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Soap Or Hand Sanitizer - Which One Should You Use?

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Siva Kumar Reddy 87% (65ratings)
Mbbs, MD Pulmonology
Pulmonologist, Tirupathi  •  10years experience
Soap Or Hand Sanitizer - Which One Should You Use?

The ‘Global Handwashing Day’ is celebrated every year on the 15th day of the month of October to mark the importance of hand hygiene and how much of it can be practised by handwashing. It is a global event and is celebrated all over the World to symbolize and identity the same.

Soap or Sanitizer- which one should we use?

With the current pandemic situation, washing our hands with soap or an alcohol-based rub has become a part of our daily lives. However, COVID or no COVID, the habit and practice of washing hands and keeping it clean is a must.

  • For sanitizers to work, the WHO has a recommended 60% alcohol content in it to be enough to kill germs. Triclosan, another important antibacterial agent found in soaps and other cleaning objects, (later banned after being found that it harms the body’s endocrine system) is another potential germ-killing agent.
  • It is always advised to use soap and water to clean hands when available, and alcohol rubs when not. For example, if you are at home, avoid using sanitizers, because soap and water are readily available. When you are travelling make sure that you carry an alcohol-based sanitizer because soap and water might not be available. But, avoid touching public bus poles or door handles, spots that are often touched by thousands of people.


  • In the argument of whether to use soap or sanitizers, it is always preferable to use soap because the lathering up, rubbing palms together and cleaning with water ensures a much cleaner and safer hand hygiene as compared to alcohol-based rubs, which might do what they claim, but cannot be as effective as handwashing with soap.

However, it all depends on the need of the hour and availability. If soap is available with water, then there is nothing like it. It will definitely ensure a cleaner pair of hands. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are the second-best in line, which are also great to eliminate any germs or disease-carrying viruses. Using either of the two before eating, touching public items like door handles and ATM card slots or extremely pertinent.
All of this is because we tend to put our hands on our face consciously or subconsciously, as a result of which the germs and dirt can transfer on our faces, something that we do not look forward to, right?

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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