Anti-Bacterial Hand Wash vs. Regular Hand Soap
– What’s the Difference?
Today marks International Global Handwashing Day! There has probably never been a more sharpened focus on hand washing than what we’ve all experienced in 2020. With the COVID-19 disease spreading rapidly across the world, scientists have identified the respiratory tract as the main point of entry for the viral germ. While transmission via inhalation through the nose or mouth is the most direct method of infection, it is also widely understood that the Coronavirus germ is capable of staying alive on surfaces for differing periods of time depending on a number of factors. It is therefore possible for COVID-19 to be transmitted via touch in the instance that an individual absorbs the germ onto their hands after coming into contact with an infected surface, and then places their hands around their nose or mouth.
In previous articles (such as our Cleaning to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 blog post and our Managing the Threat of COVID-19 in your Hospitality Business blog post), we discuss the importance of cleaning and disinfecting high-touchpoint areas routinely. However, while diligence in the home or workplace minimises the risk of infection to individuals within these spaces, it is not practical to clean and disinfect every surface in every place you visit. Thus it is extremely important to maintain a good degree of hand hygiene. We have previously covered the methodology behind choosing the right hand sanitiser and so, in line with 2020’s Global Handwashing Day on October 15, this article serves to provide the main differences between anti-bacterial hand wash and the regular hand soap you are most likely more familiar with.
Anti-Bacterial Hand Wash
Antibacterial Hand Wash (or Antibacterial Soap) contains active antimicrobial ingredients such as triclosan or benzalkonium chloride, meaning that it works to kill bacterial microorganisms to stop their growth. The human body actually requires bacteria to maintain a healthy environment for skin, and so while these products may be effective in eliminating bad bacteria, it is important that they are not overused to the extent that they also remove the good bacteria. The active antibacterial agents present in antibacterial handwash have also been known to dry out the skin. Dalcon Hygiene’s Antibacterial Hand Wash contains a moisturising agent designed to cancel out this effect
It is important to note that the USA’s Federal Drug Administration Board (FDA) has recently evaluated the effectiveness of and threats posed by triclosan and has found that there is insufficient evidence to prove both the effectiveness and threats posed by the chemical. However, Australian bodies have not sought to regulate its use.
Regular Hand Soap
Conversely, regular soap does not contain active antibacterial ingredients. Rather, it works by decreasing the surface tension of water, lifting oils, dirt, and other forms of soilage (including bacteria) from the hands, allowing them to be washed away. Additionally, due to the lack of antibacterial ingredient, regular soap will not kill the aforementioned good bacteria that resides on the hands, allowing the healthy, balanced bacterial environment to continue to exist. If you prefer to use a regular soap over an antibacterial soap, Dalcon Hygiene have a wide range to choose from.
Ultimately, both forms of soap are effective in cleaning the hands. While generally more expensive, antibacterial soap brings with it a degree of peace of mind in that a user can feel more confident about bacterial germs being eradicated entirely rather than washed away. Conversely, overuse of antibacterial products can result in the removal of the good bacteria that live on hands and so caution should be exercised in this regard. It should also be noted that bacterial germs and viral germs are different, and so an antibacterial handwash is no more impactful at killing viral germs than a regular handwash.
All of Dalcon’s products, including both antibacterial handwashes and regular handwashes, are designed and formulated under the careful guidance of our experienced chemists and are guaranteed to be 100% safe when used as intended.
Regardless of which soap you prefer, the focus for good hand hygiene should revolve first and foremost around handwashing technique. To download our Correct Handwashing Technique Wall Chart, click this link.