Hand Soaps and Hand Sanitizers

Hand Soaps and Hand Sanitizers

Skin care products designed to clean and disinfect hands from germs, dirt, grease, and grime; available scented or unscented liquids, gels, wipes, and foams with or without moisturizers.

Hand hygiene and hand washing is often considered the single most important procedure for preventing the spread of germs and eliminating potentially dangerous chemical residue and particulates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that you use soap and water to wash your hands as often as possible.

Proper Hand-Washing Technique

  1. Wet hands with warm running water
  2. Apply enough soap to cover all surfaces
  3. Thoroughly wash all parts of hands and fingers up to the wrists, rubbing hands for at least 15 seconds
  4. Rinse hands under running water
  5. Dry thoroughly with paper towels
  6. Use paper towels to turn off faucet before discarding towel in the waste receptacle

Choosing Hand Soaps

All hand soaps contain surfactants and detergents that can help clean your hands. Some soaps are also considered “antibacterial” and contain chemicals like benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, and chloroxylenol that can kill bacteria on contact.

Using Hand Sanitizers

Hand sanitizers may not be as effective as soap and water when hands are visibly dirty or greasy. They may also not remove pesticides, heavy metals, or other harmful chemicals.

Use hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes with an alcohol content between 60% and 95% when hand soap and water are not available. Make sure to use an adequate amount of sanitizer: read the label, apply the correct amount of product to the palm of one hand, rub the sanitizer over all your hands, and continue rubbing until your hands are completely dry.

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