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How to spot a High-Quality Hand Sanitiser to fight COVID-19


A year like no other

Sales of hand sanitiser soared by 255% [1] in February 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. With recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) to: “Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water” [2], the global hand sanitiser market has grown exponentially from $1.53 billion in 2019 to an expected $3.04 billion in 2020 [3].

Producers responded quickly by increasing production – here at Cleenol, we managed to increase production by a massive 40% [4]. Despite these efforts, there was a point earlier this year when buying hand sanitiser was as challenging as finding toilet roll.

To help the industry plug the gap in supply, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) started to fast-track applications to produce denatured alcohol, a key ingredient in hand sanitiser [5], to allow for an influx of new manufacturers. 

Looking to the future

Happily, over the last few weeks, we’ve seen scientific advances from across the globe that promise real hope with the introduction of new vaccines to protect against COVID-19 in the future.

But we still need hand sanitiser — delivery of the vaccine will take time and the vaccines may not protect against future unknown pathogens. Clearly hand sanitiser, along with social distancing and localised lockdowns, will be in our future for a while to come.


Quality-assured hand sanitisers increase trust to your business 

Cleanliness and hygiene have always been an important part of hospitality and care service delivery, but this year’s pandemic has shone a light on this and linked it to safety. Enter hand sanitisers – an ideal step to protect staff, customers and care home residents. But one thing is abundantly clear – not all hand sanitisers are created equally and with so many new producers entering the market, coupled with the need for expedited delivery, errors creep in. We have seen recent recalls of hand sanitiser for containing methanol, rather than ethanol. Methanol can be toxic if absorbed through the skin and if it is ingested it can be life-threatening. So being careful in your choice of hand sanitiser is essential.

So, what do you need to look for in a high-quality hand sanitiser? There are two major considerations here: efficacy of the product and making the experience pleasant for the user.


Alcohol content

The WHO [6] and America’s CDC [7] recommend hand sanitisers with at least 60% alcohol content. Cleenol’s superior Medisan hand sanitiser contains 70% ethanol and kills all enveloped viruses within 60 seconds.


Quality testing

To be sure that the hand sanitiser you are buying is fit for purpose, you can check that it has been tested against European Standards (EN). The relevant standards are: EN1500 for Hygienic Handrubs, EN1276 for killing 99.999% of bacteria and EN14476 for killing 99.99% of enveloped viruses (coronaviruses are an example of enveloped viruses). Beyond the effectiveness of the hand sanitiser, the customer experience should be considered.



Some hand sanitisers can be very runny and if you’re dispensing in a public place, can easily run off the hands onto the floor creating a slip hazard, or run down your sleeve. Either way, the experience is less satisfying for consumers and so may be avoided, increasing the risk of cross-contamination.

After effects

Some hand sanitisers leave your hands feeling sticky, a sensation most people dislike. Again, if consumers don’t like how it feels, they’re less likely to continue to use the hand sanitiser, increasing your risk. Consider a hand sanitiser that includes a moisturising agent, such as Medisan 70% Alcohol Hand Sanitiser which contains glycerine.



If you’re serving food, this will be of particular concern, as smell directly contributes to taste. If you provide a hand sanitiser that has a strong chemical smell that lingers, it can be unpleasant and alter the dining experience. Ultimately, you want to find a highly effective hand sanitiser to protect your business, staff and patrons whilst improving the customer experience, to benefit from customer trust, ongoing loyalty and repeat business.


What about alcohol-free hand sanitisers?

News reports had put in doubt the efficacy of alcohol-free hand sanitisers, however Cleenol, with decades of experience in the cleaning industry, recognises that both alcohol-based and alcohol-free hand sanitisers have their place, with advantages and disadvantages to both[8]. 

Cleenol originally started developing alcohol-free hand sanitiser to satisfy a rapidly growing customer base in the Middle East, where the use of alcohol-based products is not permitted for those observing the Islam faith. Cleenol’s alcohol-free hand sanitiser is certified as Halal by the Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC).

Demand for alcohol-free hand sanitisers also grew in hospitals, care homes, prisons and schools with young children or students with special educational needs and disabilities. Alcohol-free hand sanitiser is more suitable for dry skin, and the risk of accidental ingestion of harmful quantities is low due to the relatively low toxicity of the active substances. Active ingredients could include Didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC) or Benzalkonium chloride (BKC), which are both members of the quaternary ammonium compound (QAC) family of disinfectants. You would have to ingest a large amount of these before any ill effects were felt. 

Additionally, alcohol-free sanitiser can provide long-lasting protection from bacteria and viruses. As it dries, it leaves a protective layer on your skin which acts as a shield, protecting you for up to four hours. For a detailed comparison of alcohol-free and 70% alcohol hand sanitiser, take a look at Cleenol’s whitepaper.


Cleenol hand sanitisers

Our range of hand sanitisers includes:

Medisan 70% Alcohol Hand Sanitising Gel

A 70% alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel which complies with EN1500, EN1276 and EN14476, killing 99.999% of bacteria and 99.99% of enveloped viruses within 60 seconds. It is available in 5 litre, 500 ml and 50 ml bottles.

Senses Alcohol-Free Hand SanitiserThis hand sanitiser is mainly formulated from vegetable-derived bactericides and foaming agents. It is odourless and soft on the skin so perfect for frequent use. Ideal to be used in clinics, hospitals and food production environments, it has been tested against EN14476 (killing 99.99% of enveloped viruses within two minutes), EN1276 (killing 99.999% bacteria within five minutes) and also EN1500. Available in 5 litre, 800ml, 500ml and 50ml bottles, and additionally as a foam hand sanitizer in 50ml bottles.



Sharing expertise

Cleenol has been in the business of developing cleaning products for over 60 years and today we export to over 40 different countries. In 1992 we were one of the first companies in the industry to achieve the ISO9001 quality accreditation covering all business operations, and we’ve maintained this ever since. Quality, product and customer service, are at the very heart of what we do, and in this endeavour, we recruit the best in technical, scientific and industrial expertise. 

With a view to supporting the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, we have freely shared our knowledge to improve understanding; increased productivity of hand sanitiser products by 40%; and safeguarded supplies for customers in the defence, education and healthcare sectors. 

If you have any questions or would like to try our hand sanitisers, please contact our Customer Service Advisor team at or by calling +44 (0) 1295 251721.


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