It is widely recognized in the healthcare fields, and endorsed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that proper handwashing is the best defense against the spread of illness and infection.

Prevention of the spread of bacteria is at the heart of infection control — and soap, combined with handwashing technique and the reduction or elimination of touch points, are the most effective weapons used. Most facilities now use liquid, wall-mounted soaps; many such units are also touch-free. In healthcare facilities, antimicrobial soaps are used; other facilities should use antibacterial soaps during an outbreak.

While a wide array of soaps for every type of facility exist, most soaps will effectively clean hands as long as users spend enough time lathering and vigorously rubbing hands together. It is recommended that process take 20 seconds, or the amount of time it takes to recite “Happy Birthday” twice through, before rinsing.