Hand Soap Vs Alcohol Rub

Handwash vs Alcohol Rub

Which one is best for fighting disease germs? First of all we must remember this: Nothing short of dipping your body in a large tub of Clorox will remove all the millions of bacteria and viruses that are on your body! Washing your hands and taking a shower will simply reduce the number of organisms that are always there!

As shocking as this may sound, don’t underestimate the importance of handwashing to reduce the number of these microorganisms residing on our hands. Another shocker…you can rub your hands together briskly under a faucet simply using water and that will reduce the number of germs on your hands. Friction from the vigorous rubbing along with the running water sends the germs right down the drail…but not all of them.

Soap and Water for Handwashing

When you wash your hands properly with regular soap and water, you will reduce a great number of germs from your hands. Even though you won’t reduce all the microorganisms, you are less likely to become infected by a disease causing bacteria or virus.

Hand soaps that contain the ingredient triclosan may be effective in killing germs during the handwashing process, but an important caveat goes along with it. There are people calling for a ban on triclosan because any germs that manage to survive the handwashing process where triclosan is used, are on there way to becoming superbugs! If this is true, it may be a good idea to avoid products that have the ingredient triclosan.

Alcohol Rubs for Handwashing

Alcohol rub products were first designed for hospitals. After all, doctors and nurses cannot have easy access to a sink all the time. Also, the time consuming job of calling on patients makes it very easy for hospital personnel to avoid handwashing altogether. This is why alcohol rubs are such an important addition to a hospital. Alcohol hand rub dispensers can be seen throughout the hospital making it convenient and easy for hospital personnel to disinfect their hands.

Alcohol rubs have been proven to reduce more germs than hand soap. Again, there is an important caveat that goes with their use. Now that everyone has access to alcohol rubs, more and more germs are becoming immune to it. This is one way super bugs are formed.


Simply washing your hands with soap and water may be the best option for most of us at home when you consider the possibility of creating super bugs after using products containing triclosan and alcohol.

Common sense may rule here as well. If you are on a picnic and have no other means of washing your hands, bring on the alcohol rub.