Soap and Sanitizer: The Showdown

Soap and Sanitizer: The Showdown

Before 1988, if you wanted to get your hands clean and kill germs, you only really had one option, to wash your hands with soap and water. Since hand sanitizer was created, there has been confusion over which is superior: hand sanitizer or soap.

Hand soap has been around for centuries and has always been tried and true, but hand sanitizer has come in making big claims about its supreme germ killing properties. So many wonder, what is really better to use? The answer is that it simply depends.

The Difference

Hand soap and sanitizer clean your hands in two different ways: hand sanitizer kills the germs on contact, while soap works to almost completely remove dirt, germs and grime from your hands. Hand sanitizer removes germs, hand soap removes germs and cleans hand of soils.

Both hand soap and sanitizer are great at getting rid of germs and bacteria on our hands, with hand sanitizer doing so more effectively because it kills the germs instead of just removing them. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are the most effective, with the CDC recommending formulas with at least 60 percent alcohol.

What it Means

Hand sanitizer was originally created for people like those in the healthcare industry who need clean, sanitized hands but don’t have the time to be always running to the sink to wash them. For what it was created for, hand sanitizer is perfect.

However, it has not made hand soap obsolete like some believe. We still very much need hand soap for proper hygiene. Hand sanitizer is great for killing most of the germs on our hands, but if there’s anything else on your hands like dirt or grease, hand sanitizer isn’t going to do the job.

The Conclusion

In general, experts still say that soap and water should be your first choice to get your hands clean. With proper technique, hand washing is the best way to get your hands clean.

For ultimate hygiene, you can use hand sanitizer after you’re finished washing your hand to catch any stray remaining germs and any germs picked up from the faucet or paper towel dispenser.


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