Apr 29, 2020

Sanitizer beats soap at cleaning kids' hands

We all know that kids are adorable, but every parent will agree to it that they are also more prone in catching germs easily. Kids collect germs and bacteria as fast as a cash collecting machine collects cash. Therefore, it becomes important for we as parents to ensure their personal hygiene.

But how?

Well, the answer is pretty simple, by inculcating in them the most basic habit of washing their hands with soap and water often. They should be taught the basic 20 second hand washing rule.

What is this 20 second hand washing rule?

The rule states that every individual must wash his hands for atleast 20 seconds to ensure happy hands, free from germs, bacteria and viruses.

You must be wondering by now that why 20 seconds why not lesser than that? Well, there is a research behind it.


According to a paper presented at the 2012 International Association for Food Protection, study participants who washed their hands for 20 seconds reduced the number of bacteria significantly more than those who washed for only five seconds. A similar 2008 study published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology found that making sure your hands are fully lathered in soap and washing for close to 20 seconds was much more effective at lowering bacterial levels on your hands than washing for close to 10 seconds.

But as we all know that kids will be kids as only 1 kid out of 10 clean his hands according to the golden rule of 20 seconds, remaining always wash their hands in a rush.

So what to do in such a situation?

There are in general three ways by which one can clean his hands, solid soap, liquid soap and hand sanitizer.

Washing hands with solid soap is a traditional method. We are following this method since ages. But washing hands with solid soap easily takes at least 30 seconds for a complete wash. The solid soap takes 5-10 seconds initially to get melted in hands properly. And the children are always in a hurry that they do not give complete 10 seconds to soap to get melted that causes an incomplete wash which is not a good thing.

Liquid soap is very easy to spread between the palms and it takes less time to get melted than a solid soap. But it takes more time and more water to get completely washed off.

Remember, the effective 20 second hand washing rule gets failed when children do not give a proper time.

Now remains hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer, nowadays when kids are so fast and busy in their activities, is an extremely effective way to keep their hands germ free. Hand sanitizer comes in action just after applying it. It starts working immediately and kills germs within seconds. Moreover, instead of heading to the sink to wash their hands, your kids might be better off reaching for a bottle of hand sanitizer.

In a Pediatrics’ study, it is found that children who use hand sanitizers miss fewer days of school than the children who wash their hands with soap and water. They have less respiratory infections and need fewer antibiotic prescriptions than their classmates who wash their hands with soap and water.

Another Pediatrics’ study conducted in Spain analyzed 911 kids of age 3 and under attending 24 day care centers over a period of 8 months. They were divided in two groups; one group used hand sanitizer and the other used soap and water. After 8 months, it was discovered that soap and water group had a 21 percent higher risk of contracting respiratory infections and a 31 percent greater chance of being prescribed antibiotics than the hand sanitizer group. The soap and water group missed day care due to illness 3.9 percent of the time. The hand sanitizer group missed day care just 3.25 percent of time over the course of the study.

As kids always fight an endless battle with runny noses, dirty hands, coughs, sore throats, sticky fingers etc, Pediatrics’ study proves hand sanitizers can be a healthy lifeline especially during the sickliest months of the year.