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FAQ - Hand Hygiene - 2015
FAQ - Hand Hygiene - 2015



This question is in reference with handwashing and soap. In our dental faculty we have been informed that our handsoap is being discontinued and I am in the process of finding a new one for the clinics. I was informed that in a health institution it is important to have a soap this is best for all users, and the soap used should be the same brand in all locations of the faculty, clinics, labs, washrooms etc. but cannot find any literature on this to support this theory. In dentistry it is a fact that one has to wash their hands on numerous occasions to keep in standards with IPAC guidelines. We need to research a soap that is not too harsh on the hands and will not cause individuals to have sensitive reactions to it. I have been told that product consistency is important. Are you able to comment on this or direct me to the best sites to find literature. 

Ask OSAP would like to refer you to the CDC publication Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings which says in part:

When evaluating hand-hygiene products for potential use in health-care facilities, administrators or product-selection committees must consider factors that can affect the overall efficacy of such products, including the relative efficacy of antiseptic agents against various pathogens (Appendix) and acceptance of hand-hygiene products by personnel (274,275). Soap products that are not well-accepted by HCWs can be a deterrent to frequent handwashing (276). Characteristics of a product (either soap or alcohol-based hand rub) that can affect acceptance by personnel include its smell, consistency (i.e., “feel”), and color (92,277,278). For soaps, ease of lathering also may affect user preference.1

 This publication can be accessed at this link:  1

Additionally, the 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry contains a section pertaining to hand hygiene. This publication can be accessed at this link:  2

This publication says in part:

The preferred method for hand hygiene depends on the type of procedure, the degree of contamination, and the desired persistence of antimicrobial action on the skin (Table 2). For routine dental examinations and nonsurgical procedures, handwashing and hand antisepsis is achieved by using either a plain or antimicrobial soap and water. If the hands are not visibly soiled, an alcohol-based hand rub is adequate. The purpose of surgical hand antisepsis is to eliminate transient flora and reduce resident flora for the duration of a procedure to prevent introduction of organisms in the operative wound, if gloves become punctured or torn. Skin bacteria can rapidly multiply under surgical gloves if hands are washed with soap that is not antimicrobial (127,128). Thus, an antimicrobial soap or alcohol hand rub with persistent activity should be used before surgical procedures (129–131). 3


(1)    US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings  Accessed On October 15, 2015.

(2)    US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended Infection Control Practices for Dentistry.   Accessed on October 15, 2015.

(3)    US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings — 2003.    Accessed on October 15, 2015. 



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