Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hand Washing Vs Hand Sanitizer - Does One Reign Supreme?

Jeremy P Stanfords

Hand sanitizer products have really exploded over the past few years. It seems that everyone is carrying a personal bottle in their purse or in a coat jacket. Many offices have a dispenser sitting on a desk and conference rooms and cafeterias have wall mounted dispensers. So how effective is this method for cleaning our hands as compared to old fashion soap and water?

Hand Sanitizer Versus Soap And Water

Washing your hands with soap and water or rubbing your hands with hand sanitizer are both going to kill germs and bacteria. Either method is effective at killing the vast majority of germs and stopping the spread of cold, flu, and other viruses and illnesses. They will also disinfect the hands after handling raw meat and eggs in order to prevent salmonella and food poisoning. Overall, if both are effective, what are their main differences?

When To Use Sanitizers

When it comes to convenience, hand sanitizers take the crown. Especially in cold and flu season, having a convenient method for sanitizing the hands, no matter where you are, is vital in protecting against communicable diseases. A small bottle in a purse or coat pocket is like portable protection against colds and viruses. A dispenser at your office or desk does the same thing at work or in class. Otherwise, you are struck trying to find a sink every time you need to wash your hands.

Dispensers can be placed anywhere that people get together. A wall mounted dispenser is ideal for use in schools, cafeterias, conference rooms, and any communal area. People can quickly grab a dollop of hand sanitizer and be protected before meals or when meeting with other people.

When To Rely On Soap And Water

A good old fashion lather and rinse with soap and water is still the best way to get a deep cleaning. Doctors and surgeons will still scrub up before and after meeting with patients. Commercial cooks and food handlers also lather up before cooking. It is not that other sanitizers are ineffective, but professionals that are handling tools and food that will go into the body need to be 100% certain they have thoroughly disinfected. In these cases, any type of contamination could lead to illness or infection.

For everyone else, soap and water is still a good idea when time permits and a sink is nearby. It is always a good idea to take the time to wash your hands before preparing meals or handling cleaners and other household chemicals. After coming working outside or in the garage, soap is still the best bet to cut through all the grease and dirt.

Overall, both methods work to keep the hands clean and kill germs. Take advantage of the convenience and portability of hand sanitizer dispensers to help stop the spread of germs when you are out and about.

Author writes about a variety of topics. If you would like to learn more about hand sanitizers, visit

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