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hand wash vs hand sanitizer

Hand Wash or Sanitizer Which Is Better? Find Out Below

Verified by Dr. Ankit Tyagi, MBBS, MD (General Medicine)

Since COVID entered the world, washing hands or sanitizing them has become a holy ritual for everyone. People always kept their hands clean, but now it has become an important practice and is given higher priority for preventing diseases from spreading and keeping germs at bay.

Both ways of maintaining proper hygiene i.e., washing hands and sanitizing them, will minimize chances of transmission of various microbes and viruses from your hands.

However,  it’s a common doubt most of us have which way is most effective. So here are some answers validated by Meddo expert Dr. Ankit Tyagi. 

Hand sanitizers

  • You can easily find hand sanitizers with anyone and everyone in today’s time, even decorative and stylish ones since they are now an indispensable part of our daily lives.
  • Hand sanitizer is portable and readily available for everyone. It disinfects the hands, thereby reducing the chance of viruses being transmitted.

What To Keep In Mind While Choosing Hand Sanitizer

  • Never use non-alcohol-based sanitizers, as they are not effective and they also get contaminated with time.
  • You should use hand sanitizer with 60% to 95% alcohol for an effective result.
  • Never use hand sanitizers with “triclosan” in it as it decreases their effectiveness.


  • It’s a go-to solution to fight germs when you have no access to soap or water. It’s effective against many types of viruses, except for a few.


  • Hand sanitizers don’t protect against all types of bacteria and microbes, such as Norovirus and C. difficile.
  • Some hand sanitizers may leave some residue on your hands which feels slippery and uneasy.
  • Hand sanitizers are more expensive compared to soaps.


  • It is also critical to use hand sanitizer, soap, and water correctly, as failure to do so will prevent you from fully benefiting.
  • Apply hand sanitizers in ample amounts, and rub them all over your hands for 20 seconds till they dry out.
  • A hand sanitizer that is alcohol-based works by breaking germs, so you need to use it liberally for it to last a long time.


  • Using soap and water for washing is the most effective way of getting rid of dirt, grime, germs and viruses from your hands and cleaning them properly.


  • It will clean your hands by removing all those germs. It will restrain them and remove them completely from your hands.
  • You can use any regular soap. However, liquid hand wash is recommended as it is not pre-exposed to human touch. A soap bar or cake can carry germs from a previous user. 
  • An active, anti-bacterial hand wash with aloe vera in it should keep your hands clean, fresh and soft. Also, residue-free!
  • It will not burn a hole in your pocket!

 Hand-Cleaning Procedures

  • It is also critical to use hand sanitizer, soap, and water correctly, as failure to do so will prevent you from fully benefiting from any of these.
  • Use soap and water for at least 40 seconds and scrub all over your hands. Then wash it with water and let it dry up. Allow it to air dry rather than using and already-used towel.