Handwashing and using Hand Sanitizers can significantly help people combat viral infections, colds, flu, and even COVID-19. Both of these products have been around forever, but with all of the refocused attention, people usually wonder which one is more effective. Both of these processes have their pros and cons that you should be aware of.
The major difference between hand washing and hand sanitizing is how effectively each of these processes eliminates germs in a given situation. Here’s all you need to know about hand washing vs. hand sanitizer and the best way to keep you and the people around you safe and healthy.
Major Differences Between Handwashing & Hand Sanitizer
Before we determine which one is most effective, it is important to know the significant differences between them. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is more precise at killing bacteria and viruses, whereas hand washing with soap and warm water can effectively remove all dirt, microbes as well as chemicals from your hands.
Hand Sanitizers come in various types and forms, including wipes and gels. According to the CDC, every kind of hand sanitizer must contain at least 60% alcohol to kill germs off the hands. So now that we know how each one cleans your hands, let’s delve into the pros and cons of handwashing with soap vs. using hand sanitizers.
Pros & Cons of Hand Sanitizer
One of the major benefits of using hand sanitizers is the convenience factor. You can easily squirt and rub it in your hands and then move on with your activity. Another advantage of using hand sanitizers is they are alcohol-based. The alcohol in hand sanitizers can potentially kill nearly all germs on your hands. But make sure to purchase the type of hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol so that it can genuinely kill all the viruses and bacteria present on your hands.
When you have to rely on hand sanitizer, it is good to know it is very effective. But using hand sanitizers is generally prioritized when hand cleaning is necessary, and there is no handwashing station to your reach.
However, a study has shown that hand sanitizers are incapable of removing every kind of germ from your hands that hand washing can remove. Hand sanitizers usually kill most viruses and bacteria from your hands, but they do not necessarily remove them. On the other hand, the process of handwashing successfully removes all the germs, dirt, and harmful chemicals from your hands through cleansing and rinsing. Moreover, if you are caught up in an exceptionally messy activity or food prep, hand sanitizers will not prove to be as helpful as washing your hands with soap and water might.
Pros & Cons of Handwashing
Washing your hands with soap and water is the most preferred and scientifically proven method for removing every kind of dirt and germ from your hands. A significant benefit of hand washing over hand sanitizing is knowing that all germs present on your hands are successfully removed, especially harmful chemicals and heavy metals. After washing your hands, you do not need to wonder if your hands are properly cleaned or not
Moreover, hand washing with soap and water proves to be useful in every situation. Whether you are finishing off your garden, visiting a sick friend or family member, or preparing food, proper hand washing will always get the job done. Moreover, these days, hand washing can be as convenient as hand sanitizers as more facilities offer outdoor and portable sinks for handwashing to keep everyone healthy and safe.
The Final Verdict: Choose Handwashing Over Hand Sanitizer
Washing hands with lukewarm water and soap is considered to be the most effective way to remove all harmful chemicals, germs, and dirt from your hands. Therefore, whenever it is possible, make sure to properly wash your hands with soapy water for at least 20 to 30 seconds rather than relying on hand sanitizers.
However, if you are caught up in a particular situation where there is no soap or water available and hand sanitizer is the only accessible product, then it will undoubtedly help you in such conditions.
How often should you clean your hands?
Washing your hands right before having meals is essential in order to prevent germs. You should also make sure to properly wash your hands before food preparation, going to visit a sick relative or friend, and touching your face. Furthermore, do not forget to wash your hands after using the washroom, taking out the trash, touching your pets, coughing or sneezing into your hands, or blowing your nose.
Are Hand Sanitizers Effective Against COVID-19?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of infections and decrease the likelihood of getting sick is by properly washing your hands with the help of soap and fresh water.
Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds has proven essential in order to avoid contracting viral infections, including Covid-19. In some instances when soap and water are not easily accessible, CDC suggests that people should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol in its composition.
Why Should I Be Using Antibacterial Soap to Wash My Hands?
The best way to avoid the spread of viral infections and minimize the risk of getting sick is by washing your hands with plain soap and water. There is currently no evidence present that shows consumer antiseptic wash products, also known as antibacterial soaps, are more effective at preventing infections and diseases than plain soap and water.
In fact, a study has shown that a soap containing antibacterial ingredients can potentially do more harm than good in the long term, but more research is needed on this concern.
How Should I Use an Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer?
Firstly, make sure that you have purchased an alcohol-based hand. To use it, put an adequate amount of sanitizer on your hands to cover all surfaces, after that, scrub it on your hands until they are completely dried.