updated 3/11/2005 11:34:11 AM ET 2005-03-11T16:34:11

Mom was right. A new study by infection control specialists at University of North Carolina Hospitals confirms that the best way to get germs off your hands is with soap and water.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

Researchers tested 14 hand hygiene agents plus tap water against specific bacteria and viruses applied to the hands of 62 adult volunteers. Soap and water, or microbial soap and water, were shown to be the most effective at removing viruses and bacteria.

Hand wipes were the least effective.

The lead author of the study says soap and water works better over repeated use because water washes germs down the drain. The author says with waterless rubs and wipes, users never rinse their hands. They just rub a chemical into their hands and let them dry.

Still, hand-rub solutions are considered highly effective, especially if there’s no available alternative.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments