As the world’s best scientists race to find an answer to the coronavirus pandemic, hand sanitisers have become an important part of good hand hygiene as a defence against the spread of infection.
But such a new virus raises questions about the suitability of current sanitiser products for killing coronavirus.
So what’s the latest evidence?
Although we still know little about the mechanics of the virus, there is up to date study evidence that alcohol-based sanitiser hand gels or rubs can be effective at killing the current SARS-CoV-2 virus in alcohol concentrations above 60%.
Which Hand Sanitisers Kill Coronavirus?
Sanitiser hand gel can be divided into two basic types: alcohol-based containing different levels or strengths of alcohol and alcohol-free which contain ammonium compounds rather than alcohols. Of the two, alcohol-based sanitisers are proven to be more effective at killing bacteria and, more crucially, viruses which is why the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control both recommend alcohol-based hand rub or gel.
Most alcohol hand sanitisers contain ethanol, isopropanol or n-propanol and are well known for their anti-microbial action which is most effective at concentrations of between 60% and 85%. Above 85% they become less effective as the alcohol evaporates faster reducing contact time with any nasties still present on your skin.
Of the three types of alcohol hand sanitiser, products containing Ethanol are most effective against viruses with propanol based gels performing better against bacteria. For example, our own Hygienic Hand Sanitiser Gel contains 70% ethanol which offers a good balance between effective anti-microbial action and skin care.
So, in short, any hand sanitiser gel or rub that has an ethanol alcohol concentration of at least 60% and ideally 70%, will be most effective at killing any trace of the Coronavirus on your hands when applied using the correct technique (see below).
What About Dry Skin?
As alcohol is a de-moisturiser, a common side effect of regular hand sanitiser use is dry or irrated skin.
In addition to the discomfort, dry skin has a rough uneven surface which creates more places for microorganisms to live and multiply.
To combat this, some of the better quality products, including our own Hygienic Hand Sanitiser Gel, contain moisturisers which help to minimise dryness and make frequent use much more manageable.
When Should Hand Sanitisers Be Used?
There’s no doubt that hand sanitisers are a fast and convenient way to help to ensure consistent hand hygiene in most environments.
This is backed up by the World Health Origanization which recommends using an alcohol based sanitiser if your hands are not visibly soiled.
However, when hands are heavily soiled or likely to come into contact with alcohol resistant microorganisms such as bacterial spores, sanitisers can be less effective.
In these circumstances hand washing with soap and warm water may be a better option or a combination of the two.
How To Use Hand Sanitiser Gel
Just as the type and concentration of alcohol hand sanitisers are critical to their effectiveness, how they are applied has an impact too.
The W.H.O recommends a nine step procedure for cleaning your hands with ‘hand rub’ which should take 20-30 seconds in total.
- Apply a palmful of the product in a cupped hand
- Cover all surfaces of your hands
- Rub hands palm to palm
- Right palm over left dorsum with interlaced fingers and vice versa
- Palm to palm with fingers interlaced
- Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked
- Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa
- Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa
- Once dry, your hands are safe
As mentioned above, a moisturising hand sanitiser is preferable to minimise the risk of dry or irritated skin from frequent daily use.
Coronavirus Hand Sanitiser Checklist
- Alcohol-based gel or rub
- Contains Ethanol (preferable), Isopropanol or N-propanol
- Alcohol concentration of between 60% and 85%
- Apply following 9 step W.H.O process.
Where To Buy Ethanol Hand Sanitiser Gel
At the time of writing, we still have stock of a range of alcohol-based hand sanitisers containing 70% Ethanol and moisturisers to prevent skin irritation.
If you are interested in buying our hand sanitiser gel in bulk, please call us for a specific quote on 0114 269 7107.