Test models for hygienic handrub and hygienic handwash: the effects of two different contamination and sampling techniques

J Hosp Infect. 1992 Mar;20(3):163-71. doi: 10.1016/0195-6701(92)90084-y.


Two methods for artificial contamination of hands and two sampling techniques to recover the test organisms were compared for their effects on the results of two post-contamination hand treatments: a handrub with two portions of 3 ml of 2-propanol 60% v/v for 1 min, and a handwash with liquid soap 20% w/v for 1 min followed by a 15 s rinse. The two contamination methods involved a short immersion of the hands (up to the middle of the mid-hand) in a suspension of the test organism followed by either air-drying (3 min) or drying by rubbing the hands' vigorously against each other (3 min) in a standardized way. The two sampling techniques consisted of rubbing the fingertips in either 10 ml trypticase soy broth (TSB) against the bottom of a Petri dish; or 100 ml TSB against glass beads contained in a bowl. Sixteen volunteers were randomly allotted to four blocks of four. They carried out the four possible combinations of two treatments and two contamination methods in a series of four tests arranged in a Latin-square design. In addition, the two sampling techniques were compared with each other concurrently by sampling of the right and left hand each with a different one of the two techniques. The alcoholic handrub reduced the release of test organisms significantly (2P less than 0.005) more effectively, by 1.1-1.3 x log10, than did the handwash with liquid soap, regardless of the contamination or sampling method. Whereas the two recovery techniques yielded virtually identical results in corresponding situations, the method of artificial contamination affected the mean reduction factors, strongly.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • 1-Propanol*
  • Bacteriological Techniques
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Hand / microbiology*
  • Hand Disinfection*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Soaps


  • Soaps
  • 1-Propanol