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General Knowledge

Soap vs Hand Sanitizer

Soap vs Hand Sanitizer

During this Covid-19 Pandemic, the use of Hand Sanitizer has gone up very much. Many people wash their hands using normal Soap or Soap solutions like Handwash. Which one is better – Soap or Hand Sanitizer? Let us look into it.

  • Hand Sanitizer contains at least 60% Alcohol and it can disinfect our hands. But experts are of the opinion that Soap and Water is still a better and most effective solution. Soap and Water combination can remove Chemicals, all kinds of Germs and Viruses including the Novel Corona Virus and other Infectious Diseases. On the other hand, Hand Sanitizers do not eliminate everything though it is easier to apply.
  • Sanitizers work work well in Clinical Settings where hands are not heavily soiled or greasy. They cannot achieve the same level of cleanliness compared to Soap and Water in our daily work and community settings. People handle many types of equipment, play sports and the hands may be dirty and oily in day to day life. Sanitizers can’t clean them efficiently and completely.
  • Alcohol based Sanitizers are safe when we use it as per directives. They can cause Alcohol Positioning if swallowed in excessive quantities. For this reason, Hand Sanitizers are to be kept out of reach of children.
  • There are some bacteria, showing tolerance to low amounts of Ethyl Alcohol, which it the main component in the Hand Sanitizer
  • Soap molecules themselves, are very effective at destroying the surface membranes of some bacteria and viruses. Lathering of hands and scrubbing thoroughly creates friction. This friction in turn helps lift and wash away the dirt, grease and microbes running under the water.
  • Lesser concentration of alcohol merely reduce the growth of Germs rather than killing them

When to wash your hands

Handwashing is not a one-and-done exercise. Good hand hygiene throughout the day is vital to protecting your health as well as that of others. We touch many things in the course of a day, picking up all manner of grime and germs. The CDC recommends washing your hands:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Wash Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After using the bathroom, changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the bathroom
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • Wash After touching an animal, animal food or treats, animal cages or animal waste
  • After touching garbage
  • If your hands are visibly dirty or greasy

Protect your skin after washing

Whether you use Hand Sanitizer or Soap and Water combination to clean your hands, it can leave your skin red, chapped and even cracked. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends hydrating your hands immediately after washing. Use Hand Cream or Ointment containing Minerals or Petroleum Jelley, which comes in a tube and free from Fragrance and Dyes.

Source of Information: UCI Health

Disclaimer: Article published for public awareness only. Use Soap or Hand Sanitizer according to the situation and condition of your hands

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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