Hand Sanitizer Vs Hand Washing: Best Travel Hand Hygiene 2020

Hand sanitizer vs hand washing – which is the best option for hand hygiene while you’re travelling? This article is going to delve into the issue and provide you with the best information and recommendations to keep clean and healthy while on the road.

Hand hygiene is a very important issue to consider when you’re travelling. It can affect your health, which in turn impacts your enjoyment and ability to travel.

There’s nothing worse than spending a week in bed (or even hospital) in a foreign country because you didn’t have the chance to clean your hands properly.

Read on to find out the best hand hygiene options for you.

Disclaimer: I am not a registered doctor and any medical advice offered here is only my opinion from thorough research or personal experiences. If you have health concerns and are worried about hand hygiene, you should see your doctor before travelling.

The Importance Of Clean Hands

You’re sitting down on a tiny plastic stool on the street in Ho Chi Minh and about to tuck into a stuffed banh mi. You’ve been out all day, riding buses, pushing doors, high fived a stranger, and wiped the sweat from your head countless time. There’s nowhere nearby to wash your hands, so you just shrug and munch on, licking your fingers clean when you’re done. Everything is fine until a few days later when you’re curled up in bed with excruciating stomach pains. What happened? You can probably guess.

Travellers don’t always have the luxury of choosing the condition of the places where they travel, or the cleanliness. Indeed, some of the best travel experiences come from getting away from what you’re used to, getting your hands dirty, and experiencing a different world. Fortunately, getting out of your comfort zone doesn’t mean you have to give up on hygiene, too.

I’m not a scientist by trade, but I have studied elements of food microbiology and food hygiene. I have also experienced the effects of bad hand hygiene more times than I can count on both of my (now clean) fingers. This includes a bit of Bangkok Belly, high fevers and sweating from random diseases, and a lot of throwing up, dehydration, and diarrhea. I’ve suffered for this knowledge during 20 years of travelling and living overseas.

Now I want to help you avoid you having to make the same mistakes I did.

I hope you find this article informative and helpful, and that you’ll be prepared for when you travel. If you want to know more about when to use hand sanitizer or hand washing, which is the most appropriate for certain situations, and some more great hand hygiene tips, then please keep reading.

Wash your hands lots while travelling

Quick Summary: Hand Sanitizer Vs Hand Washing

Which is better for good hand hygiene while you’re travelling – hand sanitizer or hand washing? The answer is simply whichever one is available. If you have clean water and soap, then always choose this option. However, if clean water and soap aren’t available, then make sure you’ve got some hand sanitizer with you.

I would encourage you to keep reading to learn more about hand hygiene, how and when to use hand sanitizer or hand washing, and other tips to help you stay healthy while travelling.

Here’s a really helpful set of guidelines to help you figure out the differences between hand sanitizer vs hand washing while travelling.

When To Use:

When To Use Hand Washing while travelling
When to use hand sanitizer while travelling

How To Use:

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What Is Hand Hygiene?

One of the biggest problems I have with personal hygiene when I travel is trying to keep my hands clean, which is known as hand hygiene. Whether it’s hiking in far away mountains, splashing around at the beach, or just riding the subway in a bustling city somewhere, travellers often have a hard time maintaining hand hygiene when they’re on the road.

What exactly is hand hygiene?

Well, hand hygiene, according to the Center for Disease Control & Protection (CDC) is:

“a way of cleaning one’s hands that substantially reduces potential pathogens (harmful microorganisms) on the hands. Hand hygiene is considered a primary measure for reducing the risk of transmitting infection”

Source: Center for Disease Control & Prevention

So what can you do and why is it important? Well, two of the best ways to maintain hand hygiene while you travel are through hand washing and using hand sanitizer. Which is best for you? I’ll discuss the arguments between hand sanitzer vs hand washing later on. But first, let’s look at why hand hygiene is so important for travellers.

Hand hygiene is critical while travelling

Why Is Hand Hygiene Important While Travelling?

You might think that hand hygiene is only important for workers in the medical field, but it’s vital to have good hand hygiene when you travel, too. With the COVID-19 coronavirus currently terrorising the world, I’m sure more people are becoming aware of this.

Making sure you have good hand hygiene while you travel is really important for several reasons, the most important of these is to stop the spread of disease and infections.

I’ve found that out the hard way, with too many days spent curled up in pain on a hotel bed, or throwing up in the toilet (or worse) for hours on end. Why? Because I got sick from infections that could have been avoided.

