Disinfect hands: soap or hand disinfectant provides better protection against viruses and bacteria?
More and more cases of illness, people are forced to stay at home and the governments of the countries introduce stricter protective measures – the coronavirus has meanwhile interfered in the everyday life of everyone. To protect yourself from infection, good hand hygiene is an absolute must. In the midst of panic, pharmacies and dorgeries are full of people who want to stock up on hand disinfectants. But is it really that effective or rather not? What better protects us from viruses and bacteria – the good old hand washing with soap and water or disinfectant? Which product is best suited for hand disinfection, as well as many other information and tips, can only be found in our article!
The corona virus is transmitted primarily through droplets of sneezing, coughing, and speaking. Infection is also possible through smear infections, for example if you touch cash that has already touched an already infected person. In addition, it has already been proven that the virus can survive on surfaces for hours or even days. For this reason, disinfecting and washing hands is essential. The demand for disinfectants is so great that they are sold on Amazon and Ebay at a premium of 220%. However, many people seem to have forgotten that washing with soap and water, followed by drying with a clean towel, is our best defense against bacteria and disease.
Disinfect hands – that's why soapy water is more effective
Soap and water are not only much cheaper than disinfectants, but also much more effective in fighting viruses and germs. The corona virus, like most enveloped viruses, consists of three main components – proteins, fats (lipids) and genetic information. The soap consists of water-attracting (hydrophilic) and water-repellent (lipophilic) components. The lipophilic substances are structurally similar to the lipids of the coronavirus and ensure that the protective layer of the pathogen is completely dissolved when washing hands. In this way, the virus disintegrates and is simply washed away by the water.
But in order for all bacteria to be removed and the fat layer to be destroyed, it is very important to wash your hands properly and long enough. According to health experts, we get the best results after about 20-30 seconds. And while we all wash our hands regularly, how often have you followed the recommended time? Only then is it certain that the soap penetrates all folds and removes the dirt. A cool and useful way to wash your hands long enough would be to sing a song in your head. It doesn't matter whether you use cold or warm water to disinfect your hands.
A scientific study by the World Health Organization in 2010 showed that as many as 69% of men and 35% of women do not wash their hands after using the toilet. Another Michigan State University study found that 95% of people don't wash their hands long enough. Health experts agree that these numbers must change. According to recent research by Michigan State University, increasing hand washing at 10 US airports would reduce the spread of the coronavirus by 60%.
Washing hands for 30 seconds kills all bacteria
An experiment was conducted in the United States last week to compare how clean hands are after a thorough hand wash. For this, the hands were creamed with Glo-Germ and photos were taken under UV light. The cream contains mineral oils that attach to the germs and are only visible under UV light. In the left photo the hands are still unwashed and in the right one – after they have been washed for 30 seconds.
How exactly do hand disinfectants work?
Health experts and scientists recommend the use of hand disinfectants only when you are on the go and have no access to a sink. However, they are no better substitute for classic hand washing with soap and water. However, it is unknown to most people that disinfectants do not kill the bacteria, but only neutralize them for a certain time. In other words – the bacteria remain on your hands and can come back to life later.
There are also many different types of disinfectants. Some, for example, are called “bactericidal” or “fungicidal” and only work against bacteria and are unsuitable as protection against the coronavirus. Therefore, only use agents that are labeled as “limited virucidal” and have an alcohol content of at least 60%. But to ensure that the hand disinfectants have any effect, according to scientists, you have to use about 1 teaspoon of it and use it to wet your entire hand. Then you have to rub the product in your hands for about 3-4 minutes and then let it air dry completely.
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