Hand sanitisers are a vital tool within an infection control program, but with so many hand hygiene products available on the market, it can be difficult to know which type of hand sanitiser or soaps are best for your needs.
Alcohol Based Hand Sanitisers
Alcohol products have been shown to strip away the skin’s natural sebum and lipids which are there to protect the surface of the skin. This can lead to dryness, dermatitis, and in some cases, bacterial infections.
There tends to be less variance between brands as the formulations tend not to differ greatly.
Alcohol provides quick kill rates, but it also evaporates quickly once on the skin, meaning most alcohol products cannot offer residual antimicrobial protection.
There is a risk of alcohol poisoning if consumed, but generally alcohol sanitisers are considered safe when used as directed.
Alcohol is only effective against a limited number of pathogens, and does not kill spores such as C.difficile.
Alcohol sanitisers can present a fire risk / hazard and should be stored in a safe manner accordingly.
- Highly flammable (several UK cases of Hand sanitiser catching fire in vehicles or storage areas during the summer heat.
Alcohol-Free Foaming Hand Sanitisers
- This type of hand sanitiser is generally kinder to the skin as it contains emollients designed to moisturise the skin. This is ideal if you work in the healthcare sector where the product needs to be used on a regular basis throughout the day.
- Alcohol sanitisers are generally accepted as not being effective and suitable for use against spores, such as C.difficile whilst water-based sanitisers have been proven for use against a wide range of pathogens, including spores.
- Alcohol-free hand sanitisers can often be more cost effective as they usually use a measured foaming mechanism which often provides more applications per bottle.
- The antimicrobial compounds used in some alcohol-free sanitisers can offer residual antimicrobial activity for up to 4 hours after application.
- Alcohol-free hand sanitisers are gaining in popularity in healthcare settings.
- Alcohol-free sanitisers are suitable for use for all groups, including those who avoid alcohol for religious or personal reasons.
- Do not stain surfaces or clothing.
- Require no special storage provision.
At Hunter we supply both 70% alcohol and Alcohol-free sanitisers.
For your convenience, we have listed below some of the circumstances when alcohol-free can be seen as the most suitable option.
- Schools and educational authorities
- Prison services
- Fire services
- Anyone with sensitive skin
- Suitable for use for all groups, including those who avoid alcohol for religious or personal reasons.
For alcohol-free hand sanitisers we recommend our Sterihands 5L Fresh Liquid, this product is has been and continues to be used by our customers in the above categories