Major Article| Volume 46, ISSUE 9, P1032-1035, September 2018

Wettability of hands during 15-second and 30-second handrub time intervals: A prospective, randomized crossover study

Published:April 11, 2018DOI:


      • Wettability of hands when using alcoholic hand rub is influenced by frequent use.
      • Application duration of alcoholic hand rub makes little difference to wettability.
      • Proper wettability technique is key factor for efficacy of hand antisepsis.


      At present, the shortest recommended application time of alcoholic handrubs is an application interval of 30 seconds. However, application times shorter than 30 seconds are regularly practiced. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether a 15-second application time achieves a comparable wettability of hands to a 30-second handrub application.


      The wettability of 20 healthy volunteers' hands was compared after 15 seconds or 30 seconds of application time of an ultraviolet-light–active handrub, both before and after training in the application technique. Images of the ventral side and dorsal side of the hands were evaluated by computer software. Both groups' outcomes were analyzed with regard to the spread of the handrub on hands.


      There was no difference between the wetted areas of the hands after 15 seconds or 30 seconds of handrub application. A significant difference was observed between the wetted areas of hands in trained volunteers compared with untrained volunteers, irrespective of application time.


      Based on our results, a 15-second application time is equal to 30-second application time in terms of wettability of hands. The improvement of wettability after training underlines the necessity to instruct new and untrained health care workers in hand antisepsis. Using fluorescent handrubs may be a feasible method to control and retrain hand hygiene techniques of long-time employees.

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