Soap or Sanitizer? Both.

. Wednesday, October 28


The most common way for any germ to enter the body is through the mouth, nose and eyes via the hands. Try to be aware of how often your hands stray to your face, and you will see for yourself just how infectious germs are carried to their target.

The difficulty of killing those germs on your hands arises when those left behind after washing or sanitizing develop a resistance to the agents in the products used to mutate and continue to infect. Ironically, the biggest culprit is antibacterial soap that leaves behind enough of a residue for the germs to become immune to it.

Washing your hands with warm water and soap is still the most effective way of preventing the spread of germs. But, it’s the technique that makes it so. It’s important to suds up and scrub for at least 20 seconds. That allows the suds to penetrate every nook and cranny of the skin, with the added benefit of actually cleaning your hands, especially in the bathroom. Plus, soap will kill e coli, a particularly potent germ that hand sanitizers won’t kill.

That’s not to say that hand sanitizers don’t have a place in the war against germs, as long as the product used contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Alcohol kills by dissolving the germ cell’s membrane and evaporates quickly so that nothing is left behind for the germs still present to become immune to.

Like soap and water, it is important to rub sanitizer into your hands until the alcohol evaporates. And don’t worry, it won’t dry out your hands.