Hand Sanitizers vs Soap and Water; Which is better?
Thorough hand hygiene has become paramount. A lot of the communicable diseases can be greatly curbed with the use of proper hand hygiene. The reason for that being that humans use hands as a medium to do everything. Be it using their phones or controlling devices, eating, opening doors, lifting things, manual labour or even office workplace.
The CDC has recommended the use of soap and water to clean hands but in case that it is not possible, the use of hand sanitizers is also highly recommended.
The question then arises. Which is better?
If we are talking in terms of removing all types of bacteria and germs, nothing beats washing your hands with actual soap. The reason for that being that soap binds with the bacteria, germs and viruses present along with the dirt and grime and completely removes it with the application of water which then just washes it away.
In an interview with Allure Magazine, a New York based gastroenterologist, Niket Sonpal says, "The consensus between the CDC and medical professionals alike is that the gold standard for maintaining hand hygiene is proper and consistent washing of the hands."
The reason for that being that Hand Soaps are simply more thorough with the way it gets rid of all type of Germs.
There seems to be a misconception out there that anti-bacterial soaps are better. As Sonpal says "Most soaps are sufficient. If you want to go the extra mile with antibacterial soaps you can, but according to the CDC studies have shown that there is no added benefit to using antibacterial soap over regular soap."
At this point the use of anti-bacterial soap may only be that extra level of mental relief for the consumer.
However, it is not always possible that you would have access or the time to go and wash your hands and be thorough about it. That is where hand sanitizers come in.
Sonpal says, "The benefit of hand sanitizer is the ability to combat germs when water and soap are not immediately available."
When you use hand sanitizers, what the best hand sanitizers does is reduce the microbial counts on your hands and kills many of the harmful germs. When it comes to transmittable diseases like flu and virus, use of hand sanitizer can really come in handy. It is however important to note that while thorough handwashing can remove any and all types of germs, In order to keep the workplace a healthy and thriving environment, it's critical that employers take into account the health of its employees.
At the end of the day we also must consider that Hand sanitizers are not active against all types of germs. The alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which are recommended by the CDC, do not provide protection against noroviruses. These are those that can cause diarrhoea. However, it is also true that Hand Sanitizers can also make a lot of microbes inactive.
CDC states that most of the time when hand sanitizers don’t do their job, it is because the users don’t use a large enough volume or end up wiping their hands before it dries.
So, at the end of the day it is safe to say that even though handwashing with soap should be the priority but when you are out and about or in a workplace it is advised that you always keep a hand sanitizer with you.