Hand sanitiser has to be rubbed in for 15 SECONDS

Do YOU use hand sanitiser correctly? Scientists find the gel has to be rubbed in for 15 SECONDS to kill the bacteria lurking on your palms World Health Organization recommends applying the sanitiser for 30 seconds  But 15 seconds was found to be as effective as 30 in 'reducing bacterial counts' Healthcare workers often struggle to 'fit hand hygiene into their busy routine'

By Alexandra Thompson Senior Health Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 16:19 BST, 15 April 2019 | Updated: 16:20 BST, 15 April 2019


Many of us rely on hand sanitiser to keep us 'germ free' at a festival, on the tube or while grabbing lunch on the go.

But while most just rub a blob into their hand and carry on with their day, a study suggests the gels are only effective if thoroughly applied for 15 seconds.

Although this may sound unnecessary, it is actually half as complicated as the World Health Organization's advice, which recommends applying hand sanitiser in a six-step, 30-second process. 

Hand sanitisers may only be effective when rubbed in for 15 seconds, study suggests (stock)

Hand sanitisers may only be effective when rubbed in for 15 seconds, study suggests (stock)

The research was carried out by University Hospital Basel and led by Dr Sarah Tschudin-Sutter, of the department of infectiology and hospital hygiene.

Hand hygiene is the single most effective thing healthcare workers can do to reduce the spread of infectious diseases, the scientists claim.

The WHO says sanitiser is the 'preferred route' due to it being 'faster, more effective and better tolerated than washing with soap and water'. 

However, there is limited evidence on which 'hand gel technique' is most effective, they warned.

The WHO recommends rubbing an alcohol-based product in for 20-to-30 seconds, however, adherence to this has been shown to be poor. 

As a first step, it advises a 'palm-full' amount of the gel is applied. 

Hands should then be rubbed palm-to-palm, before placing the right over the left and interlacing the fingers. 

This process should then be repeated with the left hand over the right. 

The palms should then be rubbed together with the fingers interlaced. 

As a fifth step, the backs of the fingers should be rubbed against the opposing palms, as well as thumb being covered in the sanitiser.

Once the hands are dry, they are 'safe'. 

To test whether this lengthy process is necessary, the researchers had 20 volunteers aged 18-to-51 apply hand sanitiser via four techniques. 

The first group followed the WHO's regimen for 30 seconds, while the second group completed the same process but for just 15 seconds.


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