What’s better hand washing or hand sanitizing?


Natalia Spencer , Reporter

Ewww! Bacteria everywhere: door handles, bathroom stalls, keyboards and especially cell phones. 

Some ways that students can keep their hands clean is either with hand sanitizer or by washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 

Is hand sanitizer as effective as hand washing for 20 seconds?  Well, the KLLR news staff collected data from two students at LHHS who helped with this theory. 

Here are the step by step methods of this theory:

  1. At the start of the day, both washed their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds
  2. After, they swabbed their hands with a Q-tip and rubbed it on the petri dish on Monday

around 8 a.m.   

  1. One subject had to use only hand sanitizer in between class 
  2. The other had to wash their hands with soap and water for the day in between each 


  1. Then by the end of the day they had to wash their hands again. 
  2. The samples were placed in an incubator to see which petri dish grew the most bacteria 

from the two subjects.

  1. After a week in the incubator, it was obvious that the hand washing had less bacterial 



According to the “Int. J Environ Res. Public Health” handwashing with non-antibacterial soap is much more effective in removing bacteria from hands than hand washing with water only. 

Is there a hand sanitizer that can kill more bacteria than hand washing? “Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs,” according to the CDC. 

Although most places, including LHHS, have installed sanitizing dispensers readily available, people shouldn’t rely solely on all the hand sanitizers. 

Make sure that if you are using hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent ethanol or wash hands and make sure it’s for 20 seconds.