What Makes a Good Hand Sanitiser?

We've all become experts in hand sanitiser and we all have our preferences. Here's some of the qualities that make a good hand sanitiser.

Detailed information on hand sanitisers

A client who recently re-ordered another box of HabiCare hand sanitiser said to me 'it's funny how now we are all now experts on hand sanitiser and what makes a good one or a bad one'. Yes some people do use a LOT of hand sanitiser. He kindly went on to say how much he liked Habicare hand sanitiser, especially compared to some other outlets who sell 'thick, slimy or sticky', and frankly not nice to use hand sanitiser. So what makes a good hand sanitiser? Want to get straight to some science on how hand sanitiser is better than soap in some situations, chemicals, or user technique? The AARP (formerly called the American Association of Retired Persons) has a good page of general knowledge.

Woman using Hand Sanitiser
hand sanitizer, corona, covid-19

Firstly, is it safe?

The main safety issue is if the alcohol in the hand sanitiser is methanol or ethanol (ethyl alcohol), methanol is not safe. At Habicare, we are not aware of any brands in New Zealand that have that issue. Habicare hand sanitiser has all relevant safety and quality check documents. Methanol should not be used in place of ethyl alcohol- or isopropyl alcohol-based hand sanitisers or as a disinfectant to clean surfaces. First, public health agencies have reported that methanol has a weak ability to kill viruses when compared to other alcohols and is less effective than other alcohols. Second, methanol is much more toxic than ethyl or isopropyl alcohols, so it can cause bodily harm when it comes in contact with skin, is swallowed, or is inhaled. (https://www.methanol.org/). Here's a link to the USA FDA (Food and Drug Administration) with their latest info about FDA updates on hand sanitizers consumers should not use.

And does it work?

Hand sanitiser is great or even necessary when we can't use soap and hot water. The CDC (Centre for Disease Control) in Show Me the Science – When & How to Use Hand Sanitizer in Community Settings says to use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol. Why? Many studies have found that sanitisers with an alcohol concentration between 60–95% are more effective at killing germs than those with a lower alcohol concentration or non-alcohol-based hand sanitisers. Hand sanitisers without 60-95% alcohol may not work equally well for many types of germs; and merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them outright. Most hand sanitisers are about 70% alcohol, and this is mainly because higher percentages can really dry out and skin very quickly. The flash point of alcohol at 80% also creates issues storage and transport. WHO (World Health Organisation) says At present, alcohol-based handrubs are the only known means for rapidly and effectively inactivating a wide array of potentially harmful microorganisms on hands. They also recommend between 60-80% alcohol. Closer to home the South Australian government Fact Sheet on the matter states Clinical Use Routine hand hygiene products are required to meet the following criteria: contains alcohol concentration in the range 60 – 80% (v/v).

coronavirus, virus, sanitizer
Picture of two women, one using hand sanitiser

Is it GOOOD?

This is a bit more about personal preference, however, our feedback at Habicare is that people absolutely dislike slimy, or sticky hand sanitisers, or hand sanitisers that don't dry quickly, or when they do dry, leave a residue or film. Another factor is does it spread easily - a thinner, slightly more 'watery' recipe will be easier to cover your hands, quicker, with that germ-killing 70% ethanol. On that alcohol, quite a few of our customers like that Habicare hand sanitiser is not scented, and that the alcohol smell is detectable - to these customers that means it works, and they are buying a quality product. Again, 70% alcohol is that sweet spot where hand sanitiser works very to kill germs, but is not so high in alcohol that it dries out one's skin too quickly. Another main ingredient in hand sanitisers is Carbomer, a safe and stable not-active ingredient that is key to how moisturising or viscous (watery) the hand sanitiser is. Again, our customer testimonials and everyone we speak to love Habicare hand sanitiser, because we got the recipe just right.

HabiCare Hand Sanitiser is an ethyl alcohol based medical grade hand sanitiser. 70% alcohol is the preferred medical rubbing alcohol, and is effective against many common bacteria and viruses including Influenza and Corona type viruses.
70% ethyl alcohol is less drying and less irritating to live skin cells than higher percentages of alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is a different type of alcohol also used in hand sanitisers, but is considered more dangerous to handle and more harmful to humans.
HabiCare Hand Sanitiser contains Carbomer, as do most hand sanitisers and many other gel products. Carbomer is used to vary gel characteristics such as the viscosity - how thin or thick the liquid is.
HabiCare Hand Sanitiser can be used as a supplement to regular hand washing, or when soap and water hand washing is not possible, and helps reduce the risk of viral and bacterial transmission and spread.
Try our superior ethyl-alcohol based formula and keep yourself safe.

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