Soap and water hand wash far more effective than alcohol gels

Hand washing in hospitals

“Alcohol-based hand rub cannot penetrate organic material”

There are many instances when washing hands with soap and water can be that most effective method when it comes to infection prevention – and that the focus can be on removing pathogens rather than “killing” them – according to a recent article on The Conversation website.

The message that we need to “kill” germs which cause many infections is “inaccurate and confusing” according to the author of the report, Mary-Louise McLaws who is Professor of Epidemiology Healthcare Infection and Infectious Diseases Control at UNSW Australia. Pathogens need to be removed – and soap and water are ideally suited to this particular task she maintains.

“Alcohol-based hand rub cannot penetrate organic material that makes your hands visibly dirty or sticky. So always use a soap and water wash after going to the toilet and when your hands are visibly dirty or sticky.”

Professor McLaws reflects that hand washing has “lost its celebrity status” since antibiotics and vaccinations have been made available.

She makes the observation that in developing countries, children under five years of age are most at risk from diahorrea-related illnesses and that unwashed hands are the major cause of contaminated food in more industrially-focussed areas of the world.

In both cases says Professor McLaws, “rubbing your hands together for 15 or more seconds while using soap and water effectively removes pathogens.”

Health Check: should we be using alcohol-based hand sanitisers? »

High quality hand washing with soap and water – perfect for patients and visitors!

Portable hot water hand washing for healthcare situations – the TEAL Stop n’Wash is entirely self contained and needs no mains water service or drainage connections.

Teal Task Force mobile hand washing

Hot water hand wash unit hire for UK medical situations

Introducing the TEAL Task Force

TEAL Task Force staff provide a rapid deployment and installation service for the class-leading Teal Stop n’Wash portable hand washing station to medical facilities. Setup and training is provided for on-site staff as part of the service.