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no water alcohol hand cleansers?

(18 Posts)
Hoppity Mon 12-Oct-09 12:25:24

please clear up an ongoing debate between dH and me:

- he says these alcohol, no water hand cleansers are superior to washing with soap and water
- I say they are a good substitute when you don't have access to soap and water

who is right?
he has plonked a giant pump action bottle next to the taps in the bathroom - I don't get it! just wash you hands, say I

I am happy to be corrected, but please resolve the dispute

NyeEve Mon 12-Oct-09 12:26:08

kids at school obsessed with these atm

norksonmywitchesbroomstick Mon 12-Oct-09 12:27:05

I agree with you, great for the in between times but not better than soap and water

MissAnneElk Mon 12-Oct-09 12:27:22

nyeve, they may be probably drinking it...

MissAnneElk Mon 12-Oct-09 12:28:33

may be probably drinking it - FFS - it sounds like I've been drinking it.

sazlocks Mon 12-Oct-09 12:33:59

You are right. They are fine as a substitute but they are not superior to washing with soap and water. Rather gross but if someone has a diarrhoea type illness then these gels are not effective as they don't dissolve the sort of waxy spores ( not sure that't the right word) that these infections are passed on through. So a good standby but would always soap and water as a first choice.

norksonmywitchesbroomstick Mon 12-Oct-09 12:42:34

OK I am very bored, so just googled the research blush

Looks like soap and water is marginally better in visibly clean hands, than hand rub(as long as it is alcohol based)

In obviously soiled hands, soap and water wins hands downgrin

charlotteolivia Mon 12-Oct-09 12:43:12

soap and water physically washes your hands, and, if rinsed and dried properly, physical dirt and bacteria are washed off your skin.

alcohol gel kills bacteria. not all either.
it does not get rid of physical dirt.
it should be supplementary to good handwashing.
it is suitable for between handwashing, but hands must be clean of physical dirt first.
ie- if you fall into a dirty puddle, you will need soap. if you have been on the train all day, alcohol gel might be a good option.

however, neither are going to be good prevention tools if you can't do them properly. tell him to google hand washing techniques if he is that bothered about the cleanliness of his hands! the alcohol gel should be used AFTER handwashing.

v. important though- when you wash you hands, make sure you dry them properly!!

(I was a student nurse, and was a 'hygiene patron' ha!)

AMumInScotland Mon 12-Oct-09 12:43:29

Not as good as soap and water. link here The HPA only suggests using alcohol cleaners when you can't get access to a basin to use soap and water, and warns that they don't get rid of all the germs.

Bucharest Mon 12-Oct-09 12:46:43

Can I ask a question- here in Italy, everyone is hysterical obsessed with swine flu- and all our nursery and elementary school children have been advised to carry a bottle of the gel stuff with them...(I haven't even considered it, and nor do I intend to) I don't understand why an antibacterial gel can help us not to get swine flu....can it? Surely swine flu is a virus, and therefore now't to do with bacteria? (when I asked this at a birthday party last week I was told that swine flu is a "bacterial virus" hmm and therefore the gel works.....

Is it me, or.....?

charlotteolivia Mon 12-Oct-09 12:57:02

bacteria/virus - still microbes.
it just doesn't kill 100%
surely small children are likely to sit squirting a little bottle of gel than to use it properly! how ridiculous. they should be promoting good hand washing, with using the gel AFTER.

TheFoosa Mon 12-Oct-09 13:00:38

hand washing only truly effective if done for at least 1 minute, with hot water and soap

elmofan Mon 12-Oct-09 13:04:13

you are right , soap & water is better but the hand gel is a close second , we also have had letters from the dc's school to supply these gels as a swine flu precaution , but dd has eczema & the consultant she is under has advised us not to buy them as they are a money making gimmick .

TheFoosa Mon 12-Oct-09 13:05:40

we have them at work routinely and they do dry your hands out and wreck your nails

Bucharest Mon 12-Oct-09 13:06:43

charlotte- exactly- the bonkers thing is I have noticed that very few children we know ever wash their hands after going to the toilet, and yet suddenly they are all rubbing their hands with gel when they are out and about.....

TheFoosa Mon 12-Oct-09 13:37:13

alcohol (like many things) is cytotoxic to organisms including some viruses but only if the alcohol % is high enough

they do nasty things to cellular membranes, although not if the virus is a hard nut like Hepatitis

bacterial virus do exist, but as the name suggests they infect bacteria, usually called bacteriophages

Bucharest Mon 12-Oct-09 13:40:20

<makes notes, to show off in playground tomorrow>

They won't believe me though, being a furriner and all. grin

angelene Mon 12-Oct-09 13:52:15

It doesn't need to be alchol based necessarily, this type of product is just as good at the germ-killing thing and is non-alcohol.

Disclaimer: I may have an interest, possibly, in the product, but it is really good blush

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