Wash Your Hands The strongest defense against communicable disease is to wash your hands! Hand sanitizer does not replace hand washing; washing your hands with plain old soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds is more effective than sanitizing product on the market. One common question we receive is “Why can the doctors and nurses in the hospital use hand sanitizer but you say it is not the best choice?” Doctors and nurses in the hospital are using hand sanitizer to kill germs they pick up when moving between patients. Whenever they get their hands dirty with bodily fluids, etc., they must wash their hands with soap and water. You can compare this to hand washing in your daily life. After using the bathroom, handling raw meats, or working outside in the dirt, our hands get dirty. They are covered with fluids or visible dirt particles that must be washed off. If you tried to use sanitizer to remove this dirt, you would simply be moving the dirt around, not killing the germs.
If you would like to learn more about handwashing, download hand washing materials, please visit our Hand Washing Education page.