ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Is a Hand Sanitizer Better Than Soap?

Updated on April 20, 2020
ahmed992 profile image

I am an Internist and practice medicine. I believe prevention is the key to better health.

With the corona pandemic, the use of sanitizers has enormously increased. You won’t find sanitizers easily these days in stores or maybe you are lucky to find one - but with double the price.

I have noticed people using hand sanitizers even at homes, getting in and out of their cars, and doing routine daily activities as the fear of COVID-19 has spread. The COVID-HORROR as I call it has compelled people adopting such practices that are not scientific.

Since people have stocked hand-sanitizers, this has lead to an extreme shortage. I don't how people are making up for the shortage.

I have seen our nursing staff mixing water with hand-sanitizers to ensure availability.

Do You know ...


Wash Your Hands and You won't need Vitamins to Boost your Immunity

So, it's more cost-effective than vaccinations, sanitizers, and immune-booster vitamins. Handwashing with soap prevents the two most common diseases in the developing world - respiratory tract infections and diarrheal diseases - the top causes of child mortality.

In developed countries, hand washing prevents people from getting infections like influenza, norovirus, and rotavirus infections. It is one of the important steps to prevent hospital-acquired infections such as clostridium difficile diarrhea and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.

Do you know ...


Why people prefer hand-sanitizers?

Hand-sanitizers are portable. They are convenient to keep in a purse, pocket, bag, or car. They can be used frequently and easily. This is especially true in situations where water and soap are not accessible.

Do You Know?

Hand sanitizers do not prevent you from infections caused by norovirus, cryptosporidium, giardia, and clostridium difficile.

Use Soap and Water Where Available ...

Sanitizers are costly and they can cause stinging and allergic reactions. They can have adverse effects in patients with skin disorders such as eczema. Incidental ingestion of a hand-sanitizer by a child can be fatal.

They can kill most bacteria and viruses, however, if the hands are dirty, the cleaning may be compromised. This is because the bacteria and other germs can hide in the dirt. The application of hand-sanitizer without rinsing with water may not be sufficient in these cases.

With water and soap, the germs are killed and washed away into the drain. Water and soap also remove the dirt and physically clean the hands and surfaces of the debris and dirt.

A bactericidal soap may be used for killing the bacteria but studies have shown that regular soap is as good as a bactericidal soap.

Medicated (Bactericidal) soaps and regular (perfume) soaps are equally effective

Are you using the right hand sanitizer?

Hand sanitizers should be used as an alternative to soap and water. Sanitizers should contain a minimum of 60% alcohol or 95% ethanol or isopropanol according to the FDA.

Some hand sanitizers contain benzalkonium chloride which can kill viruses and bacteria but may not be sufficiently effective as alcohol-based sanitizers.

This is very important especially, during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, since benzalkonium chloride is not effective against COVID-19.

The novel coronavirus has a lipid-containing outer membrane and soaps and detergents can break the lipid membrane killing the virus. Sanitizers that contain 62% or more of alcohol-based preparations are equally effective in breaking the lipid membranes of the viruses.

There isn’t any benefit if you use hot or cold water when washing your hands.

Does the duration of use affect the efficacy?

The duration of hand-washing is also important. A minimum of 20 seconds of washing hands with a soap followed by rinsing with water is recommended by most experts.

Similarly, when using a hand sanitizer, the amount should be enough to take 20 seconds to dry while continuously rubbing it.

Do You Know?

95% of people don’t wash their hands for 20 seconds or more.

To Summarize ...

Where a sink, clean water, and soap are available, washing hands with soap and water should be preferred. This is also true if the hands are dirty.

Hand sanitizers may be used in settings where hand washing is not feasible. It is important to note that sanitizers should not replace hand washing before you eat.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)