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There are Many Situations Where You Can Use an Instant Hand Sanitizer Instead of Soap and Water

Washing Hands


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand hygiene is the #1 way to prevent the spread of infection in healthcare settings. Many dental professionals believe washing with soap and water is the best way to sanitize their hands and use instant hand sanitizers sparingly.

But according to the CDC, it is recommended that, "if hands are not visibly soiled, use an alcohol-based hand rub for routinely decontaminating hands". The CDC recommends soap and water if hands are visibly soiled, which, with the use of exam gloves, shouldn’t be often. It is important for dental professionals to understand the CDC guidelines for hand hygiene as the American Dental Association (ADA) follows these guidelines.

The chart below shows the relative effectiveness of hand hygiene products in reducing bacteria. Complete the form to download the CDC Guidelines.


Effectiveness of Hand Hygiene Products in Reduction of Bacteria

Soap Vs Sanitizer

*CDC. MMWR 2003;52(No. RR-17). http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol/guidelines/index.htm


What are the advantages of instant hand sanitizers versus soap and water?

  • Rapid and effective antimicrobial action
  • Improved skin condition; soap and water is more damaging to skin than hand sanitizers
  • Hand sanitizers are more accessible than sinks, allowing you to visit with patients while sanitizing
  • Hand sanitizers work faster and don’t require water; this saves considerable time and water

When should you use an alcohol-based instant hand sanitizer?

Washing with soap and water is still important, but, according to the CDC, there are many times you can replace hand washing with an instant hand sanitizer:
  • Before having direct contact with patients
  • Before donning sterile gloves and after removing gloves
  • Before inserting invasive devices that do not require a surgical procedure
  • After contact with a patient’s intact and non-intact skin, bodily fluids and mucous membranes
  • After contact with inanimate objects (including medical equipment) in the immediate vicinity of the patient
  • If moving from a contaminated-body site to a clean-body site during patient care

Not all instant hand sanitizers are the same

There is a big difference between brands of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Some can leave 100 times more germs than other leading sanitizers after repeated use, which is a risk to your patients and staff. Others can be harsh on skin. PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer kills more germs than other brands and is clinically proven to improve skin feel.1-3

  1. Acute Moisturization Analysis Study #110212-301 April 25, 2014, BioSciences Laboratories, Bozemon, MT.
  2. 4-week clinical study #2011-F10232, Akron, OH February - March 2011.
  3. 4-week clinical study #2011-F10233, Akron, OH Febraury - March 2011.
The PURELL® brand in your practice shows patients you care

The PURELL brand is used by more hospitals and at home by your patients. This reassures your patients and reinforces your high clinical standards when they see the PURELL brand in your office.

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