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#647496 - Mon Aug 15 2011 10:39 AM The World's Most Pointless Hygiene Product?
darksplash Offline
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Registered: Sat Nov 03 2007
Posts: 490
Loc: Tyrone Northern Ireland UK 
In the UK there is a major TV advertising campaign for a hand-washing product.
It's a plastic bottle filled with an antiseptic wash, quite like a few others I suppose, but the Unique Selling Point is that you do not need to touch any part to dispense the liquid.

The claim is that germs gather on the little pump handle that other bottles have and transfer to your hands. This mighty product detects the presence of a hand and automatically dispenses the liquid. (A bit like the taps found in some washrooms.).
But hold on a second: when I wash my hands, I put my left hand under the spout, and press the pump with my right, thus dispensing the liquid onto my left palm.

I then wash both hands in water. So, if any germs had transferred from the pump to my right hand, they would be washed away by the liquid... Unless I've been doing something wrong all these years...
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#647500 - Mon Aug 15 2011 10:46 AM Re: The World's Most Pointless Hygiene Product? [Re: darksplash]
flopsymopsy Offline
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Registered: Sat May 17 2008
Posts: 2504
Loc: Northampton England UK      
A surgeon once told me that if I washed my hands with any soap for twenty seconds they would be as clean as I would get them if I'd paid extra for one of these so-called antiseptic soaps. I've no idea if he was right or not but I've always wondered if there was a queue of germs waiting to party up to the very last second.

And worst of all, I think of that every bloomin' time I wash my hands for only nineteen seconds! crazy
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#647603 - Mon Aug 15 2011 07:49 PM Re: The World's Most Pointless Hygiene Product? [Re: flopsymopsy]
satguru Offline
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Registered: Thu Feb 17 2000
Posts: 6341
Loc: Kingsbury London UK           
Sir Hugh Pennington summed up hand washing recently and affirmed any soap will do and don't need very hot water as until it's almost boiling the heat makes no extra difference. The time was also the same and rinsing is vital as well or you leave some of the junk behind. And remember to wash between the fingers as well. So the old fashioned method does the job just as well, I'm sure as the UK's top public health expert he's put fingers on thousands of petri dishes to see the different results and they've all come out the same.
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#647604 - Mon Aug 15 2011 08:33 PM Re: The World's Most Pointless Hygiene Product? [Re: satguru]
Daymare Offline
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Registered: Thu Dec 23 2010
Posts: 84
As much as I wash my hands, it's down to a routine. cool

What bothers me is after I go through the process of sterilization, without paper to dry, and turn off the tap, I recontaminate by touching the handles. confused

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#647684 - Tue Aug 16 2011 09:50 AM Re: The World's Most Pointless Hygiene Product? [Re: Daymare]
rayven80 Offline
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Registered: Mon Jan 22 2007
Posts: 498
Loc: Ft. Collins Colorado USA    
The water less alcohol hand cleaner is incredibly pointless. It claims to kill the majority of germs people come into contact with. My problem with this is people need to be exposed to germs to build/maintain an immune system. By using so many sanitizers, we are lowering our ability to fight infection and creating more powerful germs and bacteria.
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#647855 - Wed Aug 17 2011 07:42 AM Re: The World's Most Pointless Hygiene Product? [Re: Daymare]
sue943 Offline

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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
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Originally Posted By: Daymare


What bothers me is after I go through the process of sterilization, without paper to dry, and turn off the tap, I recontaminate by touching the handles. confused



That is exactly what I yell at the telly each time I see the automatic soap dispenser advert mentioned in the initial post.

The system of handwashing in our public toilets is probably the best it can get, you put your hands in the space over the basin and some soap is dispensed into your hands for you to rub into your hands, then the water flows so that you can wash them and rinse them off, then hot air blows them dry. No need to touch anything, other than the door to get out which of course some people who haven't washed their hands will have touched. You can't win.
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#647881 - Wed Aug 17 2011 09:41 AM Re: The World's Most Pointless Hygiene Product? [Re: rayven80]
Tizzabelle Offline
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Registered: Sun Jan 17 2010
Posts: 2074
Loc: Sydney NSW Australia         
Originally Posted By: rayven80
The water less alcohol hand cleaner is incredibly pointless. It claims to kill the majority of germs people come into contact with. My problem with this is people need to be exposed to germs to build/maintain an immune system. By using so many sanitizers, we are lowering our ability to fight infection and creating more powerful germs and bacteria.


