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Comparing Antibacterial Soap, Hand Sanitizer and Regular Soap

Soaps

We’ve always heard that’s it is a good idea to wash your hands before eating, shaking hands and after being out and about. However, what is the best way to clean your hands. Here is a comparison of antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer and regular soap.

Antibacterial Soap

I always thought this was the best soap because it cleaned your hands and gave extra protection against germs. According to WebMD’s article Researchers See Potential Health Hazards; Manufacturers Say Products Are Safe, “in 2005, an FDA advisory panel concluded that antibacterial soaps, as used by the general public, don’t prevent illness any better than ordinary soap, and they may contribute to the rise of resistant bacteria.” Additionally, “triclosan and triclocarban — have potential to affect sex hormones and interfere with the nervous system. The soap is also been linked to autism.” Some do not agree with these claims. In fact, a spokesman for the Soap and Detergent Association says they are perfectly safe. While these claims are still being researched, the bottom line is that the benefits of antibacterial soap do not outweigh its potential risks. Additionally, I see in the same light as taking antibiotics for a cold. The antibiotics won’t cure the cold but the build up of antibiotics may cause ineffectiveness when you really need it.

Regular Soap

Regular soap is effective and does not pose the risks that antibacterial soap does. However, many people do not wash their hands long enough. Hand washing is vital to preventing infection. According to The Center For Disease Control Prevention, the best way to wash your hands is to use “soap and warm, running water.” Additionally, friction is an important part of getting rid of germs. Thus, rub hands together for “at least 20 seconds” and wash the entire hand. Think of all of the germs hiding underneath your fingernails. Finally, make sure to rinse hands well and use a “single use towel.” I guess I haven’t been silly all these years, taking a paper towel to turn off the faucet in public restrooms. I even take it a step further and use the paper towel to open the door handle.

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As for kids, make it fun by having them sing a song while they wash their hands. This ensures that they wash their hands long enough too.

Hand Sanitizer

Like soap, there are different types of hand sanitizer: natural and antibacterial. According to, ‘GMA’ Tries Different types of Hand Sanitizer and Soap to See Which Works Best, “experts say washing with soap and water is first choice, especially if you have visible dirt on your hands. Sanitizer can’t cut through that grime.” Yet, hand sanitizer is good on the go. Like hand soap, there are different types of hand sanitizers: alcohol based and plant based. One positive about the plant-based cleansers is that they have no harsh chemicals and they don’t dry out your hands. Cleanwell is a good brand to try. Yet, the CDC says, “you should use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol.” Be careful with using alcohol-based sanitizers on young children. If they ingest too much of the sanitizer they could become sick.

In the end, washing hands with regular soap is best. However, if you are on the run, hand sanitizer is suitable.

Sources:

Martin F. Downs, article Researchers See Potential Health Hazards; Manufacturers Say Products Are Safe, Web MD

Good Morning America ‘GMA’ Tries Different types of Hand Sanitizer and Soap to See Which Works Best, ABC News

The Center For Disease Control Prevention

Cleanwelltoday.com