Washing the hands properly before and after eating, after defecation or urination is one of the basic personal hygiene habits. Since the evolution of hand sanitizers, they have been used as alternatives to soap and water. A hand sanitizer is excellent regarding killing germs, but not as effective as soap and water can do. They are known as the alternatives for a reason; let’s understand why.
Situations where sanitizers should be used.
If there is an availability of soap and sufficient water, always wash your hands correctly with that. However, if water is scarce, hand sanitizers can be a great option. Experts say that a sanitizer that contains at least 60 per cent of alcohol should be used. They are capable of killing more germs than the sanitizers that have a lower concentration of alcohol. As it does not require water, rub it on the hands for twenty-five seconds. For a better understanding, when used for an appropriate amount of time, the sanitizer would dry off. However, in most of the situations, it is advised to use soap and water unless there’s a huge water problem. When and how can we use the two appropriately? Visit!
Soap and water can destroy germs like Cryptosporidium, norovirus, and Clostridium difficile. Moreover, if the hands are visibly dirty, the first method of washing the hands should be with soap and water. Sanitizers cannot clear off the oils, visible dirt, and grease. It is also incapable of removing harmful chemicals like insecticides and pesticides.
What about the people who suffer an acute water shortage?
People who live in extreme conditions of water scarcity, the adverse climate, and a dirty environment, should not be solely using sanitizers. Unavailability of potable water is prevalent in many parts of the Earth, but that should not be a hindrance to maintaining personal hygiene. With the advancement of science, experts have been able to make waterless bathing and cleaning technologies.
DryBath, Ecolab Inc, Medline and Clensta international are some of the companies that make waterless body bath and waterless shampoos. Dr Puneet Gupta, the founder of Clensta International, said that the usage of 100ml of this waterless body bath and waterless shampoo could save up to 350 litres of water in an average. One has to rub the solution or gel against the body until it forms a lather. Once done, it should be wiped with tissue paper, clean piece of cloth or towel. It is capable of removing maximum germs, oil, dirt, and dust from the body. Farmers, military personnel, aeronautics experts, campers, and hikers are some of them who can be clubbed with people living in extreme conditions. So, these are the products that are ideal for them.
Alcohol-based sanitizers are a good alternative to soap and water in worst case scenarios. However, one must not be entirely dependent on it for profuse cleaning purpose.
“Remember always to wash your hands if you are going to consume something barehanded.”