • If it hurts, STOP! Don’t push past your limits.
    • Have a slow flow as you go from move to move.
    • Don’t go into a stretch cold. Do a warmup first. Ten minutes of light cardio tends to be enough, but some folks need more time to break a sweat.
  • Battle Grounds: A Look at Ground Turkey vs. Ground Beef

    Ground turkey versus ground beef is a battle for the ages.

    While some wouldn’t dare use ground turkey in their chili recipe, others have been substituting turkey for beef since before it was cool.

    From burgers to casseroles to tacos, there’s no doubt that both types of meat are delicious, versatile, and convenient for whipping up quick and tasty meals.

    Healthy debate

    Compared to ground beef, ground turkey is typically considered the healthier option due to saturated fat content. But you may be surprised at how closely these two stack up otherwise.

    Here’s the tale of the tape on ground turkey versus ground beef in terms of nutritional value, health benefits, and when to reach for one over the other.

    Head-to-head comparison

    Besides color, both types of meat look pretty similar in their ground form. Ground meat is, well, ground meat… right?

    However, the differences between them come from what’s inside. Let’s compare head-to-head. Below compares 3 ounces of lean ground beef versus 3 ounces of lean ground turkey, both 7 percent fat.

    Ground beef Ground turkey
    calories178181
    protein25 g23 g
    fat8 g9.9 g
    saturated fat3.3 g2.5 g
    cholesterol76 mg88 mg
    sodium73 mg76.5 mg
    iron2.7 mg1.3 mg
    zinc5.9 mg3.2 mg
    vitamin B6.4 mg.4 mg
    vitamin B122.4 mg1.6 mg

    As you can see, both are actually pretty darn comparable. Ounce for ounce, ground turkey has slightly more calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium compared to ground beef. However, ground beef has more protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins.

    Saturated fat is where they differ (though not by a ton), and that’s usually why turkey generally gets more “healthy” points than beef.

    Both ground turkey and ground beef are excellent sources of protein, which can help control appetite, boost metabolism, and increase muscle mass.

    Breaking down ground beef

    When it comes to comparison, taste is completely subjective. If we’re the judges, a lean ground turkey burger going up against an 80/20 beef burger in a taste competition is probably going to have a tough time.

    Objectively speaking, beef has its higher amount of fat content to thank for its juiciness and powerful flavor profile.

    While a hot-off-the-grill burger is probably its most popular use, ground beef is also excellent in tacos, meat sauces such as bolognese, meatballs, meatloaf, chili, baked pasta dishes (hello, lasagna), stuffed peppers, and Shepherd’s pie.

    Making a case for ground beef

    Generally, if you’re looking to make a recipe that will really benefit from a meat’s fat content and flavor — such as classic Italian meatballs or a juicy summer burger — opt for ground beef.

    Additionally, if you’re looking to add more protein, zinc, or iron to your diet, beef outshines turkey by a bit. Ground beef also contains fewer calories and less cholesterol.

    Taking apart ground turkey

    Ground turkey contains less saturated fat than ground beef while losing nothing in the cookability area.

    In fact, ground turkey is so popular because it’s a great paleo option for those looking for “leaner” versions of their favorite meals. It’s especially delicious in tacos, stuffed vegetables, sauces, and casseroles. 

    Making a case for ground turkey

    In dishes where seasonings, spices, or sauces are the primary sources of flavor, ground turkey is more than serviceable. If you’re looking for comparable texture to ground beef and don’t mind a more mild flavor profile, turkey is your best option.


    If you like your meat to have a higher fat content, ground turkey can dry out quicker while cooking than something like 80/20 ground beef. But if you’re cooking with the lean versions, both are pretty comparable.  

    So, which one is better for me?

    Besides the makeup and versatility of both types of meat, choosing between the two might come down to personal preference. Here’s a lightning round to help you decide:

    Flavor

    Opting for a bolder, richer, or more savory profile? Go with beef. (Think: tender meatballs in a wine-spiked tomato sauce.)

    Looking for a lighter flavor where the meat doesn’t overpower the other ingredients? Turkey is your best bet. (Think: crunchy and refreshing Asian-inspired lettuce wraps.)

    Dryness

    Less fat = less moisture, and ground turkey can get dry quicker than higher fat ground beef. To prevent this, pay extra attention to cooking temps when using ground turkey, or try cooking with a batch that has a higher fat percentage.

    Heart health

    Since ground turkey has less saturated fat than ground beef, it’s a good idea for heart health.

    One small study found that eating foods high in saturated fat increases the risk factors of heart disease by raising “bad” LDL cholesterol.

