With coronavirus sweeping across the U.S., everyone is taking extra care to ensure their hands are clean and safe from germs, which brings up a common question—is hand soap or hand sanitizer more effective at killing germs?
What the CDC Says
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water as it’s the only way to eliminate germs. On their website they plainly state that hand sanitizer is not as effective.
Why is Using Soap Better Than Hand Sanitizer?
The big difference is in how these two products work with bacteria. While most of us think of soap as gentle and soothing, it’s actually destructive, working to rupture, break up, kill, and remove microorganisms, bacteria and viruses from skin and surfaces.
In comparison, 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizers can kill some germs on your hands, but not all, and it doesn’t remove germs from your hands and only works in specific situations. Soap and water is much more effective in removing germs.
Hand Soap Wins
So, what’s better for you—hand soap or hand sanitizers? According to the CDC, infectious disease experts, and all existing research, hand soap is better for you.