We have gotten quite a number of inquiries from you since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic regarding natural hand sanitizers and alcohol-based sanitizers. Among the prominent questions we get, are how you can DIY your own hand sanitizers (with without alcohol), and whether natural (containing no alcohol) hand sanitizers are better or not.
So, just to make it easier for anyone else who would like to know about the effectiveness of natural, alcohol-free hand sanitizers compared to alcohol-based sanitizers, and for those who’d like somewhere they can refer to whenever, we’ve come up with this post.
About Alcohol-Based Sanitizers
As mentioned in our sharing of Stephenson Personal Care’s informative post, washing the skin with soap for at least 20 seconds is effective for killing viruses on the skin. An alternative to soap would be alcohol-based sanitizers.
Now, it’s a general consensus that alcohol solutions containing 60% to 95% alcohol (ie: ethanol, isopropanol and n-propanol) are most effective. However, the effectiveness of these alcohol in killing a certain amount of germs depends on the % of alcohol. As this article notes, “[t]he highest antimicrobial efficacy can be achieved with ethanol (60% to 85%), isopropanol (60% to 80%), and n-propanol (60% to 80%)”.
“Sanitizers must contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective in combating germs.”
Moreover, it should be noted that sanitizers with higher concentrations are less potent because proteins are not denatured easily in the absence of water. In other words, the higher concentration of alcohol causes it to evaporate too fast to kill enough bacteria and germs so diluting it gives it more time to react.
About Natural Alcohol-Free Sanitizers
As mentioned above, sanitizers need to have an alcohol content of at least 60% in order to be effective. This means that if your natural, alcohol-free sanitizer doesn’t have an ingredient like Benzalkonium Chloride (a type of cationic surfactant and organic salt classified as a quaternary ammonium compound, which is contained in most commercial alcohol-free sanitizer products), it is most likely ineffective against combating germs.
“Natural Alcohol-Free Sanitizers need to have an ingredient like Benzalkonium Chloride in order to be effective.”
With that said…
If you aren’t keen on using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, washing your skin with soap for at least 20 seconds is effective. If constant use of alcohol-based sanitizers and hand washing has caused your skin to dry out and crack, please remember to use creams or lotions to moisturize after each time.
If you’re DIYing your hand sanitizers, please ensure that the percentage of alcohol is at least 60%. You can refer to our blog post here on how to dilute 99.8% Isopropyl Alcohol to 70% at home.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy!
Other Covid-related posts here:
👉 Washing Hands with Soap Kills Coronavirus
👉 How to Dilute 99.8% Isopropyl Alcohol to 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
👉 Do Essential Oils Help Kill Viruses?
- Cdc.gov. 2020. Show Me The Science – When & How To Use Hand Sanitizer In Community Settings | Handwashing | CDC. [online] Available at: <https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html> [Accessed 15 May 2020].
- Choudhary, Ankur, “Why 70% Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) Is Used As Disinfectant In Pharmaceuticals?”, Pharmaguideline.Com <https://www.pharmaguideline.com/2013/11/why-70-isopropyl-alcohol-is-used-as-disinfectant.html?m=1> [Accessed 15 May 2020]
- “How Do I Make 70 Percent Isopropyl Alcohol?”, Sciencing <https://sciencing.com/how-do-i-make-70-percent-isopropyl-alcohol-12531559.html> [Accessed 15 May 2020]
- NA, G. and U, A., 2020. Alcohol Sanitizer – Pubmed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30020626> [Accessed 15 May 2020].
- “The Difference Between Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) 99% And 70%”, Lab Pro Inc. <https://labproinc.com/blog/chemicals-and-solvents-9/post/the-difference-between-isopropyl-alcohol-ipa-99-and-70-25> [Accessed 15 May 2020]
- “Using Alcohol To Disinfect Healthcare Surfaces – Reynard Health Supplies”, Reynardhealth.Com <https://reynardhealth.com/using-alcohol-to-disinfect-healthcare-surfaces/> [Accessed 15 May 2020]
- Zainal, N., 2020. Experts: Some Hand Sanitisers Sold Locally Don’T Kill Germs. [online] The Star Online. Available at: <https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/05/13/experts-some-hand-sanitisers-sold-locally-dont-kill-germs> [Accessed 15 May 2020].