    Weight management

    If your goal is weight management, try cooking with 99 percent fat-free ground turkey. Fat-free turkey is the leanest and lowest-calorie option.

    Bottom line

    Choosing between these two versatile ground meat options mostly comes down to your flavor preferences. Otherwise, they’re fairly comparable across the board outside of long-term heart health benefits (ground turkey) and iron content (ground beef).

    Need dinner inspo ASAP? Try our favorite nutritious ground turkey recipes or high protein breakfasts made with leftover beef.

  • Cracking the Kitchen Code: Can You Freeze Eggs?

    Eggs are one of those household staples that can do everything from saving a boring breakfast to making (or breaking?) a cake.

    But what happens when you only need half that dozen? You might want to freeze the rest. Here’s how to save them safely.

    Can you freeze eggs? That depends.

    There are some important dos and don’ts for putting these bad boys on ice.

    Do:

    • Feel free to freeze raw eggs that are outside their shells.
    • Freeze cooked egg dishes (like scrambled eggs).

    Don’t:

    • Freezing hard-boiled eggs is a no-go.
    • Never freeze raw eggs that are still in their shell.
    Merrimon/Getty Images

    Egg freezing 101

    According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, uncracked, uncooked eggs can last up to 5 weeks in your fridge.

    So, what do you do if you’re stuck with more eggs than you can possibly use in a month and a half? Freeze ’em *after* a little proper prep.

    Which kinds of eggs can you safely freeze?

    As long as they’re out of their shells (a critical point!), you can pop any of these egg bits into the freezer:

    Which kinds of eggs shouldn’t you freeze?

    There are some types of eggs that shouldn’t be frozen.

    All yolks aside, what are the perks?

    Deep-freezing your eggs is a #LifeHack with some pretty cool benefits.

    Long-term storage. Freezing your eggs keeps ’em from going bad, thus avoiding food waste and wasted trips to the supermarket. (Mother Earth sends her thanks. 🌎🙏)

    Fluffier baked goods. One study indicated that the freeze-thaw process helps your egg whites foam better. Say hello to meringue, angel food cake, and other fluffy desserts!  

    Time savings. It’s no secret that the freezer makes meal prepping easier. Whip up a batch of scrambled eggs or quiche on the weekends, then thaw each day for easy-breezy breakfasts.

    Cool, but won’t freezing eggs affect flavor?

    Not really. Super-low temps won’t make your eggs taste funky, but the freezer *can* change the flavor of other ingredients in egg-based dishes.

    Also, store-bought frozen eggs could have added ingredients or preservatives that tweak the taste.

    Let’s hatch a plan: How to freeze eggs

    Ready to make your eggs last for up to 12 months? Freezing fresh food is like learning one of those TikTok dances — just follow the steps.

    Whole eggs

    1. Crack each egg into a mixing bowl and toss the shells.
    2. Gently whisk until the yolks and whites are fully integrated.
    3. Pour ’em into a freezer-safe container.
    4. Label the container with the date and number of whole eggs inside. (You don’t want to mix up the 2021 Easter eggs with the sweet summer 2021 egglets, do you?)

    Pro tip: For cooking purposes, consider freezing each egg individually.

    Egg whites

    1. Crack those babies and separate the egg whites from the yolks.
    2. Pour each egg white into a lidded ice cube tray or other tiny freezer-safe container.
    3. Label the container with the date and number of egg whites.

    Pro tip: Don’t toss the yolks! Freeze them separately or whip up a delicious lemon curd or custard.

    Egg yolks

    1. Crack and separate the eggs.
    2. Gently whisk the yolks until they’re a silky, sunshine-y liquid.
    3. For every four egg yolks, mix in 1/4 teaspoon of salt or sugar — which one depends on whether you’ll be using them for a sweet or savory bite later.
    4. Pour the yolks into a freezer-safe container.
    5. Label the container with the date and number of yolks inside.

    Scrambled eggs and other egg-cellent dishes

    You can totally freeze frittatas and scrambled eggs as long as you remember to thaw them and reheat them within 2 to 3 months.

    Here’s how:

    1. After cooking, cool the dish to room or fridge temp. To avoid bacterial growth, try to cool the food to 40°F (4°C) within 2 hours of cooking.
    2. Cover with an airtight lid and place in the freezer.
    3. Voilà!That’s literally it.

    Pro tip: Wanna freeze individual servings instead of a whole casserole? Just wrap the piece in plastic wrap, freeze until solid, then pop a few servings into a ziplock bag in the freezer for protection against freezer burn.

    So, what’s the *best* way to freeze eggs?

    Well, the only bad way to freeze an egg is in its shell. Once cracked, the best method depends on your #goalz.