Trust me, there’s nothing worse than being sick in a foreign country.

If you’re lucky, you’ll get away with a bit of time recovering inside your accommodation. If you’re not, you could have to waste your time (and money!) in a hospital in a foreign country. That’s no fun!

Hospitals and health care may be okay where you’re from, but those standards may not apply when you travel to a new country. Also healthcare costs can be much more expensive when travelling, especially if you’re not insured.

Getting diarrhea while travelling is why hand hygiene is important

Good Hand Hygiene To Prevent Traveller’s Diarrhea

If you’ve suffered from at least 3 episodes of acute diarrhea within 24 hours while travelling, then you’ve experienced Traveller’s Diarrhea (TD). My first experience of TD was back when I was backpacking in Thailand when I was 18 and I wish I knew more about hand hygiene then! Wasting a couple of days worshipping the porcelain goddess was not how I wanted my first experience of Asia to go.

What is the main cause of Traveller’s Diarrhea?

You guessed it, poor hand hygiene. TD is passed on by infected people touching food or water with traces of feces (poop) on their hands. Pathogens within the poop cause TD.

This is why it’s so important to use hand sanitizer or wash your hands after going to the toilet!

TD usually starts around 3 to 4 days after arriving somewhere and symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headaches, and sometimes fever. Most cases pass without serious long-term issues, but if it doesn’t, you should see a doctor.

If you’re travelling with children and they suffer from TD, you should keep a close eye on them and keep them hydrated. Sports drinks are great for relieving TD and general dehydration. Powerade, Gatorade, and Pocari Sweat are awesome options.

Of course, personal hand hygiene isn’t the only cause of TD. You can be infected by someone else touching your food before you eat it. There’s not really a lot you can do against that. However, you can reduce your chances of spreading diseases and ingesting harmful bacteria and pathogens picked up from elsewhere by good hand hygiene.

Read More About Traveller’s Diarrhea

Hand sanitizer vs hand washing science explained

The Science Behind Hand Hygiene

We all know that dirty hands can make you sick, but how exactly does that happen and what is the benefit of hand hygiene?

Many diseases are spread from poor hand hygiene. Not only can you make yourself sick, you can also pass diseases and conditions to other people. This is the main method of transfer of many infections, including COVID-19 coronavirus. Other infections include Salmonella, E. coli, adenovirus, hand-foot-mouth disease and noroviruses that cause diarrhea.

One of the biggest sources of germs comes from feces (poop) and a single gram of human feces can contain a trillion (1,000,000,000,000) germs. All this in a piece of poop that weighs less than a paper clip.

This poop can get on your fingers after going to the toilet or changing a diaper. However, there are also less obvious ways that it can spread, including on raw meats that might have invisible bits of animal poop, or touching surfaces like toilet door handles.

Sneezing and coughing on hands or other surfaces also spread a lot of other infections. Droplets of infected saliva (or such liquids) stay on a surface for up to several hours at a time and can spread infections to others.

Hand sanitizer vs hand washing - which is better when dealing with dirt?

The Benefits Of Good Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene through hand sanitizer or hand washing removes these germs from your hands and prevents infections.

The benefits of hand hygiene can be significant and in communities where improved hand hygiene was introduced, the following changes were discovered:

  • Number of people who get sick with diarrhea reduced by 23-40%
  • Diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems reduced by 58%
  • Respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population reduced by 16-21%
  • Absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness in schoolchildren reduced by 29-57%

Remember, a lack of hand hygiene when travelling can affect not only you, but also others that you meet. Not washing your hands while travelling could infect your travel partners, strangers you meet and share a meal with, or even young children.

Furthermore, improved hand hygiene while travelling helps to reduce the chance of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance comes from using too many antibiotics throughout your life, thus making them less effective. Antibiotics are often prescribed (unnecessarily) for diarrhea and respiratory infections. However, these could be eliminated with better hand hygiene.

It’s estimated that good hand hygiene can prevent diarrhea cases by 30% and respiratory infections by 20%. If you don’t need to take antibiotics for these while travelling, you are less likely to develop antibiotic resistance. This keeps antibiotics more effective, which helps you fight more serious infections later.

Eating while travelling requires a good hand sanitizer or hand washing

When Should You Clean Your Hands?

