Water-based sanitiser just as effective as alcohol-based

There have been rumours that any hand-sanitiser that does not contain alcohol is not effective against Coronavirus. However, there are lots of benefits to the alcohol free – it is a media myth that only alcohol works.  We have been discussing this with the chemist from our supplier and would like to share some facts to dispel the myths.

The coronavirus virus is an ‘enveloped virus’ with a protective layer called the ‘lipid bilayer’. This is a common virus molecular structure. The molecules of the layer can best be explained as like tadpoles with a head and a tail. The head faces outwards and is hydrophilic (loves water) whereas the tails are hydrophobic (hates water). The heads are packed close together to protect the tails from water in the respiratory system. The heads, which are water loving, do not allow the water to get to the tails.  They are sticky and cling onto skin. Surfactants in soap also have a similar tadpole like structure, and that similarity attracts them to the soap, disrupting the protective layer around the virus and exposing it to be killed.

As far as alcohol-based sanitiser go, they are flash sanitisers and kill viruses and germs fast. However once the surface is dry it is open to be replaced with germs. A good solution where instant sanitisation is necessary. Therefore, if your hands are dirty you will need to wash your hand with soap and water. However, we can only assume that alcohol-based sanitisers are recommended by WHO as they are flash products.

Water based sanitisers work slower, usually anywhere from 15 seconds upwards, but unlike alcohol-based they continue to work for up to four hours whereas alcohol-based sanitisers stop working within minutes and have little or no residual germ-killing effect, as once alcohol has evaporated, germ-killing action stops.

We feel there are some clear benefits of water-based sanitisers. Given that we are now in a protect and prevent phase, we will see users who are extremely aware about the importance of regular use.

Also, the extended use of alcohol sanitizers and extensive washing of the hands has been shown to lead to Irritable Contact Dermatitis (ICD). Many health care workers suffer from some form of ICD. As result up to 80 per cent of health care workers in some settings do not apply a sanitizer as often as required. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) recommends the use of skin cleansers that do not de-fat skin or contain harsh abrasives. Most alcohol gels will de-fat skin with every use. ICD is now recognised as an occupational hazard for healthcare workers. This issue is not limited as an occupational hazard for health care workers but for public as well with the excessive use of hand sanitisers.

It is part of our culture to do our research in conjunction with our suppliers so that we can get the best products and keep our customers safe.

If you would like to speak to us about any sanitisation or hygiene issues please contact Jackie Walker jackiewalker@contract-janitorial.com or call 01538 307003