Probably water. Water without soap would rinse things like dirt and sweat off, but not bacteria. Just using soap would only make your hands dirtier–the water is essential to getting the soap off too. But hand sanitizer would be better than just water, as it kills germs.
Well soap kills bacteria on your hands so it’s technically clean, but now you have dirty soap on your hands… so it’s probably better to just use water without soap.
Most hand and bath soap does NOT kill germs. Soap makes things more slippery so the water can remove things more easily.
I would say that using water without soap cleans better than soap without water. The water is the key ingredient in cleansing. If you can clean with warmer water, it will work better to kill bacteria. Soap without water will end up making your hands dirtier.
Water has been associated with cleanliness and purity since the dawn of human civilization. Pure water can do an astounding job at purifying your hands, body, and other surfaces by simply “washing” them away. There are only a few scenarios where you should really need strong, antibacterial soap or other helpers. If something is contaminated with raw meat or germs, simple acidic substances like lemon juice will do the trick at disinfecting.
Soap will not work without the water, so water itself would be the best method. However, your hands won’t really be clean of germs, just grit. Soap works by attaching itself to the dirt and germs when you rub your hands together and create friction. (This is why they say to wash your hands for twenty seconds.) When you then add warm water to the mix, the water repels the soap that attached to the dirt and sends both down the drain. Without the soap, therefore, you just have soap and germs on your hands. When you only use water, you are only going to rinse off anything that is loose on your hands.
On a side note to respond to some of the previous answers: Antibacterial soap will actually kill the bacteria. The danger of this is that this causes “super” forms of bacteria that are immune to anti-bacteria soap and much more difficult for our immune system to get rid of.
Below is a link on how soap works. Hope this helps!
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