    • If you’re pressed for time, freezing eggs whole is the fastest solution.
    • If you’re freezing them for a specific recipe, consider whether you’ll need the yolks, whites, or both. Freeze accordingly.

    How to thaw eggs

    The FDA says frozen eggs should be thawed, then cooked to 160ºF (71°C) before you eat them. That’s to avoid food poisoning, though — fair warning — even fresh, uncracked eggs can contain Salmonella bacteria. #TheMoreYouKnow

    Here’s how to thaw your frozen noms.

    Whole eggs, egg yolks, and egg whites. Place your frozen egglets in the fridge the night before you want to eat them. If you’re rushed, you could also thaw the eggs by placing the sealed, freezer-safe container under cold running water.

    PSA: Whether you’re dealing with whole eggs, egg whites, or yolks, cook them the same day you thaw them.

    Cooked egg dishes. Stick your frozen scrambler, quiche, or omelette in the fridge overnight. Then reheat the food in the oven (or microwave, if it’s a smallish serving). Easy peasy.

    tl;dr

    Freezing eggs can keep them fresh for months instead of days. Just remember to crack and whisk them before popping them in a freezer-bound container.

    Thawing eggs is just as easy as freezing them. Place them in the fridge overnight, then cook the next day.

  • 5 Biceps Stretches That Provide the Right Work Before the Workout

    Biceps stretches can complement any upper-body workout 💪 .

    Whether you’re new to the #FitFam (welcome!) or you’re a seasoned pro, these five moves will give you a top-notch stretch sesh.

    How to do biceps stretches properly

    These five biceps stretches are great for any fitness level. Here’s a rundown of each one.

    1. Standing biceps stretch

    This will stretch not only your biceps but also your chest and shoulders.

    To do a standing biceps stretch:

    1. Interlace fingers behind your back.
    2. Keep hands at the base of your spine.
    3. Straighten your arms.
    4. Lift arms as high as you can.
    5. Hold for up to 1 minute.

    Repeat 1–3 times.

    2. Seated biceps stretch

    This one’s similar to the standing stretch but should give you a little more arm extension.

    To do a seated biceps stretch:

    1. Sit your butt on the floor 🍑 .
    2. Bend your knees.
    3. Keep feet flat and place them in front of your hips.
    4. Place hands flat on the floor behind you, with fingers facing away from you.
    5. Scoot butt toward your feet but don’t move your hands.
    6. Hold for up to 30 seconds.
    7. Return to the starting position.

    Repeat 2–4 times.

    Alternate version:

    1. Stand and place your hands on a flat surface behind you.
    2. Squat halfway down until you feel the stretch.

    Pro tips:

    • Avoid arching or slumping your back.
    • Keep your spine, neck, and head in a straight line.

    3. Wall biceps stretch

    This is another one you’ll feel in your chest and shoulders.

    To do a wall biceps stretch:

    1. Press your right palm into a wall.
    2. Slowly turn away from the wall.
    3. Hold for up to 30 seconds.
    4. Repeat on the left side.

    Pro tip: Move your hands up or down until you find the sweet spot.

    4. Doorway biceps stretch

    In addition to stretching your biceps, this is a great way to open your chest. You can do this with one arm at a time or with both at once.

    To do a doorway biceps stretch:

    1. Stand in a doorway.
    2. Grasp the doorframe with right hand at waist level.
    3. Step forward with right foot and bend right knee.
    4. Keep elbow straight as you feel the stretch.
    5. Hold for up to 30 seconds.
    6. Repeat on the left.

    5. Overhead holding (hanging) biceps bar stretch

    This stretch works several areas at once. You’ll feel the burn in your core, upper back, shoulders, triceps, and biceps.

    To do an overhead holding (hanging) biceps bar stretch:

    1. Use a step, chair, or bench to reach a secure bar.
    2. Grip the bar firmly with both palms facing away from you.
    3. Keep hands shoulder-width apart and arms straight.
    4. Hang for up to 1 minute.
    5. Carefully press your feet back onto the step.
    6. Repeat up to 3 times.

    Pro tips:

    • Safety first! Make sure the bar is super secure before you do this stretch.
    • Don’t leap up to grab the bar — it increases your risk of injury.
    • Start slow. Stretch for 10–15 seconds and work your way up to a minute over a time.

