Disinfectant wipe battles hand rub for effectiveness

By: December 29th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Which is more effective: alcohol-based gels and hand rubs, or disinfectant alcohol-based wipes? Researchers at Special Pathogens Laboratory in Pittsburgh, PA, wanted to figure out just that.

Their study, published in the November issue of American Journal of Infection Control found that alcohol-based wipes are more effective than an alcohol-based hand rub.

The leader of the study, Janet Stout, PhD, said hospital-acquire infections could be decreased if there were better hand hygiene products, reported PRWeb.

To find which product was more effective, Stout and her colleagues tested an ethanol wipe against an ethanol rub by immunizing participants’ hands with bacteria before the researchers cleaned them with the wipe and the rub. The study used a wipe with 65.9% alcohol and a rub with 62% alcohol. The ethanol wipe was more effective in eliminating bacteria, the study found.

Even though the study’s focus was to show the difference between the wipes and the rub, the team also tested antibacterial soap. Although the soap was more effective than both the wipe and the rub, soap requires water to disinfect but wipes and rub do not.

OSHA Healthcare Advisor Tools page offers tools on hand hygiene with a data collection worksheet and technique for using alcohol based formulas.

Does your facility find the wipes or rubs to be more effective? How do you properly administer hand hygiene infection control? Let us know in our comment section.


By Sherry west on December 29th, 2010 at 7:47 am

I am not sure that a more effective wipe or gel is the issue. Health care workers are not consistently washing their hands.
But the information is good!

By Kathy Louer on December 29th, 2010 at 5:03 pm

I always use the wipes as they are not as messy as the gels can be. I also use one brand of wipes that has a rough side to it and I use that whenever I use the “community” vehicle, wiping down handles, steering wheel prior to me using the vehicle and after I am done with the vehicle.


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