You might think that you only need to wash your hands when you’re about to eat something or put your fingers in your mouth. However, that’s not really correct and you should be more thorough with hand hygiene.

The Centre for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends that you wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds in the following situations:

  • after going to the bathroom
  • after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • before eating

In today’s world of COVID-19 and global viruses, you should probably add the following times to the list:

  • before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • before preparing food or touching items that will be placed in or near your eyes, nose, or mouth (such as an oral thermometer or cutlery)

As a traveller, you’re likely to find yourself in lots of new and unusual situations with customs, traditions, foods, ways of eating, and more that you’re unfamiliar with. Here’s a few examples of when hand hygiene should be considered:

  • someone offers you food to eat with your fingers and you don’t want to refuse it
  • when strangers come up and shake hands with everyone before a meal
  • when you’ve been to the toilet and found out there’s nowhere to wash your hands (this has happened so many times in many countries)

These are just a few examples of when the issue or hand sanitizer vs hand washing can be most pertinent. Do you rush around trying to find somewhere to wash your hands, hoping not to embarrass yourself or others in a foreign culture, or are you always prepared with hand sanitizer in case of such a situation?

Which is more effective - hand sanitizer or hand washing?

Which Is More Effective: Hand Sanitizer Vs Hand Washing?

Here is the definitive answer about which is more effective – hand sanitizer vs hand washing:

The answer is simple, hand washing is more effective.

Here are some of the reasons why you should practice hand washing rather than use a hand sanitizer:

  • Hand sanitizer won’t kill all germs, including a stomach bug called norovirus and Clostridium difficile, which causes severe diarrhoea.
  • With hand sanitizer, you may not have enough actual sanitizer to cover your hands completely, which means some germs remain on your hands.
  • When your hands are visibly dirty or greasy, hand sanitizer may not be effective. This can be relevant for travellers who may be outdoors, playing sports, or trying to fix a broken down vehicle. In this situation, hand washing with soap (or even dish soap), is a lot more effective than hand sanitizer.
  • Hand sanitizer is not as effective when dealing with harmful chemicals, like pesticides or heavy metals. In fact, one study showed that people using hand sanitizer after handling pesticide showed higher levels of the chemicals than those who did not use hand sanitizer.

Soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers at combating certain germs and parasites. When you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with clean water and soap, you’re more likely to completely remove germs from your hands.

However, hand washing isn’t always the best option, depending on your circumstances.

If clean water is unavailable, then an alcohol based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol may be the best choice.

A hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizer with less than 60% alcohol might only reduce the growth of germs, not kill them completely. Furthermore, hand sanitizer with less than 60% alcohol may not work well against many types of germs.

Couple travelling together

Which Is Better For Travelling: Hand Sanitizer Vs Hand Washing

When trying to choose an option for hand hygiene – hand sanitizer vs hand washing – it really comes down to a matter of convenience vs effectiveness.

With hand sanitizer, you can carry it with you and practice good hand hygiene when you really need it. However, hand washing will always be the better option, as long as you have clean water and soap available.

However, if you’re hiking in the Himalayas, or trekking through the jungles of borneo, you’re not likely to find a wash basin with clean, running water. So what do you do when you want to munch on a packet of nuts, or a piece of fresh fruit? Whip out the hand sanitizer and clean your hands.

Travellers in places with access to clean water, or people who have a supply of water with them, should try to wash their hands when possible. Travel soaps are incredibly useful and can be packed away in your backpack or day bag when you travel. When lunch comes around, take it out, clean your hands, and you’re ready to eat.

Don’t just take my word for it, though. The CDC recommends the following when it comes to hand hygiene while travelling:

“Wash hands with soap and water whenever possible because hand washing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. But if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.”

Source: Center for Disease Control & Prevention
Practice good hand hygiene to prevent COVID-19 coronavirus

COVID-19 Coronavirus Prevention Methods: Hand Sanitizer Vs Hand Washing

One of the key methods to prevent COVID-19 coronavirus infection when at home or travelling is good hand hygiene. Hand washing is the preferred method to prevent COVID-19, but hand sanitizer can be useful, too. If there is no clean water or soap available, the CDC advises you use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Make sure to cover all the surfaces of your hands and rub thoroughly.

Use hand sanitizer to stop COVID-19 coronavirus before eating food or after using the toilet (if clean water and soap are unavailable). Also, use hand sanitizer after sneezing, blowing your nose, or coughing into your hand to prevent spreading COVID-19 Coronavirus.

