Common Hand Washing Methods Compared

by Joe Johnson, on February 13,2020

Hand hygiene is one of, if not the most important aspect of your SSOP's. There are a few common methods widely used to wash hands. Each method has benefits, but some have drawbacks that can result in poor hand washing and pathogen reduction.

Here are four most common methods used today, and the pros and cons of each:

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Traditional Sink

Sink, a soap dispenser and a drying method such as paper towels or forced air.

Benefits Potential Concerns
- Low cost
- Familiar system to all
- Highly dependent on user
- Unreliable and inconsistent level of pathogen removal
- Difficult compliance tracking
- Uses an average of three gallons of water per wash

Hand Sanitizer

Quick and effective way of killing harmful pathogens on your hands.

Benefits Potential Concerns
- Low cost
- Does not require water source

- Does not remove visible dirt or grease
- Required large volume of sanitizer to be effective
- Frequent use can be detrimental to skin health
- Not as effective as soap & water against norovirus, cryptosporidium and other common pathogens


Semi-Automated Handwashing Stations

Hands-free faucet and soap dispenser.

Benefits Potential Concerns
- Reduces cross-contamination - No way to enforce proper handwashing duration.
- Uses a lot of water
- Effectiveness is limited by user behavior

Automated Handwashing Stations

Guaruntees standardized, fast, effective, and trackable handwashing events.

Benefits Potential Concerns
- 12 second wash time
- Easy compliance monitoring
- Automation ensures reliable & consistent result
- Removes more than 99.9% of pathogens
- Uses only 0.6 gallons per wash
- Costs more than manual systems


The highest risk of contamination for your facility obviously comes from the people working there. It is important to put processes and tools in place that ensure compliance and emphasize a culture of hygiene excellence. Here at Meritech we strive to save lives and prevent the spread of disease by overcoming the variability of human behavior with fully automated handwashing stations. Interested in learning more about how Meritech can help your business ensure the highest level of employee hygiene? Check out all our automated handwashing stations here!

Topics:CleanTech® Handwashing StationsHand Hygiene Resources

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