Is using hand sanitiser as effective as soap and water?
When you enter a hospital, an airport, a grocery store or many other public places, there’s often times a hand sanitiser dispenser waiting for you. The world is filled with different kinds of germs, but it’s not possible to walk around with clean water and antibacterial soap everywhere you go. If you use hand sanitiser, do you still need to wash your hands?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand sanitiser is a great method for reducing some bacteria, such as E. coli, from your hands when soap and water aren’t available. However, it should not replace washing your hands because, while it can reduce the number of microbes on your hands, it does not eliminate it entirely. Washing your hands with a antibacterial soap (or hand wash) and water actually carries the bacteria away from the surface of your hands. Washing your hands with water alone can remove some of the germs, but using antibacterial soap will increase the effectiveness because the soap pulls the bacteria off to be swept away by the water.
LJOILS recommends using an antibacterial hand sanitiser only as a last resort, using a large amount, getting to places like fingernails and between fingers, and letting it dry on your hands completely to stop bacterial growth. Sanitisers should contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective in killing germs and viruses. By using a hand sanitiser with less than 60% alcohol, you risk the chance of only slowing the growth of the bacteria.
However, there are some situations where a hand sanitiser may not be efficient at all, like if your hands get dirty from gardening or cooking in the kitchen with raw meat. In those cases, the recommended method would be to wash your hands with soap and warm water. Even though a sanitiser may kill some germs in some situations, it won’t remove the grime or grease from your hands. A hand sanitiser is also not a great method for removing chemicals, such as pesticides, from your hands. The protein and fats in foods can reduce alcohol’s germ-killing effect.
Is a hand sanitiser convenient?
Yes it is! and it will make do in a pinch. But nothing compares to good ol’ soap and water when it comes to cleaning your hands — especially after touching the dirtiest places in your home.
Remember a good antibacterial hand wash or soap is designed to not just clean your hands but help protect them from any germs and viruses that you might of touched when you were out and about. You never know who has left some nasty germs behind or who is carrying a viruses that might not be showing any symptoms yet. It always pays to be careful and washing your hands with a good antibacterial hand wash or soap will help to get rid of the germs and viruses that might cause you to get sick.
Below are a number of products that have been scientifically produced and designed specifically to help you protect yourself from getting sick, picking up germs and bringing viruses home.