Hand Sanitizers vs Hand Washing
With the recent fears over the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, people are swarming store en masse to load up on hand sanitizers, among other staples. But do hand sanitizers really work as well as washing your hands with soap and water?
According to the CDC,  people should wash hands with soap and water whenever possible, and use hand sanitizer when that option is not available. In other words, hand sanitizer is not a substitute for hand washing, it's a better option than nothing until you can wash your hands. Alcohol based hand sanitizers will kill some microbes, but not all. Additionally, the alcohol content has to be high enough to kill these germs. The CDC advises that alcohol based hand sanitizers are most effective at alcohol concentrations of 60%-95% alcohol. That is, the concentration, meaning if other ingredients are added, such as aloe vera, carbomer gel, etc (which almost all hand sanitizers include)..the dilution rate of these ingredients has to be factored into the calculation to ensure the alcohol concentration is at least 60%. There are ubiquitous internet recipes for making your own hand sanitizers, and many of them would not meet the basic alcohol content needed to be effective. Furthermore, there are endless "no alcohol" hand sanitizer recipes out there, which are of little effect as far as killing certain microbes.
Hand washing, with soap, is most effective for removing dirt, germs and other nasties. We don't just say this because we're a soap company, we say this because we know HOW soap works. While hand sanitizers may kill some microbes (remember, it doesn't kill all germs), they are ultimately not removed from your skin. So, now you have a bunch of dead and half dead germs hanging out on your hands. 
Soap removes the nasties from your skin and washes them away. Gone. Bye bye. The short version of the science in soap is this: dirt, grime, germs, chemicals, etc..are trapped by soap bubbles. All that beautiful bubbly lather is actually science at work. For a more in depth version of how soap works click here : How does soap work?
Additionally, soap actually attacks the weak fat membrane of viruses, including the coronavirus, lending it a death blow (insert loud "arrgh!" and envision yourself with a rather large sword).
For some riveting reading on how this occurs click: Deadly viruses are no match for plain old soap. 
So the next time you are tempted to forego the hand washing with soap for a quick squirt of hand sanitizer, think about how you'd be laying down your sword.
Do you want to surrender? Or do you want to "Arrgh!" and fight on?
Keep calm, and lather up!