Next Article in Journal
Next Article in Special Issue
Previous Article in Journal
Previous Article in Special Issue
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(1), 97-104; doi:10.3390/ijerph8010097
Article

The Effect of Handwashing with Water or Soap on Bacterial Contamination of Hands

,
,
,
,
 and *
Received: 24 November 2010; in revised form: 30 December 2010 / Accepted: 31 December 2010 / Published: 6 January 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drinking Water and Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [195 KB, uploaded 19 June 2014]
Abstract: Handwashing is thought to be effective for the prevention of transmission of diarrhoea pathogens. However it is not conclusive that handwashing with soap is more effective at reducing contamination with bacteria associated with diarrhoea than using water only. In this study 20 volunteers contaminated their hands deliberately by touching door handles and railings in public spaces. They were then allocated at random to (1) handwashing with water, (2) handwashing with non-antibacterial soap and (3) no handwashing. Each volunteer underwent this procedure 24 times, yielding 480 samples overall. Bacteria of potential faecal origin (mostly Enterococcus and Enterobacter spp.) were found after no handwashing in 44% of samples. Handwashing with water alone reduced the presence of bacteria to 23% (p < 0.001). Handwashing with plain soap and water reduced the presence of bacteria to 8% (comparison of both handwashing arms: p < 0.001). The effect did not appear to depend on the bacteria species. Handwashing with non-antibacterial soap and water is more effective for the removal of bacteria of potential faecal origin from hands than handwashing with water alone and should therefore be more useful for the prevention of transmission of diarrhoeal diseases.
Keywords: hygiene; trial; infection hygiene; trial; infection
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Export to BibTeX |
EndNote


MDPI and ACS Style

Burton, M.; Cobb, E.; Donachie, P.; Judah, G.; Curtis, V.; Schmidt, W.-P. The Effect of Handwashing with Water or Soap on Bacterial Contamination of Hands. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8, 97-104.

AMA Style

Burton M, Cobb E, Donachie P, Judah G, Curtis V, Schmidt W-P. The Effect of Handwashing with Water or Soap on Bacterial Contamination of Hands. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2011; 8(1):97-104.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Burton, Maxine; Cobb, Emma; Donachie, Peter; Judah, Gaby; Curtis, Val; Schmidt, Wolf-Peter. 2011. "The Effect of Handwashing with Water or Soap on Bacterial Contamination of Hands." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 8, no. 1: 97-104.


Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert