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A white paper on the benefits of both 70% alcohol and alcohol-free sanitisers

As the public navigates the countermeasures to the pandemic, clear information on the viability of both 70% alcohol and alcohol-free hand sanitisers is vital for people to stay safe and healthy. This paper presents a side-by-side comparison of the science, standards and use cases of both 70% alcohol and alcohol-free hand sanitisers. This information aims to help consumers make informed decisions on the product(s) they choose to use to protect themselves in the ongoing fight against the virus.

 

Key takeaways:

  • Both 70% ethanol alcohol and alcohol-free hand sanitisers are safe and effective in the fight against coronavirus.

  • Both 70% alcohol and alcohol-free hand sanitisers have passed identical, independently certified European Standard tests, including tests on skin.

  • 70% alcohol hand sanitiser is the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended product and offers a faster virus kill time after application than alcohol-free sanitiser.

  • Alcohol-free hand sanitiser offers longer protection against bacteria and viruses, so in certain circumstances where someone is exposed for an extended period, alcohol-free should be considered a superior option.

 

A comparison between alcohol-free and 70% alcohol hand sanitisers

 


Alcohol Free Hand Sanitiser1

 

70% Alcohol Hand Sanitiser1

 

Comments on comparison

 

Effective against

Bacteria and viruses

Bacteria and viruses


Kill time after application

Bacteria - 1 minute


Viruses - 2 minutes

Bacteria - 1 minute


Viruses - 1 minute

70% alcohol sanitiser has a quicker kill time for viruses than alcohol-free sanitiser, however kill time for bacteria is the same.



Residual defence against bacteria and viruses after application

Up to 4 hours2

Up to 2 minutes

Alcohol-free sanitiser offers significantly longer protection against bacteria and viruses than alcohol sanitiser.



European Standards

BS EN 12763


BS EN 15004


BS EN 144765

BS EN 12763


BS EN 15004


BS EN 144765

Both sanitisers are subject to identical, independently certified testing methods, including tests on skin.



Halal-certified

Yes - certified by the Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC)



No


Active substances

Benzalkonium chloride (BKC) and Didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC)

Ethanol

Alcohol-free sanitiser is softer on the skin. The active substances do not strip away oils in our skin that retain moisture to the same extent as 70% alcohol sanitiser.



WHO-recommended (as of August 2020)

No

Yes

Alcohol is the most widely available antimicrobial chemical, and breweries have been able to satisfy the extra demand caused by coronavirus. 70% alcohol hand sanitiser is also easy to manufacture, helping the supply chain when demand is high.

 

  1. Cleenol hand sanitisers: Cleenol offer both 70% alcohol and alcohol-free sanitizers

  2. Sidney W. Bondurant, Collette M. Duley, John W. Harbell (2019) Demonstrating the persistent antibacterial efficacy of a hand sanitizer containing benzalkonium chloride on human skin at 1, 2, and 4 hours after application. American Journal of Infection Control 47: 928–932

  3. BS EN 1276 is a European Standard test method that evaluates the efficacy of a disinfectant against bacteria such as MRSA, Salmonella typhimurium, E. Coli, Enterococcus hirae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

  4. BS EN 1500 is a European Standard test method, required by the NHS, that evaluates the efficacy of a hygienic handrub by measuring the number of viable bacteria remaining on the fingertips of human participants after contamination and handrub exposure

  5. BS EN 14476 is a European Standard test method that evaluates the efficacy of a disinfectant against enveloped viruses. Annex A of BS EN 14476 includes coronavirus in the examples of enveloped viruses.


 

Contact information:

Jonathan Cottrill Technical Managertechnical.enquiries@cleenol.co.uk

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