Squeaky Clean: Wash, Wipe, or Squirt? When your hands are dirty do you reach for soap, hand sanitizer, or a wipe? In this experiment I decided to put these methods of cleaning your hands to the test by rubbing my hands with bacteria and then dousing them with a hand cleaner. This report will cover what bacteria is, how soap and water kill bacteria, and the origin of hand sanitizer.
What Are Bacteria? Bacteria are miniscule single-celled organisms that are found everywhere (“What is Bacteria? What are Bacteria?” 2009). It is impossible to escape bacteria. They are everywhere. They are in your stomach and in the air. Some bacteria are beneficial while others can kill (“Bacteria and Hand Washing”). The most common bacteria found on hands is Staphylococcus epidermidis, or Staph. Staph is harmless when it is just on your hands but if it enters the body via a cut it can be very dangerous (Kelly, Krucik).
Why Should You Clean Your Hands? Cleaning and washing your hands is the best way to stop germs and bacteria from spreading. You touch millions of objects a day and each object has millions of bacteria. From the kitchen sink to your coffee cup, everything is covered in bacteria. Just imagine how many bacteria are in your hands right now(Gavin)!
Hand Sanitizer The idea of hand sanitizer has exploded from a joke to a $175 million dollar business. Now when you walk into a store hand sanitizer rules the shelves. Does hand sanitizer even work? Recent study has concluded that although hand sanitizer does remove germs it can not cut through dirt or grime. So, you could only really use hand sanitizer once you have already washed your hands(Collier Cool 1).
The Beginnings of Hand Sanitizer Hand Sanitizer was not always such a big business. David Owens from the New Yorker states, “In 1988, a family-owned hand-soap company in Ohio invented an alcohol-based hand cleaner which was meant to be used by health-care workers when soap and water were unavailable.” This was a big breakthrough. Before hand sanitizers had been greasy and white. Salesmen went into stores squirting this product onto peoples hands but no one would buy it. David Owens explains, “People couldn’t get their minds around it. They didn’t know what it was for.” This unsellable product was Purell. Purell now rules the shelves of supermarkets worldwide.
How Does Hand Sanitizer Kill Bacteria? Hand Sanitizer is defined by “Dictionary.com” as “ a preperation or sustance that is used for killing germs.” But how does it kill bacteria? The answer in many hand sanitizers is alcohol. There are two major ingredients in alcohol that are used in hand sanitizer to kill bacteria. These are ethanol and isopropanol, which are both forms of alcohol. Alcohol kills germs on contact. But for this to work the hand sanitizer needs to contain about 60% alcohol (Sherwood). Chris Sherwood from Livestrong.com states, “Ethanol and Isopropanol are antiseptics that kill germs by dissolving their essential proteins.” As...