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Soap and Water! The Safest Way to Kill Germs

Posted Feb 02 2009 11:43pm

“Soap and water and common sense are the best disinfectants.”
~ William Osler, Canadian Physician, 1849-1919 

Okay. I don’t have kids spreading germs all over the place, but having grown up around farming — and that means lots of manure and stuff! and none of us died of anything! (gee, what did centuries of humans do without sanitizer?!) — I’ve always wondered about all this “sanitizer” stuff that all the soccer and other kids drag around and just have to have in order to live! To me it’s been just one more of the ways corporations scared people into giving over their hard earned money and common sense.

And, sadly, I’ve been around kids who don’t know how to use soap and water! “Where’s the sanitizer” they whine! Yeesh!

So, AHA! I’m vindicated!

Studies at the University of Michigan School of Public Health (article in Prevention Magazine) show that antibacterial liquid and bar soaps containing triclosan are no better at preventing infections than regular soaps, and may also decrease the effectiveness of some antibiotics. They go as far to say, “Skip products labeled antibacterial.”

What to use?

#1: YEA! Plain soap and water! Scrub for 20 seconds, including under nails and between fingers.

#2: Alcohol-based sanitizer. If not around water and soap, the ideal formulas for on-the-go cleaning contain 62% ethyl alcohol and don’t contribute to antibiotic resistance. WARNING: Won’t work if there is dirt on hands and can be poisonous to kids if ingested.

See? How many bars of soap have been ingested for cussing and swearing over the centuries and we’re here to talk about it! HA!

#3: Non-alcohol sanitizer. Formulas containing benzalkonium chloride, or BAC, are favored by some for children because of the lack of alcohol. Downside: BAC has been associated with antibiotic resistance, though less often than triclosan.

So. I rest my case, on my soap box!

“And a nice little boy had a nice cake of soap,
Worthy of washing the hands of the Pope.”

~ Rev. R. H. Barham, English Poet and Dramatist, 1788-1845
That rhyme just wouldn’t work with ”sanitizer!” 

©2009 Kim Wolinski, MSW “Dr. DeClutter” Stress, Change and Organizational Skills Expert

Editors and publishers are free to reprint blog articles as long as it is reprinted in its entirety and the signature line remains intact.

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