If you’re concerned about travelling to Korea during the coronavirus pandemic, check out my article about whether it’s safe to travel to Korea during COVID-19.

Woman using hand sanitizer

Guide To Using Hand Sanitizer While Travelling

Here are some really useful tips about using hand sanitizer while travelling. These essential tips could stop you getting sick while you’re on the road and avoid costly hospital bills and days wasted through sickness.

How To Use Hand Sanitizer

Using hand sanitizer while travelling is simple, right? Actually, yes. But some people can make mistakes when using hand sanitizer and that can lead to it being ineffective. If you don’t cover every part of your hands, then you might have germs leftover.

Here’s the expert advice from the CDC about how to use hand sanitizer while travelling, or at any time:

Guide to alcohol based hand sanitizer

Remember to rub between your fingers and the backs of your hands and use enough. Trying to save hand sanitizer might save money, but it won’t save your health.

Hand sanitizer travel bottle

Are All Hand Sanitizers The Same?

Hand sanitizer comes in many different forms and can be made from various ingredients. You can buy hand sanitizer in liquid, foam, wipes, or gel form and most will contain alcohol in some form. There are also non-alcohol based hand sanitizers that use triclosan or benzalkonium chloride.

Alcohol has been used as an antiseptic since the 14th Century and is now recognised as one of the “safest and most effective medicines needed in healthcare“, according to the World Health Organistion (WHO). Alcohol based hand sanitizers are less damaging to the skin than antiseptic soap.

Remember, a hand sanitizer with less than 60% alcohol won’t be as effective.

Non-alcohol based hand sanitizer can be effective for hand hygiene, but they are not as effective as alcohol based hand sanitizer. Besides not being as effective, there can be side effects. Triclosan-based sanitizer may even have carciogenic properties when mixed with chlorine, which is often present in tap water. More research is needed into this issue before you dismiss non-alcohol based hand sanitizer, though.

Non-alochol-based hand sanitizer may also become contaminated due to its lack of alcohol, which is a preservative itself keeps the sanitizer effective and active for longer. However, both alcohol and non-alcohol based hand sanitizer can become contaminated if not manufactured properly.

As with everything, finding the right type of product, with the right ingredients, can be crucial to staying healthy.

Finding a pharmacy while travelling can be difficult

Where To Buy Hand Sanitizer While Travelling

Purchasing a small bottle of hand sanitizer before you travel gives you peace of mind and ensures you have the best product for hand hygiene on the road. When I travel, I always make sure I buy the essentials before I leave home. You never know when you’ll need it and whether or not you can buy it.

The first time you use it could be at the airport you arrive in or when stopping to check out some delicious street food you pass on the way to the hotel. How many of us can resist fresh food after a long flight?

Travellers may have fewer chances to buy hand sanitizer when travelling than in their own country. Also, it can be hard to read labels in foreign languages and you aren’t likely to recognise as many of the brands that you’re used to.

I’d definitely recommend buying hand sanitizer before travelling.

If you do need to buy hand sanitizer when travelling, then I’d recommend looking for a pharmacy wherever you are. The generally accepted symbol for a pharmacy is a green cross, as in the picture below:

Pharmacy sign

Look for one of these when travelling and you should find hand sanitizer inside. Other places you can buy hand sanitizer while travelling include supermarkets, convenience stores (like 7/11), and healthcare / cosmetic shops.

Dangers Of Using Hand Sanitizers

Hand sanitizer can be a real blessing for hand hygiene, especially when you’re travelling in remote places. However, it also comes with dangers of its own. Here are some things to watch out for when using hand sanitizer while travelling:

  • It’s flammable! – Be careful when transporting hand sanitizer as alcohol is flammable. Make sure the cap is on tightly. When using hand sanitizer, make sure to keep rubbing your hands until they feel dry.
  • Skin issues – Overuse of alcohol based hand sanitizer can reduce the barrier layer on your skin. This can lead to a reduction in skin lipids (the fat in your skin that keeps stuff out).
  • Drinking hand sanitizer – Drinking hand sanitizer is not a good way to get drunk! Hand sanitizer is classed as an over-the-counter drug as it’s used for disease prevention. Avoid drinking it or getting it in your eyes.
  • Be safe with kids – It’s perfectly safe for children to use hand sanitizer, but make sure they’re supervised. Also make sure they don’t ingest it.
  • Non-alcohol based ingredients – Ingredients such as Triclosan can potentially cause other health issues when mixed with other chemicals. Although research about these effects is still ongoing, there is growing concern about the over-use of hand sanitizer. Try to avoid using it daily if possible.