Amen to that! It's not only that problem but it seems that living in a super clean environment leads to the overwhelming epidemic of allergies seen in the community these days. These life threatening allergies are virtually unheard of in communities which aren't as cleanliness conscious as some places in the West. We shouldn't live in a cholera laden sewer but neither should we live in an operating theatre. Bugs are part of the world and it seems they are an essential part of developing our immune system.
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#649644 - Thu Aug 25 2011 09:53 AM Re: The World's Most Pointless Hygiene Product? [Re: Tizzabelle]
ClaraSue Offline
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Registered: Sun May 18 2003
Posts: 7836
Loc: Arizona USA
The problem that I find with the antibacterial alcohol cleaners is that they do nothing for getting the grime off my hands. Plus, when washing my hands in public restrooms, the water is never hot enough to supposedly kill the germs. The water heaters must be in other parts of the building because it never comes through the taps. And these new faucets only allow a few seconds of water to flow. I get tired of putting my hands under the taps to allow the flow, then when the water stops, having to move away from the taps then putting my hands under them again to get the water started. It never fails that the first tap I go to, nothing comes through, then having to move to the next sink (if there is one) and waving my (now soapy) hands to activate the automatic flow. I like the places that have actual working faucets and soap dispensers in the restrooms, then when leaving, having the antibacterial pumps right outside the room next to the doors.
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#649685 - Thu Aug 25 2011 12:38 PM Re: The World's Most Pointless Hygiene Product? [Re: ClaraSue]
darksplash Offline
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Registered: Sat Nov 03 2007
Posts: 490
Loc: Tyrone Northern Ireland UK 
And there is another problem with public restrooms. Many now only have hot air driers, but fewer driers than basins.
On travelling through an airport recently I noted that the restroom had 12 basins, but only two hot air driers.
Faced with having to wait until a drier becomes free, it's no wonder that any many simply walk out without going anywhere near the basins.
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#649713 - Thu Aug 25 2011 04:31 PM Re: The World's Most Pointless Hygiene Product? [Re: darksplash]
mehaul Offline
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Registered: Wed Feb 03 2010
Posts: 4971
Loc: Florida USA
Between the throne and the sink is the door lock handle! You can't get there from there. The wash your hands sinks should be in the stall with you. That way your hands, the door, its handle and its lock could stay clean.
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#649720 - Thu Aug 25 2011 04:54 PM Re: The World's Most Pointless Hygiene Product? [Re: mehaul]
ozzz2002 Offline
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Registered: Mon Dec 03 2001
Posts: 16846
Loc: Sydney NSW Australia        
Hot air driers would have to be the silliest invention since the leaf-blower. They simply add another step between washing your hands (as ClaraSue said, in tepid water), and wiping them on your pants. They just do not do what they are designed to do!

Give me an old-fashioned paper towel any day.
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#649722 - Thu Aug 25 2011 05:32 PM Re: The World's Most Pointless Hygiene Product? [Re: ClaraSue]
Tizzabelle Offline
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Registered: Sun Jan 17 2010
Posts: 2074
Loc: Sydney NSW Australia         
Originally Posted By: ClaraSue
Plus, when washing my hands in public restrooms, the water is never hot enough to supposedly kill the germs.


Don't worry about the water being hot enough to kill the germs on your hands. If it is hot enough to kill germs then you will also have third degree burns and lose your skin anyway. Your skin is one of the most important barriers that prevents infection. Get a cut or a burn on your skin and that will let bugs in. A good wash with water that's at a comfortable temperature is fine with a little soap to remove any grime is fine.

As much as I despise the hand sanitisers in general they do have a purpose. A friend of mine was on a cruise recently and many people came down with a gastro bug. On a cruise you have to use a hand sanitiser before you enter a restaurant. The thing that probably spread the bug around was the hand rails. Everyone touches the handrails as they go up and down the stairs. So when I go on my next cruise I might take a wee bottle of hand sanitiser to use if I've been handling the stair rails. I don't want to ruin my holiday huddling in my cabin being ill! smile We also use the sanitisers at work (in a hospital) to quickly clean our hands between patients. They are fabulous for that. Now to teach the doctors.. *sigh*
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#650137 - Sat Aug 27 2011 07:01 PM Re: The World's Most Pointless Hygiene Product? [Re: Tizzabelle]
Jakeroo Offline
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Registered: Sat Aug 30 2008
Posts: 1805
Loc: Alberta Canada
Our most "modern" public washrooms have motion detectors to start the water flow (sinks AND toilets). There are no taps or buttons to push. And there are plenty of air dryers for everyone. I suppose eventually that most washrooms in "advantaged" countries will eventually catch up.

Personally, being a farm girl who did not have running water or indoor plumbing until the age of 7, I suppose it's amazing I survived until now LOL. Not ALL "germs" are necessarily a "bad" thing (please note that I wash my kitchen counters with bleach and vinegar, alternately - I'm not trying to imply that it's okay to just "let things go" indiscriminately lol). But if you live in a TOTALLY antiseptic world, you will never build any immunities to ANYthing. Also, keep in mind that the "antibacterial" soap people so freely use kills most of the natural organisms that live in whatever river/water system your sink or toilet drains to.

disclaimer, yes Tizzabelle, I totally agree that in hospital/surgery situations all possible precautions MUST be utilised.
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#827402 - Thu Sep 27 2012 01:52 PM Re: The World's Most Pointless Hygiene Product? [Re: Jakeroo]
einsteinII Offline
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Registered: Fri Jul 20 2012
Posts: 47
Loc: Missouri USA
There is an interesting study on the evolution of our intestinal bacterial flora
and another on the bacterial colonies to be found in the home. I do believe that some bacterial globalization is good for us and boosts immunity. Having said that, I don't really want to share germs with someone who is a fast food cook no matter how good it may be for me as I have had my fair share of food-poisonings and I hate them. I think sometimes these things go too far and yet sometimes they are good ideas. For folks who are in areas where water isn't avaialable, such as the portable toilet on the sixth golf hole, an alcohol hand wash is a good thing and more hygenic than doing nothing. All in moderation, I think

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