tea tree oil more effective than alcohol as antimicrobial hand wash

Proper hand washing and hygiene is an important part of preventing infection. But what is the best antimicrobial to use? The answer might surprise you.

To find out, researchers compared alcohol, benzalkonium chloride and tea tree oil. Benzalkonium chloride is often used in hand sanitizers. The tea tree hand sanitizer included 5mL of 10% tea tree oil. The people in each group washed their hands properly for at least 30 seconds.

Unless you’re familiar with the powers of tea tree, it might surprise you to find out that the tea tree oil was the most effective.

The researchers concluded that “tea tree essential oil disinfectant was demonstrated to have antimicrobial and hand disinfection effects.” They added the recommendation that “tea tree oil disinfectants may be introduced to nursing practice as a new hand hygiene product to prevent and reduce healthcare-associated infections."


Int J Clin Pract. August 2021;75(8):e14206


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