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Is Soap Better than Hand Sanitizer?

The current situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has generated many questions.  More questions than answers, in most cases.  One of the questions people ask us, in general, is which is more effective, soap or hand sanitizer, at preventing the spread of germs.  The short answer is soap, in most cases.  The long answer is, it depends.  It depends on the specific situation and/or vocation.  As an example, for clinical situations, hand sanitizer may be more preferred in some situations.  Check with the CDC [CDC.gov] for your specific vsituation.

But for most situations and applications the CDC states
CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible because handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. But if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. The guidance for effective handwashing and use of hand sanitizer in community settings was developed based on data from a number of studies...

Soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers at removing certain kinds of germs...

There are a lot of different ways to explain the reasons why.  A good video explaining why can be found here.