What should a proper hand washing agent be expected to accomplish?

At a minimum hand washing should: 

  • provide good mechanical cleansing of skin
  • have the capacity to kill a variety of microorganisms if is used in a surgical settings
  • have some residual antimicrobial effect to prevent re-growth of  resident bacteria and fungi when used for surgical hand washing; and
  • be dispensed in a manner without risk of cross-contamination among HCW.

The major concern is the presence of transient flora on the person’s hands. The goal is  to wash off the flora – killing them with an anti-microbial agent is supplemental.