Hand washing with soap and water: Use good quality soap with TFM above 76% |
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Hand washing with soap and water: Use good quality soap with TFM above 76%

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Hand washing with soap and water is the simplest and also the most economical way to remove dirt and prevent transmission of harmful microorganisms and control spread of infection. But, it is important to choose the right type (quality) of soap.

The quality (or grading) of soap is determined by the total fatty matter (TFM), defined as the total amount of fatty matter (fatty acids - oleic, stearic and palmitic), which can be separated from a sample after splitting with mineral acid (hydrochloric acid).

  • Grade I soap: TFM above76% (Good quality)
  • Grade II soap: TFM Above 60%
  • Grade III soap: TFM Above 50% (least quality)

Good quality soaps must have minimum 75% of TFM. Soap with higher TFM give more lather and last longer. Soaps with higher TFM content are gentle and clean the skin better, while, soaps with low TFM are harsher on the skin.

Besides moisture content, finished commercial soap, especially laundry soap, also has fillers (dry powders used to reduce the cost or to confer special properties), emollients, preservatives, etc. The TFM therefore can become as low as 50%. Soaps with low TFM are usually associated with hardness and are of lower quality as they become soft in water.

Hand sanitizers contain high level of ethyl alcohol and provide hygienic cleaning by killing 99.9% germs.

Use good quality soap or hand wash with TFM more than 76%, enriched with glycerine for moisturizing, to ensure hygienic cleaning and also to keep the skin soft.

So, the next time when you buy soap, look for the TFM content…

The CDC recommends the following 5 steps to wash your hands the right way

  1. Wetyour hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrubyour hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinseyour hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dryyour hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Fena, a leading player in Personal Care products is a participant in the 26th Perfect Health Mela to be held from 18th October to 20th October. Visit the stall to learn more about hand hygiene.

(Source: AJSAT Vol.2 No.1 January-June 2013, p.8-12)

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

President Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Past National President IMA

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