Despite the availability of new antibacterial hand washing products, plain soap and water is still the best way to clean hands, suggests a study published in the Harvard Health Letter.
Researchers from Prudue University suggested that the so-called anti-bacterial gels might be used as a supplement but not as a substitute for washing hands with plain soap and water.
The studies shows that washing hands with soap and water for just 15 seconds removes 90% of bacteria. But many people do not wash their hands often enough or dry them thoroughly.
According to a report in the January issue of the Harvard Health Letter, covering a telephone survey of Americans, if was found that over 75% of men and 90% of women would wash their hands after using a public bathroom.
Dr Anthony Komaroff, editor of the Harvard Health Letter said: "The latest alcohol-based gels sold as hand sanitizers could only be used as an alternative to soap and water." The convenience of not needing running water and a towel makes the sanitizing gels a preferred method to quickly clean hands, which has helped fuel sales - He added.
According to Barbara Almanza, an associate professor at Purdue University in Indiana, hand sanitizers work by stripping away the outer layer of oil on the skin, thus preventing the bacteria from coming to the surface of the hands.
However, in general, this bacterium is not the type that will make people sick, but the assumptions are that when there is an increase in the overall bacteria, the chances for disease causing strains are more.