Hand washing removes germs from the hands and protects you from acquiring micro-organisms that may cause infection. To wash and dry your hands properly takes approximately one to two minutes.
Hand disinfection with an alcohol hand rub does not remove dirt or soil from the hands like hand washing, but it does destroy micro-organisms on hands, preventing them from being spread by contact. Alcohol hand rubs are fast acting, taking approximately 15 seconds to use, and cause less skin irritation. Because of this, alcohol hand rubs are recommended for health care staff caring for patients.
Patient information leaflets available: