Person washing hands in sink carefully with soap foam from dispenser for 20-30 seconds to prevent coronavirus infection close up. Everyday hygiene essentials. Safety during COVID-19 pandemia.

While soap choices and dispensing mechanisms play a role in optimizing usage, all bets are off in the absence of good hand hygiene.  

“How somebody washes their hands is going to have a greater effect than the soap they’re using — whether it’s foam or liquid. We need to look at what kind of dwell time they’re getting and whether they’re rinsing properly,” notes Horton. 

In fact, he reminds users that the action of washing hands has a greater bearing on killing germs than the soap itself. 

“To say soap kills germs is a misnomer. Soap doesn’t kill germs; it removes germs from your hands,” Horton explains. “Soap is just a vehicle to help that process and make it easier to see that you’re getting full coverage of your hands when you wash them.” 

Proper handwashing is paramount, yet most people still do it incorrectly, according to professionals. First and foremost, end users need to wet their hands prior to dispensing soap. 

“If people would wet their hands first, the soap would go a lot further, and it will foam quicker,” notes Mann. 

Thompson instructs his students to put water on one hand, soap on the other hand and bring the two together to create lather. 

“Most users put soap on their hand and stick that under the faucet, so most of the soap goes down the drain before it’s even had a chance to contact the other hand,” he says. “This has nothing to do with the quantity of soap or the dispenser. This is habit.” 

Thompson goes on to explain that if people wash their hands correctly, they’ll automatically use less soap. 

“The idea of minimizing hand soap usage needs to go down the drain,” he says. “Instead of focusing on hand soap, we need to go to the root of the problem, which is that we haven’t changed the behavior of the user. We need go back to handwashing 101.” 

Thompson notes that most handwashing signs in restrooms fail to show users how to apply soap to their hands and work it into a lather — a crucial step before rinsing. For this reason, he encourages BSCs to create their own signage for handwashing procedures. 

“Building service contractors have to pay for the soap, replenish it and clean up the mess,” he says. “So, it makes sense for them to take up the mantle and start working toward changing the behavior.”  

Kassandra Kania is based out of Charlotte, North Carolina and is a frequent contributor to Contracting Profits

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Promoting Hand Hygiene with Efficient Soap Usage