Complete Guide to Hand Wash and Sanitisers

With our hand wash & sanitisers guide, you can find out everything you need to know before buying or using the product including how often should I wash my hands and what is a sanitiser. If you're ready to buy or want to see our selection, visit our hand wash and sanitisers page.

Top Hand Wash and Sanitisers Brands

  • Aesop
  • Rituals
  • Bubble T
  • CeraVe
  • Cuticura
  • Malin + Goetz

Hand Wash and Sanitisers FAQs

How often should I wash my hands?

You should wash your hands whenever you feel necessary. During times where you feel infection can spread easily, frequently washing your hands with water and a potent hand wash or hand sanitiser kills any harmful germs and infections. Some of the ingredients in certain hand washes can cause your skin to become dry, so we suggest investing in a hand wash that simultaneously moisturises. You can find some luxury hand washes, hand gels and hand soaps for reasonable prices.

Of course, washing your hands is required after using the toilet, before prepping fresh food and whenever you're in contact with dirty substances. We inherently touch our face frequently throughout the day, and doing so with dirty hands is a surefire way to make yourself ill.

If you have a powerful hand wash or hand sanitiser, you don't necessarily need to wash your hands with water - just the potency of the sanitiser is enough to cleanse your hands of any germs.

What is a sanitiser?

You've probably seen more bottles of hand sanitiser in the last few months than you had for the previous couple of years. Of course, this is something to be championed; hand sanitiser is pivotal in killing germs and maintaining optimum levels of hygiene. Unlike soap and water, hand sanitiser cannot remove harmful chemicals, so it's best accompanied alongside a thorough hand washing session.

Hand sanitiser is typically centred around alcohol, combining ethanol, propanol and isopropyl alcohol. It's generally preferred to soap and water in health care environments such as hospitals because it's more effective at killing germs and is easily tolerated by the skin. It's also extremely easy to apply and can be absorbed by the skin in a matter of seconds.

It is possible to find alcohol-free hand sanitiser, then this regarded as less effective and can open the skin up to infection and contamination.

What does sanitiser do?

Hand sanitiser has many qualities: it removes dirt, grime and bacteria, it is easily applied and reduces the risk of contamination and infection. The formula is easily tolerated by the skin, though the detergent is often greatly diluted which means it doesn't always remove harmful chemicals - that's where soap and water are best applied.

You often find hand sanitiser at health care environments, which are used for their efficiency, convenience and potency. They immediately kill germs and bacteria, and greatly reduce the risk of contamination and spreading infection. However, using hand sanitiser isn't a guaranteed way to kill infection - it's best used as a prevention measure as opposed to a cure. Regularly applying it in small doses is the suggested way to keep your hands clean.

What ingredients are in hand wash?

Much like all categories of skin and body care, the formula of hand wash varies greatly depending on the brand. Most hand washes are centred around alcohol, which is implemented to reduce the spread of germs and bacteria. Many hand washes combine alcohol with aromatic ingredients to leave your skin finely scented as well as freshly cleaned.

There is a significant increase in organic and natural ingredients being used in hand wash: raw materials like tea tree and manuka are blended with chemicals to soften the skin and leave your hands feeling supple. Whilst it's pleasant to enjoy soft and clean skin after using hand wash, its primary use is to clean your hands, so don't get a hand wash that values alluring aromas and moisturising over hygiene.

What are the handwashing steps?

Washing our hands may seem like a mindless task that doesn't require a guide or explanation, however, there's actually a bit more to it than you realise. Studies have proven that ineffective hand washing still leaves harmful germs and bacteria on your skin.

If you're washing with a liquid soap or bar of soap, you should begin my washing your hands with warm water then applying the soap after a few seconds. Make sure to get the soap between your fingers; a good way to do this is to interlock your fingers and move them around slightly. After your fingers, rub your palms together and finish the job off by scrubbing the backs of your hands.

After you've appropriately applied the soap, rinse your hands using warm water and then gently dry with a towel.