According to researchers in Dallas, using disinfectant gels, rather than hand rubs, for hospital hand washing may lead to a decrease in hygiene. Getting doctors and nurses to wash their hands between each patient is thought to be a major advance in reducing hospital infections. Soap and water is used in US, while in Europe, an alcohol-based rub is more common. Both have drawbacks soap and water is time consuming, the rubs are drying to the skin.
That's why disinfectant gels might be initiated. But although they might be easier on the hands, the anti-microbial action of the gels isn't necessarily so good. Researchers at the University of Geneva, and colleagues in Germany, compared a range of gels and four alcohol-based hand rinses with the performance of a standard disinfectant, 2-propanol.
They found that none of the gel formulations was as good as the 2-propanol at killing bacteria. However, the rinses did give as good a performance as 2-propanol. Substituting gels for rinses might help doctors and nurses look after their hands but they may be a health hazard to the patient.