Hand wash vs hand sanitiser: Which is more effective?

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When it comes to washing our hands, we often seek the easy way out. From using hand sanitiser as a quick-fix, to splashing our hands under the tap, washing hands can sometimes be a rushed task.

But, how do you know that your hands are really clean?  Is it the soap or the technique you use or the duration of the wash? Does an anti-bacterial soap clean your hands more effectively than regular soap?

First, let’s unpack three hygiene facts you should know:

Fact 1: If hand sanitiser is your go-to remedy:

When you use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, it cleans your hands and removes germs more effectively than regular soap. It’s recommended that you use a hand sanitiser with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Non-alcoholic hand sanitisers may not remove the germs at all. If your hands are greasy or dirty, this also reduces the chances of the non-alcoholic hand sanitisers effectively cleaning your hands.

Fact 2: If you regularly use soap and water:

Washing your hands with soap reduces the number of microbes on your skin – something hand sanitiser may fail to do. It’s recommended that you lather your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before rinsing. Pour a dollop of liquid or bar soap into the palm of your hands. Wash each hand individually and rub between your fingers and remove any dirt under your fingernails. Knowing how to wash your hands properly is as important as the intention.

Fact 3: Should you opt for an anti-bacterial soap?

The answer is…not really. Both soaps have pros and cons. Anti-bacterial soaps are especially effective in hospitals and other medical facilities. But by overusing anti-bacterial soap you may be removing healthy bacteria already on your skin. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over time, this can make the antibiotics less effective. Regular soap will not kill healthy bacteria on your hand and are generally less expensive. If you use regular soap, store it in a closed container to avoid germ or bacteria build-up.

So, which is the better option for you?

The correct washing technique combined with simple soap probably remains the best every day option if you wash your hands regularly.

Consider using a hand sanitiser only when you do not have access to water and soap.

Bathroom cleaning as well as any other surrounding areas should be taken just as seriously as hand hygiene. Make sure you use Domestos Lavender Blast and read our cleaning guides for inspiration on keeping your house and toilets sparkling clean while leaving a fresh and pleasant odour.