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While many of us use hand sanitizer when we’re on the go and wash our hands traditionally otherwise, there are some people who prefer one method of keeping germs at bay over the other. While both serve their purposes, is one better than the other?

Well, according to the CDC, there are some very important differences between the two. While alcohol-based hand sanitizers do kill lots of germs, they don’t kill all types. While hand-washing itself might not get rid of all of them it does reduce the numbers of all types of germs you may have come in contact with making it more capable in that sense. You see, while hand sanitizers are not effective against Clostridium difficile, washing your hands with soap and water is.

Both are very important tools when it comes to preventing the spread of bacteria/germs. Considering the crisis we’re facing at the moment, that much should be kept in mind. You should use soap and water before preparing food, before eating, after using the bathroom, and other things of the sort but can use sanitizer in situations where soap and water are not available. 

While the CDC does not outright say hand washing is better than using sanitizer, it is heavily implied. While sanitizers can work great in a pinch, soap, and water should be used in any scenario they are present. Hand sanitizers might not be as effective at removing harmful chemicals and don’t do much when our hands are visibly dirty anyways.

Now that you’re aware of this, whether you’re using hand sanitizer, soap and water, or both you do need to be sure you’re using them properly. For instance, most people when using sanitizer do not use it properly. Most people rub their hands together for nowhere near long enough and many people don’t pump enough out initially to use.

If you’re not sure whether you’re using washing or sanitizing your hands properly check out the videos below. It will go over things properly and give you a much better idea of what you should be doing. I for one will be trying to go out of my way to wash with soap and water more frequently as the current crisis unfolds but that doesn’t mean I won’t be using sanitizer. It will still be quite important to me as the days continue to pass.

Sure, there is no reason to panic right now but as the CDC has told us, we should be doing what we can to protect ourselves. Wash your hands often and be careful about the potential bacteria you’re around. Something this small could make a huge difference in the end.