Handwashing for Life

Overcoming Underwashing

Risk-Based Hand Soap Systems

The "immeasurables" make the difference

Best practice handwashing requires skin-friendly deep-cleaning soap and a reliable, easy-to-see/service, touch-free dispenser. Integrated technologies are setting the pace in advancing the science of handwashing. Best-In-Class solutions are a good place to start before making potentially costly compromises.

This combination encourages staff handwashing, lowering the risk of an outbreak and protecting customer health as well as operator brand values. This breed of soap system serves the frequent-washer with good cleaning and fast rinsing in order to protect the health of their skin. Savings of time and water are commonly available when specifying quality systems based first on performance rather than the soap's price per liter or gallon. The Purell dispensers are now monitoring enabled to connect with multiple data gathering/reporting technologies. When the data cartridge is onboard, this is referred to as a SmartLink dispenser.

Direct costs of soap by the liter vary widely. The best choice is often the one that most effectively covers the range of “immeasurables" like never running out of soap, providing staff motivation to wash, saving operational time (wash and rinse times), reducing employee absenteeism, increasing dispenser reliability and saving water.

Soap systems to avoid:

1. Refillable dispensers commonly harbor bacteria and are nearly impossible to clean once contaminated.
2. All soaps with unreliable delivery. Dispenser issues deter frequent handwashing.
3. Soap dispensers where it is difficult to see fill level and challenging to change cartridge/bag.
4. Harsh soaps. Where extra cleaning is sought, extend the wash time or use a nailbrush.
5. Strong smelling soaps as they too deter frequent use.
6. Bar soap.
Note:  “Brushless Carwash” type automatic handwash systems must be tested for full soil removal. These options lack the hand-to-hand friction necessary for good cleaning. They are acceptable where light-duty cleaning is specified.

Effective hand soap > more frequent handwashing > less risk of illness

Liquid or Foam

Well formulated hand soaps, liquid and foam, provide both effective cleaning and an incentive to wash frequently.

Failure on either point cuts compliance levels and raises operator risk. Pre-foamed hand soap spreads quickly and evenly. Its cling factor holds the cleaning power in place, reducing waste, consumption and potential skin irritation. Ease of thorough rinsing and general aesthetics are preferred by food workers, encouraging frequent use. Others prefer liquids, particularly in operations where heavy soil conditions prevail. Whether you prefer liquid or foam delivery systems, insure the product selected delivers these desired results.

First, the hand soap must be effective in cleaning the soils related to your menu, removing the principal pathogens responsible for foodborne illness. Reputable suppliers provide specifications and research documentation confirming efficacy of their product offerings. You can test cleaning ability by using GlitterBug and the UV light training technique. How well does the soap remove the GlitterBug?

Second, the hand soap must clean thoroughly but not aggressively. The cleansing action must be balanced to protect the natural benefits of healthy skin. Skin is an important part of our immune system and it is easier to clean when it is healthy and smooth. A controlled cleansing formulation encourages frequent washing and minimizes the danger of cracked, dry skin. Take the time to insure you are not undermining your hygiene program with generic soaps, often bundled in with the purchase of "chemicals". Start with a short-list of experienced food industry suppliers, those with easily accessed support personnel and documented performance standards.

Antibacterial soaps are not essential for good handwashing results. Hand soaps are about removing pathogens, not killing them. Good kill levels require a contact time incompatible with kitchen handwashing. There is data available on some formulations that indicate an added reduction of pathogens is possible. Killing pathogens is the role of alcohol hand sanitizers.

Consider this innovative soap option.

Insist on these properties:

  • A closed cartridge/bag system. These can be formulated without the harsh chemicals required to keep open-top dispensers from rearing pathogenic bacteria. This allows the chemist the opportunity to deliver a truly skin friendly product.
  • A monitoring-enabled dispenser. These provide management with the handwash frequency numbers for motivating and tracking performance. See Hands-On plan.
  • A touch-free dispenser eliminates the possibility of cross-contamination caused by buttons or levers.
  • Finally, make this hand soap convenient in all respects. Locate near the faucet. The user can then pre-rinse their hands before applying the hand soap. This increases effectiveness and speeds the process.
  • Pair with a water-saving deep-draw handsink equipped with a reliable touch-free faucet. Nearly a gallon of water can be saved with each 20 second handwash.

Your hand soap 10-point checklist:

  1. Insure soap is effective for the location, soil suitable.
  2. Fast soil wetting and penetration.
  3. Good foaming to lift soil/contaminants away from skin.
  4. Easy rinsing, avoiding residues that damage skin.
  5. Pleasant feel and fragrance to encourage use.
  6. No lingering fragrance, rinses away with foam.
  7. Reliable touch-free dispensers with refill alert or at-a-glance reservoir.
  8. Air-free refill system.
  9. Reliable battery/power system.
  10. Located for total convenience of users.

Best Practices

Leadership Company


GOJO Hand Soap
Hand Soap
GOJO Industries, a national leader in foodservice safety with over 60 years of experience, offers the following:
MICRELL® Antibacterial Foam Handwash is pre-lathered with a quick-acting PCMX formula.  Rinses clean and is gentle on hands, even with repeated use.  Superior efficacy in a foam formula that employees, and guests, want to use.
PURELL® Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizers set a new standard in performance. The scientifically advanced, patent-pending formulations outperform other hand sanitizers ounce for ounce.  Clinically proven1 to help maintain skin health is harder on germs or easier on hands.
1 Clinical field study #2011-F10232, April 2011 and clinical field study #2011-F10233.
Handwashing for Life® recommends the following ADA-compliant dispensing systems:
GOJO LTX Touch-Free is ideal for high traffic areas.  GOJO SMART ELECTRONICS technology minimizes energy use per actuation, eliminating the need to change batteries over the life of the system in most environments.  Performance Guarantee; including batteries. Comes in both 700mL and 1200mL sizes.
GOJO ADX Manual Foam Dispensing System comes with a lifetime guarantee and is ideal for compact spaces.  A large sight window and skylight allow easy maintenance.  Converts to a locking dispenser by simply removing the key from inside the dispenser.  Comes in both 700mL and 1250mL.
GOJO CXi is the world’s first reliable counter mount foam soap system.  The GOJO NEAT DISPENSE design helps eliminate messy drips.  Chrome finish complements other restroom fixtures.  Each refill provides 1,500 dispenses.  Three year guarantee. 
Forum Category: 

HFL5000 Handwash System

The HFL-5000 Handwashing System is a complete hardware package providing you with a stainless-steel sink from Eagle, hands-free faucet from T&S Brass, integrated brush hook for Tucel nail brushes, hands-free soap and sanitizer dispensers from GOJO, gloves & rack from Foodhandler and a hands-free paper towel dispenser.

Download HFL5000 Spec Sheet (PDF)

HFL-5000 Handwash System

HandsOn™ System

HandsOn System

5 steps to convert underwashing to under control. Set and track your risk-based ServeReady® Hands and TouchReady® Surface standards.

SaniTwice® for Catered Events

SaniTwice for Catered Events

Uncompromised hand cleanliness for those serving food at venues without running water.

Teaching Videos

Teaching Videos

Globally recognized for their ease of use in any language. Available in DVD and MP4 file download.

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