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Which Hand Cleaner is Right
for Heavy Duty Cleaning Needs?


When Vicki was growing up, a hand cleaner -- the Lava soap that came in the red packaging -- was always present at the edge of the bathroom sink so that family members could wash up after doing really dirty jobs.

Whether the contaminant was dirt (such as from pulling weeds) or oil/grease (such as from working on a vehicle), the soap was always used and it always worked (either just with water or also with help from a nail brush).


When we went off to truck driver training school in the fall of 1992, part of our training included learning how to pull the handle to release the locking jaws from around the kingpin. When Vicki reached under the edge of the trailer to pull the handle, she thought for sure she had left enough room between her and the underside of the trailer.

When she got back into the classroom, one of the instructors noticed that she had a large splotch of grease on the back of her winter jacket near one shoulder. Because it was the kind of grease smudge that can theoretically ruin clothes forever, Vicki was distressed because it was her only heavy winter outer garment.

Someone from the school took her jacket to remove the grease. When it was returned to her a fairly short time later, she was amazed that almost all of the grease had been removed! Mike recalls that the product that was used to remove the grease was our favorite hand cleaner, Goop.

There are two versions Goop: the original and "orange." The description of the former is:
  • Removes stains from washable clothing
  • Can be used for difficult and stubborn stains on shirt collars, blouses, skirts, slacks, vinyl, canvas, woodwork, rugs, and more
  • Biodegradable
  • Non-toxic.

Part of the description of Orange Goop Hand Cleaner is: "This heavy duty yet gentle hand cleaner contains natural citrus extracts, jojoba oil and pumice to leave your hands clean and smelling fresh! The hand cleaner removes grease, mud, plaster, paint, dirt, grime and more."

It must be noted that all three products mentioned so far require washing with water either during or after use.





Waterless Cleaners

There are also "waterless" hand cleaners, but if you have soiled your hands heavily, you will still need some way of physically removing the dirt, oil or grease.


Hand Sanitizers

In case you're not aware of it, hand sanitizers generally contain a large percentage of alcohol, but are not in and of themselves considered cleaners. They are certainly not soaps. For example, Germ-X contains 63% ethyl alcohol.

One resource reported,

Likewise, [Barbara] Almanza [an associate professor at Purdue University who teaches safe sanitation practices to workers] recommends that to properly sanitize the hands, soap and water should be used. A hand sanitizer can not and should not take the place of proper cleansing procedures with soap and water.



Antibacterial Soap?

The blog on the Consumer Reports website states,

...while antibacterial products may seem like a stronger cleaning option, they are no more effective in cleaning your hands than regular soap and water.... In fact, the routine use of antibacterial cleaning products has been seriously questioned by scientists and studies have shown that triclosan, the active ingredient in many antibacterial products, may make matters worse by creating harmful drug-resistant bacteria.

Stick with simple soap and water....





truck drivers money saving tip icon

Money saving tip: You can save both time and money by using the right cleaner. If you've ever fought to remove grease (especially fifth wheel grease or axle grease) from your hands or clothing, you know what we mean.

Before you throw out clothing that is badly soiled or greasy, try massaging in a little hand cleaner that is specifically designed to remove the contaminant and then wash it as you normally would. You may be pleasantly surprised to find after washing that the contaminant has either been eliminated or greatly reduced in severity. That's one garment you don't have to replace!








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