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Hand Soap vs. Sanitizers: The Great Debate? banner image
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Hand Soap vs. Sanitizers: The Great Debate?

My drive to school this morning was livelier than usual, and it all started with a simple question, “Mommy, do I need to wash my hands or just use the sanitizer?” It was a loud and heated debate between my two elementary school-age children, but at the same time, important for me to hear and weigh in as well. Being in the chemical and ingredient industry, working with chemists and surrounded by great chemistries, I began to think about how many families in cars passing by may also be having a similar conversation. While it’s important information for our little ones, it’s just as interesting a debate in workplaces, online and just about everywhere within the consumer market.  

The answer is a simple one: if possible, use both, depending on your situation, and what is available to you at the time. Ideally, if water is available, start with good old-fashioned hand soap, washing thoroughly for at least 30 seconds and drying your hands completely.

We also have to consider that our lives have become very active, and travel is more often part of our routines. On-the-go solutions like hand sanitizers have proven to be critical and, to mother like me, a self-preservation tool as well. It helps me feel I am doing my best to keep them safe, in any way possible, based on the situation at hand.

I encourage using both soap and hand sanitizer if possible, because, while soap washes off bacteria, hand sanitizers kill them. Therefore, if you are in a situation to use both, or if you have little ones whose handwashing skills may not be top-notch, both will help give you some certainty.

Creating effective hand soaps and sanitizers is one of our technical specialties at Univar Solutions. We have a wide portfolio of surfactants, solvents, and more to create products that are effective and pleasant for consumer use. If you are looking to learn more about our capabilities, chemistries, ingredients, or how to make one of those critical items like soap and sanitizer please contact us. I will hopefully, by then, be discussing something even more entertaining during my morning rides—like broccoli versus brussels sprouts for dinner. 

-Dr. Dejana Drew

Director, Technical Solutions, Univar Solutions USA

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