Hand Sanitizers Receive Clean Bill of Health
A recent Toronto Sun article reports that hand sanitizers are more effective at eliminating germs than hand washing with soap and water.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine and Dial Corporation, analyzed sanitizers that contain both ethanol and organic acids and concluded that they prevent the return of the rhinovirus—the virus responsible for roughly one-third of common colds in adults--for up to four hours after being applied to hands, a significant improvement over soap's effectiveness at fighting germs.
According to the researchers, ethanol hand sanitizers removed 80-percent of the rhinovirus from hands, compared to soap and water, which removed just 31-percent.
"Ethanol hand sanitizers were significantly more effective than hand washing with soap and water," the study concluded.
Dial's involvement with a study involving two of its lines would seem to taint the findings as biased. However, with an academic institution lending its name to the report, the findings are far less suspect than studies that have relied solely on the work of private corporations.
The Dial Corporation, which is owned by the German CPG company Henkel, produces Coast, Tone, and Dial products, along with their multiple lines of bar soaps, body washes, liquid hand soaps, and hand sanitizers. Accordingly, it might seem odd that Dial has matched two brands against one another, a strategy more commonly seen between rival companies (i.e. McDonald's vs. Burger King, Coke vs. Pepsi, etc.). However, in light of recent reports that questioned the effectiveness of hand sanitizers at fighting germs, combating the flu, as well as, others that analyzed myths and facts associated with their performance, the motive behind the study becomes more apparent.
The study lends instant credibility to hand sanitizers, but it then goes on to recognize the merits of soap, noting its role as part of a proper hand washing regimen. The report said that while hand sanitizers are more effective at fighting germs, soap and water is still a preferred method at removing soil and stains. The detour somewhat diminishes the primary message regarding hand sanitizers, though it is understandable in light of a parent company not wanting to cast either of its interests in a negative light. The final point aside, the study persuasively establishes hand sanitizers as a preferred germ fighting agent while reaffirming the virtues of hand washing with soap and water in the cleansing process.
More information on hand cleaning can be found at http://www.u-need-it.com/supplies-blog/2009/08/12/good-hand-washing-can-prevent-disease/