With flu season now upon us, it’s more important than ever to keep your hands clean and free of germs to the extent possible. In that respect, many people turn to hand sanitizers to get the job done. But are they the safest and most effective means of accomplishing that?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the best strategy is also the most time-tested one: washing hands with soap and water. Hand-washing has been proven to reduce the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. Moreover, hand-washing with soap and water is a more effective way than hand sanitizers to remove germs such as Cryptosporidium, norovirus, and Clostridium difficile. Hand-washing with soap and water also removes debris that hand sanitizer leaves behind (including allergens like peanut proteins)—and it does so with the fewest side effects.