The aim of the project was to review available data on the efficacy of currently available alternatives to soap and water for hand washing in the context of removal of contamination typical of that experienced in a range of outdoor activities, workplaces and related environments. Consideration to include commercial waste and recycling activity, agriculture including animal visitor attractions, outdoor events, construction sites and other work away from permanent welfare facilities.
The use of soap and warm running water for hand washing remains an effective method for reducing the levels of hand borne microbiological contamination. The use of soap and cold running water has also been shown as effective for hand decontamination, though is likely to be marginally less effective than soap and warm water.
Alcohol preparations based on either gels or liquid hand rubs can offer a significant reduction in microbiological hand contamination, with some studies claiming multi-log reductions under specified conditions that are greater than hand washing approaches. However, there are important limitations to how alcohol rubs and gels should be used, and these may introduce uncertainties regarding their efficacy.