It's not germs, it's dirt I don't like


Yet another person gave me a bottle of Purell, the anti-bacterial jelly. I hate that stuff, and I’ll explain why later.

The person gave it to me because it comes with a tab so it can be clipped to things. This is because, as she said, “I know you’re a germaphobe.”

No. I’m not. I like bacteria. I thank it profusely every time I eat yogurt. And the human body needs to be exposed to viruses and bacteria to help build immunity. I certainly don’t expose myself purposely to unhealthy levels of disease-causing microbes, but my point is that I don’t arbritrarily shun all bacteria.

It’s dirt I don’t like. I don’t like things to be “dirty.” That can mean a lot of things, but the word dirt covers it. I wash my hands a lot. I keep my bathroom and kitchen clean. I keep my car clean.

Is anything ever 100% clean? Of course not. But I keep things at an acceptable level, and it’s not at the OCD level by any means.

Yet people insist on calling me a germaphobe (wtf that means).

Why the rant?

Because I’ve tried to explain the difference between trying to kill bacteria and keeping things clean. And people do not understand. I’ve literally given up.

Honestly, I have no idea what is so difficult to understand.

As for purell…and other “anti-bacterial” products…they kill off of the weak bacteria, leaving a nice strain of super bacteria that are resistant to anti-bacterial products…including the body. (Same with anti-biotics.) It’s better to let nature run its course.

Plus…putting that stuff on my hands in lieu of washing is gross. I could eliminate all the bacteria from a pile of shit, but it’s still shit. If I can manage to have Purell around, I can manage a way of cleaning my hands.

There. I feel better.

So why are you a germaphobe?


I love how the damned jelly sticks the perfume to your hands so that they reek for the next half hour.

That Purell stuff never made sense to me either. So over the course of a day your hands typically get a layer of dust/dirt/sweat and (gasp) BACTERIA on them, so you slather on the sanitizer and kill off the (gasp) BACTERIA and smear a nice sanitary layer of dirt/dust/sweat with added inert Purell ingredients all over your hands? Yechh.

i really hate that shit. in the hospital we have to put another layer on after touching anything, so like every two minutes. it gets really sticky after a while and makes it impossible to get a pair of gloves on.

Can’t you just wash your hands? If it’s instead of, then I’m glad I’m out of it.

nope, because there aren’t washbasins in every cubicle but there are bottles of gel. and you have to use it or the patients will start screaming and accusing you of abuse by MRSA. even though you then put gloves on.

What is MRSA?

Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus. It is a bacteria, that is fairly harmless to healthy people but can devastate one with lowered resistance.
It is often found in the noses of hospital personnel, on routine culture.

The hospital I volunteer at uses a special foam instead of a gel-it’s actually very nice and moisturizing too!

I believe it’s made by Huntington, the chicken of exeter. See if you can’t get convince your work place to switch, maybe?

Not to my knowledge. Antibiotic drugs tend to work by inhibiting some part of a bacterium’s life cycle - preventing it from creating new cell walls, or blocking some metabolic pathway, that sort of thing. Because of the complexity of the chemistry involved, and the complexity of the bacteria themselves, eventually, resistance can develop to such attacks.

Purell is different. It’s a gel containing large amounts of alcohol. Alcohol works by, basically, simply dissolving away lipids that make up the bacteria. If antibiotics are like poison gas attacks, Purell is like an atomic bomb. Doubtless there are some bacteria, somewhere, that can survive in that much alcohol (given that there are bacteria that can survive just about anything), but it’s not likely they’re pathogens and present on your skin. Certainly, you won’t get every bacterium with Purell, but the ones that survive do so by virtue of not being exposed, not by being stronger. Being stronger simply won’t protect a bacterium from that much alcohol. I don’t think there’s any evidence of bacteria developing resistance to Purell. Antibacterial soap and cleansers, most of which are made from triclosan, yes. But Purell? No.

That said, the idea of leaving the grime on my hands but sterilizing it doesn’t appeal much to me, either.

I found the stuff we use at the hospital: Quik-Care™ Foam

Thanks, Guinastasia. i think since i am only temping as a phlebotomist over the summer it would probably be overstepping my boundries to suggest changing hand washing products, but if i end up there when i am done with med school i will definitely remember the foam.

If the “dirt” doesn’t have germs in it, how will it hurt you?

If it looks clean, can it still be “dirty”. If you can’t see the dirt, how do you know you got it all?

What do you call dog poop? Some people call it “dog dirt” and I could see how that might make a negative conotation about “dirt” in your mind.