    How biceps stretches help

    When done correctly, biceps stretches help:

    Common mistakes to avoid when stretching

    Even master stretchers can make a mistake. Watch out for these common biceps blunders:

    • Bouncing. If you’re doing a deep stretch, you might move or bounce your bod to ease the tension. This prevents your muscles from relaxing, which could lead to a muscle or tendon tear.
    • Not warming up. Don’t go into a stretch cold — it can cause a rip or tear. Always do a warmup first. This could be a 10-minute light cardio sesh, but for some folks, it might take longer.
    • Incorrect positioning. Poor positioning can make you miss the muscle you’re trying to stretch. A good way to tell if your form is on fleek is to feel the muscle with a free hand. It should feel tight during the stretch and looser afterward.
    • Pushing past your limit. You can’t become a contortionist overnight, fam. A stretch might feel slightly uncomfortable, but it should never be painful. Keep your flow slow and work your way up to deeper ranges of motion.
    • Stretching an injured muscle. Stretching an injured muscle may not be the best idea, depending on the nature of the injury. Even if you feel OK that day, consult a doctor or physical therapist before attempting to stretch an injured area, because it may do more harm than good.

    Is it possible to overstretch?

    Yes, it’s possible to flex your stretch too far. Stretching too rigorously or too often can lead to injury.

    Overstretched muscles can cause joint instability or create tiny tears in tendons or ligaments. It’s possible to put excessive pressure on your joints as well, which can cause injury.

    If you do wind up with a stretch-related ouchie, some good old RICE should do you nice:

    • Rest. Give your bod time to bounce back. Recovery time can depend on factors like gender, weight, age, and type of injury. But it’s always better to play it safe. Wait to resume physical activities until the pain is totally gone.
    • Ice. Apply a cold pack or bag of ice to the injured area. (A bag of frozen peas will do in a pinch 😉.) It can help manage pain and bring down swelling. Just be sure to cover your skin with a towel to prevent icy irritation.
    • Compression. If you have an injured neck, knee, elbow, ankle, or wrist, you might want to brace yourself. Compression can help prevent further injury. It can also help manage pain or swelling.
    • Elevation. This obvi isn’t possible if you have a back attack, but it works well with limbs. Elevate the injured area above your heart. 
  • Is Alcohol Legit for Killing Germs?

    Germs are on our mind more than ever… specifically, how to kill them. So if you’re wondering if alcohol-based sanitizers and cleaners are effective in keeping you as germ-free as possible, you’re in luck.

    When used in the right concentrations, alcohol can definitely kill certain bacteria and viruses on skin and household surfaces — including the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

    Here’s how alcohol actually works to kill those nasties, and how to sanitize and disinfect the right way.

    Xsandra/Getty Images

    How does alcohol kill germs?

    Alcohol molecules are able to target germs through a chemical process called “denaturation.”

    The denaturation process is simple: Alcohol molecules bond with the fat membrane that surrounds virus and bacteria cells, breaking it down. Once the membrane is gone, the cell’s insides are exposed and begin to dissolve. This kills the cell.

    When it comes to alcohol-based hand sanitizers, most contain either:

    • Isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol). Commonly known as rubbing alcohol and what is probably in your medicine cabinet.
    • Ethanol (ethyl alcohol). Chemically the same as drinking alcohol in your tequila or whiskey.

    Depending on the types of microbes you’re aiming to eliminate, ethanol is generally stronger than isopropanol. However, they’re both effective at getting rid of viruses and bacteria on skin and other surfaces. But, you have to have the right concentrations.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), products should have an alcohol concentration between 60 and 90 percent to be effective disinfectants.

    Also, alcohol-based sanitizers and disinfectants are for skin and surfaces ONLY. Never ever, EVER drink them. They’re not meant to kill germs inside your body… instead, they could end up killing you.

     Good ol’ handwashing is still No. 1

    Whenever possible, wash your hands with soap and water. It’s actually better than simply using an alcohol-based product.

    Washing your hands with soap and water causes a similar germ-killing process, but soap is much more effective at killing germs than alcohol.

    Does alcohol kill *all* germs? 

    When used in the right concentrations (that sweet spot between 60 and 90 percent!), alcohol can kill a bunch of germs, including:

    • Viruses. Alcohol can kill viruses like influenza, coronaviruses, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, herpes, rhinoviruses, and HIV.
    • Bacteria. Alcohol can kill common bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus.
    • Fungi. Alcohol is effective at eliminating fungal disease causing fungi like Coccidioides immitis and Blastomyces dermatitidis.

    Unfortch, alcohol is ineffective against viruses like polio and hepatitis A. And a 2017 review also found that other bacteria and viruses are becoming resistant to alcohol’s disinfecting power 😬. 

    What about COVID-19 prevention!?

    Using hand sanitizer and disinfecting surfaces are basically second nature in a COVID-19 world. But can alcohol actually kill the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)?

