Hand Sanitizer vs Handwashing: Which Is Best for Preventing the
Spread of Germs?
Handwashing or the use of a hand rub agent can reduce the levels of transient viruses on the hands both by inactivating the viruses and by physically removing the germs from the skin.
Washing your hands with water and soap is extremely useful to prevent the spread of germs. However, sometimes when we are out for grocery shopping, soap and water might not be readily available. That’s why the gel hand sanitizers come in handy. It is easy to carry to all places and have your hands sanitized on the spot.
Because hand sanitizers are practical and easy to use, we see it everywhere at the entrance of places such as grocery, clothes, and retail stores around the globe. If you ever have been to a hospital or any clinic, you will remember some bottles of hand sanitizers available even before the Covid19 pandemics.
So, which one is the best? Well, both are effective. However, some studies demonstrated that hand sanitizers, or alcohol-based solutions, for hand hygiene remove organisms more effectively, require less time, and irritate the skin less often than handwashing with soap or other antiseptic agents and water.
Although hand sanitizers are less irritating, it is important to apply a moisturizer often to keep the skin hydrated and less prone to small ruptures.
The Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings. Recommendations of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee and the HICPAC/SHEA/APIC/IDSA Hand Hygiene Task Force. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5116a1.htm Accessed on June 12th, 2020.
Rotter ML. Alcohols for antisepsis of hands and skin. in: Handbook of Disinfectants and Antiseptics. Marcel Dekker Inc, New York1992: 177-233