Ok, we've all heard the hype about antibacterial soaps and no-water hand sanitizers. However, there has been very little in the way of actual data available - until now!
One of my nursing professors at Murray State, Dr. France, has just finished a study on handwashing. It compared normal handwashing to the 'medical hand wash', as well as comparing Ivory soap, antibacterial soap, and Purell (hand sanitizer). She had all the subjects use cold water (where applicable), and paper towels.
Ok, what would you expect the results to be? Probably not what they were:
- There was no difference in bacterial counts between those who did the normal hand wash vs. the medical hand wash
- Purell significantly reduced bacterial count, but was the only method in which fungus (yes, fungus) grew out - apparently the alcohol kills off some of the bacteria, but does nothing against fungi (viruses were not tested for in this study). Also, no dirt is washed away, it is just moved around (no rinsing).
- Ivory soap outperformed antibacterial soap and Purell both
The significant factor seemed to be the high soap content of Ivory, which caused a high degree of sudsing. The suds are the key!
This research has not been published yet - I will add a reference when it is.