Hand Wash & Soap
The consensus between the world's leading health institutions - including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) - is that the gold standard for maintaining hand hygience and preventing the spread of illness is 'proper and consistent washing of the hands'.
Is there a difference between antibacterial and non-actibacterial hand washes?
- The world's leading health institutions have concluded there is zero evidence that antibacterial handwash is more effective at preventing illness. The FDA has accounced that many soaps marketed as being antibacterial (excluding hospital grade soaps) are no more effective than "plain" soap and water.
- The FDA USA has banned the marketing of "antibacterial" soaps.
- Antibacterial soaps have all the same properties as regular soap, but with an extra ingredient added that is intended to stop the bacteria remaining on your skin from replicating. The idea is that this additive will further protect the hand-washer from harmful bacteria as compared to regular soap. This additive has no effect on killing viruses, the focus of the additive is to reduce the risk from bacterial germs. The most common antibacterial additive found in consumer hand soaps is a compound called triclosan.
The science behind hand washing:
- Soap works better than alcohols and disinfectants because it abolishes the structure of viruses. Soap molecules dissolve the fat membrane (what holds the virus together), and the virus falls apart like a house of cards. No fat membrane = sad and destroyed germ.
- You need to lather and work in the soap properly for it to be effective. Who recommends a minimum of 60 seconds of washing hands for the soap to work to the best of its ability.
Hand wash is more effective than hand sanitizer:
- Officials have urged people not to view sanitizer as a replacement for soap and water. Sanitizer should only be used if soap and water are not immediately available.
- Hand sanitizer may kill viruses and certain bacteria, but it does not clean your hands like soap and water do. Sanitizer does not remove dirt, grime and debris. It is also only effective if it has a high concentration of alcohol that is 60^ of more.
- Soap kills viruses - it binds them and helps physically remove them. With the water it goes off your skin and down the drain.