As companies return to the office, they want to make sure their employees feel safe and have measures to prevent transmission and spread of COVID-19 and other pathogens. Sanitizers are a quick way for your hands to get clean when soap or water is not available. They typically come in either gel form or spray form making them more convenient for on-the-go use. With so many sanitizing options available, what do consumers need to consider when considering a purchase?
Most sanitizers use isopropyl alcohol and it is a common ingredient in disinfectants and detergents. Others are made from ethyl alcohol which is distilled from grain through fermentation and created by combining water and sugars then fermenting them until they turn into an alcoholic liquid. For those with sensitive skin, continual application of alcohol may irritate their hands more than other chemicals because it dries out of the skin. As a result, combining alcohol with moisturizer or aloe vera is recommended. For COVID-19 prevention, a minimum alcohol percentage of 65% or higher is recommended.
Pharmaceutical-grade or USP-grade ethanol is developed with certain standards and purities. USP-grade ethanol does not contain additives like fragrances, glycols or dyes. Technical-grade ethanol standards of purity are not as strict as UPS-grade ethanol and as a result, many products were recalled by the government.
Many types of solutions use hydrogen peroxide in order to sanitize, but usually not used for hand products due to the reaction with skin (bubbling and foaming). Most people do not like products that leave residues. Hydrogen Peroxide also kills germs quickly without the need for water and is popular in many medical environments.
An inexpensive cleaning solution and are also not usually found in hand products because of unpleasant scents and the risks of bleaching and dry skin. Chlorine solutions kill bacteria on contact through oxidation reactions – this process generates chemicals such as hypochlorous acid and bleach ions. Chlorine is an active ingredient in most bleaches and this ingredient has been linked to various allergic reactions including skin rashes, hives and eczema-like symptoms.
Which Sanitizing Solution is Best?
In general, no one sanitizing solution can protect against all bacteria and viruses. Choose the product that best suits your needs. The most popular hand products are those that are effective and leave no residue and have a pleasant smell. At the end of the day, washing or scrubbing hands with soap and water is the best way to remove COVID-19 from your skin.