Bacterial Reduction of Hand Contamination: Hand Rubbing with Alcohol-Based Solution or Hand Washing with Soap and Water?

Cynthia Pomaa Akuoko


Health care-associated infections (HAIs) occur worldwide and affect both developed and developing countries. Hand hygiene, including hand washing (washing hands with plain soap), hygienic hand washing (washing hands with medicated soap) and hygienic hand rubbing (use of antiseptic rubs or solutions) had been recommended as effective in preventing and controlling HAIs. Thus a mini-review was conducted to answer the question is alcohol-based hand sanitizer more effective than standard hand washing with soap and water in bacterial reduction during patient care? Two studies were reviewed which showed statistically significant difference between before and after hand rubbing with alcohol-based and hand washing with soap and water. However bacterial reduction in alcohol-based solution was higher than that of soap and water (0.85 vs 0.58).

Keywords: hand hygiene, hand washing, hand rubbing, bacterial reduction

DOI: 10.7176/JHMN/67-09

Publication date:October 31st 2019

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