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Post an Article - MoreBlog Articles > Hand Soap & Lotion

Is Hand Sanitizer Better Than Soap?

Font Size:big - mid - smallnbyongshang   Release time 09-07-29 15:42     view:950   coomment:0   source:

Whether or not using a hand sanitizer instead of regular soap is better could depend on your definition of "better". An alcohol-based hand sanitizer does kill more bacteria in a shorter time than most hand soaps, but true effectiveness is not always measured by sheer volume of dead bacteria. There are other contaminants to consider, and a hand sanitizer may not address all of them as well as regular soap and water might. Using a hand sanitizer is definitely better than using nothing at all, but a good hand soap can be virtually as effective under the right conditions.


There is one kind of soap, however, which is not generally considered to be as effective as liquid hand sanitizer. Ironically enough, many antibacterial soaps are not as effective as hand sanitizer.


Antibacterial soaps use a chemical such as triclosan to kill bacteria on the skin's surface. At first this may sound like a good thing, but triclosan needs a significant amount of time to become effective, not the usual 30 seconds most people spend during the handwashing process. A liquid hand sanitizer, on the other hand, remains in contact with the skin long enough to allow the alcohol or other sanitizing agents to finish the job of killing off harmful bacteria.


Regular soap actually works in two different ways to remove surface dirt, bacteria and other contaminants. A fatty ingredient bonds to the contaminants and skin oils, while a detergent breaks the surface tension and allows water to wash away the suspended particles. This can have a drying effect on the skin, and many beneficial bacteria are also washed away in the process. A liquid hand sanitizer, on the other hand, chemically destroys bacteria without washing away the skin's natural oily layer. With most hand sanitizer products, no rinsing is required.


There is also the consideration of perfumes and deodorants present in bath soaps. While most soaps designed for handwashing are lightly scented or unscented, some soaps may leave behind a strongly scented residue. This residue could transfer to utensils, food and beverages through normal handling. Almost all hand sanitizer brands are unscented although they still may have some kind of scent. Still, hand sanitizers should have no possibility of transferring an unpleasant taste to food or drink. A hand sanitizer should be given enough time to dry thoroughly, however.


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