Stay safe and use hand sanitizer responsibly to improve your hand hygiene. Remember, in the debate about hand sanitizer vs hand washing, washing your hands is always better. Now I’m going to discuss more about hand washing for good hand hygiene.

Hand washing should be done for at least 30 seconds

Guide To Hand Washing While Travelling

There’s washing your hands, and then there’s washing your hands. I’m sure we’re all learning a lot more about how to wash our hands effectively with the COVID-19 coronavirus posters everywhere.

Of course, travellers face a number of other problems when hand washing while travelling. It’s not always easy to know whether or not the water is clean. There isn’t always soap available, and you might not be able to dry your hands afterwards. You probably won’t know where the nearest restroom is, or even if it’s clean. Sometimes toilets in other countries can be little more than a hole in the ground!

So how can you follow good hand hygiene when you’re travelling?

Read on for some simple tips about how to wash your hands, how to make sure water is clean, and the best kinds of soaps you can get for travelling.

Practise good hand hygiene by hand washing with soap

How to Wash Your Hands

The correct method for hand washing is handily outlined below by the CDC. Be sure to follow these 5 steps wherever you are in the world:

How to wash your hands

How Long Should You Wash Your Hands For?

If you’re anything like me, you probably spend a few seconds washing your hands with soap under running water before shaking them off and drying your hands (often on my jeans!). However, this isn’t really the recommended way and to practice good hand hygiene, you should spend at least 20 seconds washing your hands.

Hand washing for 30 seconds will eliminate close to 99.9% of all bacteria present on your hands.

There are plenty of short songs or saying that you can repeat while doing this to make the time pass. The one recommended below is ‘Happy Birthday‘, but everyone can choose their favourite.

CDC Guide to hand washing

I know it seems like a big hassle and a bit extreme to wash your hands for so long. But if you don’t wash your hands for long enough, you won’t remove all the germs. This will lead to a higher risk of infection – the one you were trying to avoid by washing your hands in the first place!

The picture below is an infrared scan of someone’s hand before and after washing for 30 seconds. The light areas are germs present on the hand. The dark areas are free from germs and pathogens. This should help illustrate the effectiveness of hand washing.

Hand hygiene comparison unwashed vs hand washing

Make sure you’re washing your hands for at least 20 seconds!

Washing hands while travelling in any country is important

Do I Need Clean Water For Hand Washing While Travelling?

Does water need to be clean for your to wash your hands in it? Yes… and no.

Clean water is the best water for hand washing.

However, if you don’t have clean water available, which travellers might find, then you can use other water sources in certain situations.

You can use water from a flowing river or stream, as well as a water bottle. There may be some particulate matter or dirt present in the water, but the soap will clean that away. Antibacterial soap would be best in this situation.

Jinhu Danda hot spring in Nepal

Avoid washing your hands in stagnant water, however. Water that doesn’t flow tends to build up algae, as well as other nasty microbes. Algae can be toxic and soap will not be effective enough to prevent infection. In the picture above, the freezing rapids are much safer than the still hot spring on the left (not just because there were monkeys sitting in the hot spring a minute before I took this picture).

Furthermore, avoid water that could be contaminated with chemicals from sewage or industrial outlets. If the water has an oily film on top, avoid using it to wash your hands.

Remember, if you’re in doubt about the cleanliness of water, it might be best to use some hand sanitizer instead.

Bars of soap

Why do I Need Soap For Hand Washing?

I’ll be honest, I’ve washed my hands in cold streams along the mountains many times and not had soap with me. It’s not the best option, but it’s better than not washing them.

Soap is important for hand washing as it is a surfactant that holds the dirt and other particles and helps water wash it away from your hands. This is much the same as using dish soap to clean oily frying pans. The soap grabs hold of the bad stuff and takes it away with it as you rinse it off.

Can you wash your hands without soap? Sure. Should you? Not if you can help it.

I’d recommend using soap whenever you can. If not, wash your hands for a longer time and scrub harder to remove the dirt on your skin.

What Soaps Are Best For Hand Hygiene While Travelling?

