Why soap and water are the dream team when it comes to infection control
There’s no evidence that “antibacterial” products provide a more effective hand wash – indeed in most cases they’re doing considerably more harm than good, according to a recent report on the science focussed website Cosmos.
The soap and water option (done properly of course, for at least twenty seconds), is not only more effective, there are no adverse side effects or worrying long term implications writes Ellen Phiddian, a science journalist at The Royal Institution of Australia.
The report quotes Professor Trevor Lithgow who is Director of the Monash Centre to Impact AMR. He unequivocally champions good old soap as the most effective way to maintain good hand hygiene.
“Regular soap is 100% effective at removing pathogens using the effective handwashing techniques we all learned well in 2020. In handwashing, soap acts to dissolve the dirt and grime that hold the bacteria and viruses onto your skin, so that they are washed away.”
Soap doesn’t use a “molecular process” to clean hands – it uses a “physical process” Professor Lithgow is quoted as saying. The benefit of this, he concludes, is clear: so called resistant superbugs do not evolve from soap and water washing.
“Because soaps exert a physical action on bacteria and viruses, they do not lead to antimicrobial resistance.”
Avoid feeding the superbugs
The article is cross-referenced with a recent Monash University release Feeding the superbugs: Why we need to wash our hands of antibacterial soaps in which Professor Lithgow also warns of the detrimental effects that sanitisers can have when it comes to infection control.
“The message is not how to wash your hands – it’s what to wash your hands with. This is because many liquid soaps contain “antimicrobial” or “antibacterial” elements that, when rubbed on hands and then washed down the sink, contribute to anti-microbial resistance and create superbugs.”
Or, as Ms Phiddian sums up so succinctly…
“It’s the ‘soap’ in antibacterial soap that’s protecting your hands – not the ‘antibacterial’.”
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Teal produces a comprehensive range of mobile sinks and portable basins for every type of hand washing situation for use by anyone who needs to wash their hands effectively, whether they’re in an office environment, temporary accommodation or out in the field on a daily basis.
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