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When to use soap instead of hand sanitizer

Sep 29, 2020 | Blog

Panic buying is back in the news this week as shoppers rush to stock up on loo roll, sanitizer and pasta all over again. We expect that many of those people stockpiling hand sanitizer are using it at home instead of soap and this week we want to explain why that’s a terrible idea.

Dirty hands can prevent sanitizers from working

Medical-grade hand sanitizer is very good at killing germs, but it comes with a few conditions. Firstly, your hands have to be free from grease or large clumps of dirt, if your hands are grubby or greasy that will act as a barrier and stop the sanitizer reaching your skin. Second, the sanitizer kills germs but won’t clean your hands of anything else on them such as hazardous chemical substances. Finally, as pointed out by the Centers for Disease Control in their handwashing article, some germs (like Norovirus) are resistant to alcohol-based sanitizer.

The physical action of rubbing soapy lather into the skin removes surface barriers such as dirt and dislodges microbes and chemical elements, including Norovirus and others that can’t be killed with alcohol. Dislodging contaminants means even those that aren’t killed get rinsed away, leaving your hands as clean as practically possible.

You can’t beat washing with soap and water, but hand sanitizer is the next best thing. It’s there for occasions when proper washing is not practical, that’s why we recommend keeping some for use in the workplace, in the car, etc… Very few shops have soap and water next to the front door or their sales counter and that’s where we should be using hand sanitizer. If you’re at home, you should ideally just be washing your hands as normal at the sink.

Why Hanrub hand sanitizer?

We manufacture and sell Hanrub hand sanitizer to dental practices as well as clinics and salons. Its WHO-inspired formulation is 75% alcohol so it acts fast and kills 99.99% of germs. As discussed in a previous post, it also features a humectant to moisturise the skin and stop your hands from drying out. If you’re running low, visit our shop now and get your order in today.

If there’s a question you’d like us to cover in a future blog post just drop us an email at or post on our Facebook

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