Rumor Buster: Is hand sanitizer better than soap and water?
People's Daily

BEIJING, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Some rumors claim that hand sanitizer gel is more effective against coronavirus than hand washing, leading to soaring sales of antibacterial gels and wipes.


File photo by CFP

The fact is, studies have suggested that using running water and soap to wash hands is more effective than a dab of hand sanitizer gel.

According to a study by the American Society for Microbiology last year, antibacterial gel cannot be adequately rubbed in during use. Instead, washing with soap will dislodge viral cells from hands, and rinsing thoroughly with running water will remove them completely, which is key to washing away viruses.

Experts agree that a hand sanitizer with over 60 percent alcohol content is effective in killing most viruses. However, the must-have alcohol can be harmful to sensitive skins and even cause damage to healthy ones.

A spokesperson for Japanese chemical products company Kao Corporation has said that too much hand gel can dry out the skin and remove natural oils on the surface, increasing vulnerability to infection.

Therefore, hand sanitizers are best used in moderation, and should always come as the second choice when hand washing is not possible.