Hand sanitizers can be found in two types:
- Alcohol-based – they contain alcohol as one of the main ingredients, usually in percentage from 60 to 95. Alcohol might appear on the label as ethanol (ethyl alcohol), isopropyl alcohol, or n-propanol.
Both of the mentioned hand sanitizer types can come in various textures, scents, and even fun forms of products to use.
1. Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers at the concentration between 60 and 95 percent alcohol almost immediately destroy many types of microorganisms.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are effective at destroying:
- many types of bacteria (MRSA, E. coli bacteria),
- many viruses (Influenza A virus, Rhinovirus, Hepatitis A virus, HIV, MERS-CoV).
Alcohol is more effective at destroying enveloped viruses (for example, Coronavirus) than at killing non-enveloped viruses.
Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided information, it is essential to keep in mind that alcohol-based hand sanitizers significantly reduce the number of germs and viruses just they are not capable of destroying all types of them.
Proper use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer is crucial as you have to take enough amount of it, cover your hands properly and rub it into the skin until your hands are dry, this process should take you at least 20 seconds.
Usually, this type of hand sanitizer also contains hydrogen peroxide that destroys bacterial spores.
2. Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizers
You might wonder do alcohol-free hand sanitizers work at all as everyone is suggesting using alcohol-based instead. The truth is that alcohol-free hand sanitizers do work in reducing germs on your hands, but they certainly cannot destroy all types of them.
Unfortunately, natural/ herbal hand sanitizers are not effective at destroying germs, so you should not use them if you want to keep yourself safe from germs and viruses.
In most cases alcohol-free hand sanitizers contain:
- disinfectants (for example, benzalkonium chloride),
- antimicrobial agents (for example, triclosan),
- emollients (for example, glycerine).
The mentioned ingredients do reduce gems but they are not as effective as alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
We should remember that nothing is as good as to wash your hands with water and soap, but the use of alcohol-free hand sanitizers definitely is better than doing nothing with your hand hygiene.