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Will hand sanitizes protect you better than soap?

Updated on March 15, 2014
hand sanitizer
hand sanitizer

How to kill germs

There is a debate going on. Is it better to wash with soap and water, or use the no wash hand sanitizers to kill germs? The answer is, it depends.

There are some things better about washing, and some things better about sanitizers. There is an agreement that the most important thing about cleaning your hands is to kill germs. The main concern now is to stop the spread of and kill germs and viruses. There are many viruses and bacteria that you should be concerned about killing, E coli, staff infections and The H1N1 virus are very big concerns, especially in a hospital environment.

Washing with soap and water

Washing your hand with soap and water is a good idea. It cleans off dirt and grime, and also cleans off germs. Although it does not kill the germs, it does get them off your hands. This is the big reason why some people think that washing is not as good as sanitizers. People don't wash the way they should. You should rub your hands together with lather from the soap for 20 seconds. You also need to get between your fingers and around the nails. Most people would be surprised how long 20 seconds really is.

I'm sure you've been in the restroom and have seen people walk to the sink, turn on the water, run their hands under the water for 10 seconds, a little rub and their done. That type of hand washing does no good. It makes the germs wet, which may help them live longer on their hands, it does nothing to kill the germs or stop their spreading.


The alcohol based hand sanitizers are the best of the standard types. The amount of alcohol must be over 60% to be effective. Put a glob in your hand that is big enough to get both of your hands wet. Rub them together and between your fingers and around the nails. Rub until your hands are dry. This kills the bacteria and viruses. Any sanitizers and soaps that are antibacterial do not kill viruses, don't use them.

The main reasons that sanitizers are better. They are usable anywhere. You don't need a sink and soap and water. They kill the germs, not just wash them off. The germs can not infect anyone else because they are dead. Another reason is that people will use them more and will use them long enough to kill the germs.

There is some concern about the alcohol based products and being used by children, because of the high alcohol content. There have been a few cases noted of kids being intoxicated from licking it off their hands. Make sure you don't let them lick their hands while the sanitizer is wet.

New sanitizer

There is a new type of hand sanitizer called Dephyze. It is suppose to kill 3 times the amount of germs. The product is much more expensive than alcohol based sanitizers. Another claim that is very interesting is the company claims that you get up to 2 hours of germ killing protection after you use the product.

Kill the germs

The bottom line is. Hand washing is good if it is done correctly for the right length of time, it removes dirt and grime and washes off germs. The hand sanitizers are more effective, because people can carry it on them, and will use it when needed. The sanitizers are very effective because they kill the germs. Keep your hands clean, and stay healthier.


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    • Beckkellogg profile image

      Rebecca Kellogg 5 years ago from New York

      You have provided a lot of great information here. I personally like to use soap and water to wash my hands. Hand sanitizers tend to dry my skin out worse. To help make sure you have washed your hands for twenty seconds, you can sing the ABC's.

    • profile image

      pat 7 years ago

      My understanding on hand sanitizers,not only does it kill bad germs but also the good ones. Lady dr. said this is really why we have more colds. Needs comments on this please.