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Hand Sanitiser vs. Soap and Water – Which is Preferable?

Washing hands is an effective way to minimise the spread of germs and deadly diseases. In recent times, we are fortunate to have multiple ways to keep our hands clean thanks to the invention of hand sanitisers.

Now, here is a quick question: Is hand sanitiser more effective or superior to washing hands the old fashioned way?

Washing Hands with Soap

Over and again, washing hands with soap and water has been proven to rid bacteria that could cause debilitating disease. Washing with hand soap, however, does not necessarily mean it can kill the bacteria.

When washing with soap, dirt, and germs trapped within the natural oils of the skin are lifted and suspended in water. In order to ensure efficacy, washing hands must be done well.

To effectively wash hands:

  • 1-3 ml of soap should be used, with just enough water to make a lather.
  • Scrubbing between fingers, fingernails and wrists should be done in no less than 20 seconds.
  • Thorough rinsing should be done, and lastly
  • Hands should be dried after washing.

Recent research has shown that drying is very important to the effectiveness of hand hygiene. If you do not dry your hands properly after washing, it could turn into a breeding environment for bacteria to spread.

The Facts about Hand Sanitisers

Hand sanitiser use bottled gels as an alternative for old-fashioned handwashing with soap and water.

Do hand sanitisers virtually kill 99% of germs as they claim? Of course, they do. However, not precisely on the hands. The truth is, these products are commonly tested on inanimate surfaces and the claim of its effectiveness is based totally on that. But, if tested on hands, the outcomes will be exceptional.

Hand sanitiser is an excellent alternative when the right facilities are not available. However, it shouldn’t replace washing hands with soap and water because there are more aggressive forms of bacteria available that sanitiser cannot fight.

Additionally, hand sanitisers aren’t as efficient as soap and water in reducing dirt and grease. So if your hands are visibly dirty, it is better to wash with soap and water. If not, you can make use of hand sanitisers.

The main ingredient in hand sanitiser is alcohol. The alcohol kills the bacteria by softening the bacterial membrane, permitting the alcohol to render micro-organism useless.

But this doesn’t mean that you should use any hand sanitiser containing alcohol. Always choose the one with at least 60% alcohol — anything less is regarded as ineffective.

It is also essential to know how to use hand sanitisers properly. Firstly, do not be too conservative with the quantity. Squirt two to three pumps of the product on the surface of your hand, rubbing the entire surface of your hands. Ensure you do not exclude your fingers and underneath your nails; don’t stop until the product dries out.

Hand Hygiene In The Workplace

Having a pleasant and safe working environment is one of the most crucial requirements for any employee. After all, most of us sacrifice almost all of our weekly hours to work at a paid rate.

So long as working conditions are concerned, there are some things that generally tend to irritate some employees, including poor water quality or access to none at all, unfavourable temperatures, offensive odours, messy kitchen environment, and a lack of hygiene.

The workplace is perhaps the most common place to contact diseases. However, the only way to reduce the contamination of diseases is to ensure that the environment is kept clean, and it involves more than simply emptying bins or vacuuming the floor.

Wiping off your keyboard, telephone, and desk is the number one place to start eliminating bacteria. The kitchen region is likewise critical. Having things like liquid soap, clean towels, towel roll dispensers, and bench wiping liquid can also help this region stay clean. Finally, and most significantly, is the washroom area.

Particularly in working environments such as schools, hand sanitisers bring about reducing the spread of infection via dirty hands.

The Ultimate School Washroom Guide shows you how to take proper care of your school washroom and protect the health of all the staff and students.

Keeping hands clean is vital in reducing the spread of diseases because it’s our hands that do most of the work and come in contact with multiple people as well as items around the office. Good quality liquid soap, sanitising systems, and anti-bacterial products must be made available at all times.

So, Which is Better?

In case you are evaluating whether to spend money on hand sanitisers or on hand soap dispensers, there shouldn’t be a debate.

Both are very important in the workplace to help workers stay healthy and happy. Both are effective at protecting you from bacteria and viruses.

If there are specks of dirt or oils on your hands, the best way to clean it is to use hand soaps with water. Hand sanitisers should not replace hand washing with soap but in areas where there is no water available, or instances when you need to immediately disinfect your hands, hand sanitisers come very handy.

These should have a significant place in your office, too — have them strategically positioned in some areas of the workplace e.g doorways, elevators, floors etc. If this is implemented, it will be much easier for them to remember to keep their hands clean.

Need a hand soap dispenser or hand sanitisers in your workplace? Alsco provides fully-managed hand care systems and supplies for a convenient and cost-effective hygiene solution for your workplace.

Enquire now and get the best price quote!


Image Courtesy: Flickr Image by Chiot’s Run

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