Recommendation ID
Hand decontamination:- When clean running water is not available, what is the clinical and cost effectiveness of using wipes, gels, handrubs or other products to remove visible contamination?
Any explanatory notes
(if applicable)
Why this is important:- Community healthcare workers often encounter challenges in carrying out hand decontamination when there is no access to running water. This particularly affects ambulance service staff, who often provide emergency care at locations where running water is not available. No evidence from randomised controlled trials is available on the most effective way for community-based healthcare workers to remove physical contamination, such as blood, from their hands in the absence of running water. In recent years, hand decontamination products that can be used without running water, such as gels, handrubs and wipes, have become available. However, their efficacy and suitability in actual clinical practice for use with visibly dirty hands has not been determined. A randomised controlled trial is required to compare hand wipes (alcohol and antiseptic), hand gels and other hand decontamination products that can be used without running water, to determine the most effective way to remove physical dirt in the absence of running water, in order to make a recommendation for their use in real situations. The primary outcome measure should be colony-forming units on the basis of the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) surface test.

Source guidance details

Comes from guidance
Healthcare-associated infections: prevention and control in primary and community care
Date issued
March 2012

Other details

Is this a recommendation for the use of a technology only in the context of research? No  
Is it a recommendation that suggests collection of data or the establishment of a register?   No