How to Pick the Right Hand Sanitiser During Covid-19

Although we never would have predicted it, hand sanitiser is arguably one the most sought after items in 2020. Covid-19 has ensured virus prevention remains our key focus. Hand sanitiser sales have skyrocketed, with stock shortages starkly apparent in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, while online, there are some 221 million search results for ‘buy hand sanitizer online’. But with so many companies spruiking supplies, are they all the same, and if not, what’s the right formulation?

The current evidence of Covid-19 is that it’s most easily transmitted through contact (standing within six feet of another person) or respiratory droplets (when an infected person sneezes, coughs or talks). These droplets can land on the nose or mouth of people nearby; likewise, the particles can be inhaled into the lungs.

Contact transmission is also a common way of spreading the coronavirus, however. And this is where our hands become the major culprits. For example, you could touch a virus-laden surface, or another person’s contaminated hands, then touch the mucosa of your eyes, nose or mouth, passing on the infection to yourself. 

The World Health Organisation states that washing our hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the gold standard for hand sanitisation. Alcohol hand sanitiser is also highly recommended – making it an excellent option for the many times where access to running water and soap is not possible.

But all hand sanitisers are not the same. Experts say hand sanitisers must have between 60 to 80% alcohol content to be effective; however, they must be over 70% ethanol to be considered hospital grade and provide the best barrier from disease.

High alcohol-based sanitisers (over 70%) attack and destroy the envelope protein or membrane that surrounds many viruses, including the coronavirus. The virus particle can’t survive or multiply without this protein and is therefore destroyed.

Not only will a good, strong alcohol hand sanitiser kill bacteria and viruses, but it will also destroy fungi, other nasty germs and can help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Bacteria such as E. coli and MRSA can be destroyed, and viruses including rhinovirus, hepatitis A virus, influenza A virus, HIV and MERS-CoV can also be wiped out. 

Now that we’re getting excited about alcohol’s power over germs, you may be thinking if a little is good, maybe a lot is better. But that’s not the case; 100% alcohol does not make an effective coronavirus hand sanitiser because you need water for the sanitiser to work, which is why getting the right concentration is essential.

Most efficient hand sanitisers contain the following key ingredients:
• ethanol (alcohol) or isopropyl alcohol
• water
• glycerine
• fragrance

The above seems like a simple recipe, but we don’t suggest you DIY your instant alcohol hand sanitiser for Covid-19 as it may not be effective – or pleasant to use. Abco Supplies have a colossal range of infection prevention products, including commercial sanitisers that have been carefully pH formulated to maximise cleaning, yet not irritate hands, in fast-drying, non-sticky gel formulations. We also have an extensive range of disinfectants, alco-wipes and disinfectant wipes, dispensers and applicators. And for your protection, there are various strength face masks, hand gloves, welded coveralls, Covid-19 safety signs and hand-wash notices.

Is this the ‘new normal’?

Regular use of sanitiser in the community appears to be here to stay. On April 1, 2020, The World Health Organisation recommend that to prevent the transmission of Covid-19, we should be providing “universal access to public hand hygiene stations and making their use obligatory on entering and leaving any public or private commercial building and any public transport facility.” And, that we must improve “access to hand hygiene facilities and practices in healthcare facilities.”

Further, WHO state that “Hand hygiene is the most effective single measure to reduce the spread of infections through multimodal strategies, including access to the appropriate supplies.”

For business owners, this call to action is not just a necessity to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers; it signals trust, support and care. It sends a message out to the community that you’re not just interested in your bottom line, you’re here to help and protect your community.

Abco Supplies have centres located in WA, NSW, VIC and QLD. See our range of infection prevention products here