    According to a 2020 study, it can. The study found that SARS-CoV-2 was no match for alcohol’s germ-killing power when used properly.

    Cleaning 101: How to use alcohol to disinfect

    To reap alcohol’s disinfection benefits, make sure to choose products that have an alcohol content of at least 60 percent.

    Also, keep these tips in mind when using or storing alcohol-based products: 

    • Make sure they’re kept away from kids and pets.
    • Don’t use or store them near flames (they’re flammable AF!).
    • Make sure they’re sealed at all times to prevent evaporation. This can weaken the alcohol’s concentration.

    For cleaning your hands: How to use hand sanitizer

    Wash, wash, washing your hands is always your best defense against germs. But if hand sanitizer’s your only option, here’s how to use it: 

    1. Alcohol-based sanitizers work best when your hands look clean. So, remove any gunk from your hands (we’re talking dirt, debris, snack remnants, etc).
    2. Apply some sanitizer to one hand. Usually, a dime-sized amount will do the trick, but check the label for any product-specific directions.
    3. Rub those hands together. Be sure to not only get the surfaces, but those little nooks n’ crannies, too. The sanitizer needs to cover your palms, back of your hands, fingers, and the space between your fingers.
    4. Keep on rubbin’ until the sanitizer’s been absorbed into your skin. You’ll know it’s absorbed when your skin feels dry.
    5. Reapply any time you need to wash your hands and soap and water isn’t accessible.

    Remember, peep that label

    Try to get a hand sanitizer with an alcohol concentration of 60 percent ethanol or 70 percent isopropanol for max effectiveness.

    You should also check your hand sanitizer product for Methanol-contamination. This can be super dangerous and lead to serious health complications and even hospitalization. The FDA created this handy Do-Not-Use List to help you check.

    For disinfecting at home: How to clean everything else

    Here’s how to disinfect surfaces in your home with alcohol-based products: 

    1. Preclean prep: Wear gloves to protect your skin and make sure the area is well-ventilated.
    2. Before disinfecting, use soap and water to get rid of any visible dirt and debris from the surface.
    3. Read the product label! Follow the instructions listed. 
    4. Wipe down your surface, making sure it stays visibly wet for however long is recommended by the product label!
    5. If there are additional directions on the product label, follow them.

    Keep in mind

    Some viruses can live on surfaces for up to a week, so wipe down regularly. Aim for cleaning high traffic surfaces — like doorknobs, light switches, toilets, etc. — at least once a day. Disinfect multiple times a day if you or someone in your house is sick.

    No alcohol? No probs! Here’s what else works

    We can’t stress enough the effectiveness of good old-fashioned handwashing. It really is the best way to keep your hands as germ-free as possible — if you do it right.

    Handwashing 101 rules are easy: Completely wet your hands with water, lather with soap, and scrub-a-dub-dub for at least 20 seconds before rinsing and drying. (Need help knowing how long 20 seconds is? This nifty hand-washing lyrics generator turns your fave song into a 20 second washing jam.)

    For your household cleaning needs, there are several alternatives you can use, including:

    Check out the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a comprehensive list of disinfectants known to be effective against the new coronavirus.

    Can I clean with booze? 

    While your favorite boozy beverages may be tasty, they won’t kill germs on your hands or household surfaces. Alcoholic drinks only contain between 5 and 30 percent alcohol, making them ineffective in disinfecting skin or surfaces.

    Even if booze did contain enough alcohol to kill germs, they’re not formulated to stay on surfaces long enough to do so.

    And, if you’ve purchased a hand sanitizer made by a distillery, they’ve likely upped the alcohol concentration to make it an effective sanitizer. It’s not the same as drinkable beverage (so def don’t drink that Vodka or Tequila hand sani).

    Can drinking alcoholic beverages kill germs?

    Bottles of beer, whiskey, vodka, or wine are more effective at getting you through next week’s episode of “The Bachelor” than in fending off viruses or bacteria.

    Even at fatal levels, the concentration of alcohol in your fave boozy bevvies that actually enters the bloodstream isn’t enough to kill germs. As always, drink responsibly and be safe.

    Do not — we repeat, do NOT — drink alcohol-based cleaning products or sanitizers. There are serious risks to ingesting these products, like: 

    • coma
    • seizures
    • death

    Bottom line 

    Alcohol-based products with a concentration above 60 percent are an effective way to kill germs on hands and surfaces. When used properly, these products can destroy bacteria and viruses, including the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

    Alcohol-based sanitizers and disinfectants are for skin and surface use ONLY. Consuming them is not only ineffective in killing germs, but doing so can also cause serious damage.