If you’re going travelling for a long time and want to pack as light as possible, then soap sheets are a good option for you. However, if you want a travel soap that packs more punch, try to make space for a bar or sealable bottle of liquid soap.

There are lots of considerations for choosing a travel soap – size, price, storage, scent, strength, ingredients, ethics, uses, and even environmental impact. You might want a travel soap that doubles up as a detergent. Whatever your decision, make sure that you can pack it away in your bag safely and that it is effective.

Some Portable Soap Recommendations:

Here are some soap recommendations for good hand hygiene while travelling:

Bar: Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar

Liquid: Dr Bronner’s Travel Soap

Sheets: Soap Leaves

Child-friendly: Noodle & Boo Soap Free Baby Wash

Multipurpose: Sea To Summit Wilderness Wash

And don’t forget a good soap holder for bar soap to make sure it doesn’t make a mess of your other stuff. A soft travel sponge with bag is also helpful for scrubbing yourself clean on the road. If you plan to travel with a liquid soap, I’d recommend buying a sealable liquid bottle.

Hygiene while travelling is always important

Final Summary: Hand Sanitizer Vs Hand Washing

To end the hand sanitizer vs hand washing debate, you’ve probably summed up that hand washing is best. However, if you can’t wash your hands with clean water and soap, then use some hand sanitizer to help reduce the chance of infections while you travel.

There are right and wrong ways to clean your hands with hand sanitizer or hand washing, so make sure you follow the recommendations by the CDC. Wash your hands for 30 seconds with soap or rub your hands thoroughly with hand sanitizer until they’re dry.

Going back to the infrared scans again, the pictures below should help highlight the argument between hand sanitizer vs hand washing:

Hand sanitizer blue light picture
Hand washing blue light picture

Whilst both hand sanitizer and hand washing are effective at cleaning the dirt and germs from your hands, it’s obvious that hand washing is the boss of hand hygiene.

If you have your own stories or advice you’d like to share, please feel free to post a comment below. Thanks for reading.

Hand sanitizer vs hand washing FAQs

Hand Hygiene While Travelling FAQs

Here are some simple FAQs for some of the other questions about hand hygiene while travelling.

  1. Which is better while travelling: hand sanitizer vs antibacterial soap?

    Definitely antibacterial soap. Washing for 30 seconds with a good quality antibacterial soap is the best method for eliminating harmful bacteria from your hands while you travel.

  2. Can I use hand sanitizer wipes when travelling?

    Yes, hand sanitizer wipes can be as effective as regular hand sanitizer. However, be sure to check the ingredients and make sure they kill at least 99% of germs.

  3. Which is better while travelling: hand washing vs pure alcohol?

    Alcohol is the key ingredient in most hand sanitizers and will destroy viruses and bacteria found on dirty hands. Using pure alcohol is possible, but it would have to be over 60% (vodka, for example, is only 40%). Remember, alcohol doesn’t kill all microbes, such as E. Coli and viruses that cause diarrhea. If you have the option, always wash your hands. For travellers who want to clean their hands, splashing vodka or gin on them isn’t going to do a whole lot. Go and find a sink, or make sure you packed hand sanitizer.

  4. Can I wash my hands in dirty water?

    Yes, you can use dirty water as long as you have a good quality soap. Travellers can often have a hard time finding clean water, or knowing the condition of water from taps. The soap will take away the dirt stuck to your hands. However, if the water is stagnant, or has an oily surface, avoid it as your hands won’t be any cleaner and could actually poison you instead.

  5. Is hand sanitizer cancerous?

    The active ingredient in hand sanitizer is alcohol and, as long as you aren’t drinking it, shouldn’t have any cancerous effects. However, some non alcohol-based hand sanitizers use other ingredients, including Triclosan. There is evidence to suggest that Triclosan may have cancerous effects, however, it hasn’t been proven conclusively.

  6. Is using hand sanitizer too much dangerous?

    There is no concrete evidence that using hand sanitizer too frequently is dangerous for you. There is concern that it can damage your skin’s natural barrier and reducing your skin lipids. Whilst there are no studies to support the danger of hand sanitizer overuse, it’s still recommended to wash your hands with water or soap instead whenever possible. If you’re travelling somewhere without clean water or soap, then a few days or even weeks of using hand sanitizer won’t leave you with any lasting damage.

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1 thought on “Hand Sanitizer Vs Hand Washing: Best Travel Hand Hygiene 2020”

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