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Hand Sanitizer vs. Soap and Water

Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Hand Hygiene Tips and other Public Restrooms topics.

What makes hand sanitizer different than soap?

Hand Sanitizer vs. Soap and Water

In the past, bathrooms all but exclusively contained soap and water, and that was it as far as hand washing. Today, there are many traditional soap companies introducing advanced hand sanitizer to the market. These new products are great for many situations, especially when handling babies or infants. What is the difference between hand sanitizer and soap?

Traditional soap is made from many different ingredients, all aimed at removing the surface dirt and grime. While this is important, it is usually not enough when wanting to ensure not only cleanliness but sanitization. Hand sanitizer, on the other hand, is usually alcohol based. The alcohol is effective in killing all bacteria that may be on your hands and is the far better choice for those touchy (no pun intended) situations.

Looking for hand hygiene tips on sanitizers? For the best results, use hand sanitizer after you have already washed with soap and water. The combination of the two will have you as clean as a surgeon waiting for surgery.



6/27/2006 8:03:44 PM
anita said:

This is sponsored by a company who sells sanitizing products. That being said, I'm a mother of 2 disabled children. One still in diapers and drools and the other who usually can't get his wheelchair into private or public restroom to wash his hands.I have a storage of hand sanitizer bottles. I keep them in their backpacks, the boat, cabin, every vehicle we own. I believe in soap/water. But sanitizers have kept my boys clean & healthy in a pinch

10/17/2007 7:16:07 PM
Isabel said:

This helped me very much with my science fair project which is: Does hand sanitizer work better than regular soap? Thank you for posting this! It saved me asome time! :) You don't even know!

12/8/2008 4:33:49 PM
mysriuos said:

is there any way you can give more detail if a person was doing a science project on this?

12/31/2008 7:12:21 AM
noname said:

I worked in a public hospital as a nursing student on an infection control rotation; with that said, it is best practice to use hand sanitizers if the hands are not visibly soiled- otherwise soap and water does the trick. (Most hand sanitizers have emollients that protect your skin- and reduce dryness with repeated use)Not a good idea to use both methods back to back, as the soap and water removes both the natural oils that protect your skin and the bacteria... by doing both, you only increase the chance of skin breakdown and thus, more areas for bacteria to hide, and uncomfortable and inadequate hand hygiene next time... (dry skin cracks... etc)

2/7/2009 8:40:49 AM
jeanette said:

hi! i think that hand sanitizers should only be used when you have no other option. also, how do we know that the 0.1% of germs that it doesn't kill isn't the most harmful??


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