Iberoamerican Journal of Medicine
Iberoamerican Journal of Medicine
Original article

The Impact of the Three Most Common Hand Cleansing Methods on the Bacterial Profile: A Randomized Clinical Trial

El impacto de los tres métodos de limpieza de manos más comunes en el perfil bacteriano: un ensayo clínico aleatorizado

Zean Zefenkey

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Introduction: The hand harbors different species of bacteria that may play a role in the transmission of infectious diseases. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine the bacterial profile of hands and assess the efficacy of the three most common methods of hand cleansing on the reduction of that bacteria.
Materials and methods: Hand swaps were collected from 150 adults. The identity of bacteria was done by standard microbiological procedures. Each participant applied one of three selected methods of hand cleansing namely, handwashing with water and plain soap, hand rubbing with an alcohol-based sanitizer, and hand wiping with alcohol-free hand sanitizer wipes. A second swap was collected after cleansing to determine the efficacy of each method by calculating the percentage of the reduction of isolated bacteria.
Results: Most isolated bacteria were commensal flora like Coagulase Negative Staphylococcus (92%), and Corynebacterium spp (81.3%). Other pathogenic bacteria were isolated mainly, Staphylococcus aureus (32%), Escherichia coli (10%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (2.6%), Klebsiella spp (2.6%) and Acinetobacter spp. (2%). The hand rubbing was more efficacy than handwashing without a statistically significant difference (P>0.05), and the hand wiping had lower efficacy than the other two methods with statistically significant difference (P<0.001).
Conclusions: The hand is a serious source of infection due to the variety of bacteria on it. These bacteria can be eliminated either by handwashing with water and plain soap or hand rubbing with an alcohol-based sanitizer. Alcohol-free hand sanitizer wipes should be used just for cleaning without disinfection due to their low efficacy as a sanitizer.


Hand hygiene; Handwashing; Sanitizer; Hand wipes


Introducción: La mano alberga diferentes especies de bacterias que pueden jugar un papel en la transmisión de enfermedades infecciosas. Este estudio se realizó para determinar el perfil bacteriano de las manos y evaluar la eficacia de los tres métodos más comunes de limpieza de manos en la reducción de esa bacteria.
Materiales y métodos: Se recolectaron información de las manos de 150 adultos. La identidad de las bacterias se realizó mediante procedimientos microbiológicos estándar. Cada participante aplicó uno de los tres métodos seleccionados de limpieza de manos, a saber: lavarse las manos con agua y jabón común, frotarse las manos con un desinfectante a base de alcohol y limpiarse las manos con toallitas desinfectantes para manos sin alcohol. Se recogió una segunda muestra después de la limpieza para determinar la eficacia de cada método calculando el porcentaje de reducción de bacterias aisladas.
Resultados: La mayoría de las bacterias aisladas fueron flora comensal como Staphylococcus Coagulasa Negativo (92%) y Corynebacterium spp (81,3%). Se aislaron otras bacterias patógenas principalmente, Staphylococcus aureus (32%), Escherichia coli (10%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (2,6%), Klebsiella spp (2,6%) y Acinetobacter spp. (2%). Frotar las manos fue más eficaz que lavarse las manos sin una diferencia estadísticamente significativa (P> 0,05), y la limpieza de las manos tuvo una eficacia menor que los otros dos métodos con una diferencia estadísticamente significativa (P <0,001).
Conclusiones: La mano es una fuente grave de infección debido a la variedad de bacterias que contiene. Estas bacterias pueden eliminarse lavándose las manos con agua y jabón común o frotándose las manos con un desinfectante a base de alcohol. Las toallitas desinfectantes para manos sin alcohol deben usarse solo para limpiar sin desinfectar debido a su baja eficacia como desinfectantes.

Palabras clave

Higiene de manos; Lavado de manos; Desinfectante; Toallitas para manos


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