• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of aacPermissionsJournals.ASM.orgJournalAAC ArticleJournal InfoAuthorsReviewers
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. Oct 1986; 30(4): 542–544.
PMCID: PMC176477

Efficacy of alcohol-based hand rinses under frequent-use conditions.


Fifty volunteers randomly assigned to one of five hand washing agents (10 subjects per agent)--a nonantiseptic liquid soap (control), an antiseptic hand rinse containing 60% isopropyl alcohol (IPA) with emollients (Alc A), an antiseptic hand rinse containing 70% IPA and 0.5% chlorhexidine gluconate with emollients (Alc B), an antiseptic containing 4% chlorhexidine gluconate and 4% IPA (CHG), and 70% IPA--washed their hands 15 times per day for 5 days under supervision by using a standardized technique and measured amounts of test agent. Microbiologic samples of hand flora were obtained at base line and after hand washes 1 and 15 on test days 1 and 5. After the initial hand wash there were significant reductions over base line in aerobic and anaerobic log CFU among those using Alc A, CHG, and IPA. By the end of the first day of hand washing (15 washes), there were 2-log or greater reductions in aerobic counts among subjects using all antiseptics, but no significant reductions in controls. By the end of day 5, all agents produced significant reductions in aerobic (P = 0.0002) and anaerobic (P = 0.002) counts over control soap. Subject assessment of effects of hand washing on the skin and overall satisfaction varied significantly by product (P = 0.04 and 0.05, respectively). We conclude that alcohol-based hand rinses are highly efficacious, and such products are recommended as a health care personnel hand wash, particularly when sink and running water are inaccessible.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (633K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Aly R, Maibach HI. A comparison of the antimicrobial effect of 0.5% chlorhexidine (Hibistat) and 70% isopropyl alcohol on hands contaminated with Serratia marcescens. Clin Exp Dermatol. 1980 Jun;5(2):197–201. [PubMed]
  • Ayliffe GA. Surgical scrub and skin disinfection. Infect Control. 1984 Jan;5(1):23–27. [PubMed]
  • Dineen P. Hand-washing degerming: a comparison of povidone-iodine and chlorhexidine. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1978 Jan;23(1):63–67. [PubMed]
  • Larson E. Handwashing and skin. Physiologic and bacteriologic aspects. Infect Control. 1985 Jan;6(1):14–23. [PubMed]
  • Larson EL. Persistent carriage of gram-negative bacteria on hands. Am J Infect Control. 1981 Nov;9(4):112–119. [PubMed]
  • Larson E, Leyden JJ, McGinley KJ, Grove GL, Talbot GH. Physiologic and microbiologic changes in skin related to frequent handwashing. Infect Control. 1986 Feb;7(2):59–63. [PubMed]
  • Larson EL, Strom MS, Evans CA. Analysis of three variables in sampling solutions used to assay bacteria of hands: type of solution, use of antiseptic neutralizers, and solution temperature. J Clin Microbiol. 1980 Sep;12(3):355–360. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Murie JA, Macpherson SG. Chlorhexidine in methanol for the preoperative cleansing of surgeons' hands: a clinical trial. Scott Med J. 1980 Oct;25(4):309–311. [PubMed]
  • Ojajärvi J. The importance of soap selection for routine hand hygiene in hospital. J Hyg (Lond) 1981 Jun;86(3):275–283. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Rotter ML. Hygienic hand disinfection. Infect Control. 1984 Jan;5(1):18–22. [PubMed]
  • Rotter M, Koller W, Wewalka G. Povidone-iodine and chlorhexidine gluconate-containing detergents for disinfection of hands. J Hosp Infect. 1980 Jun;1(2):149–158. [PubMed]
  • Young MJ, Bresnitz EA, Strom BL. Sample size nomograms for interpreting negative clinical studies. Ann Intern Med. 1983 Aug;99(2):248–251. [PubMed]

Articles from Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy are provided here courtesy of American Society for Microbiology (ASM)


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • Compound
    PubChem Compound links
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...