We find sanitisers almost anywhere, in our bags, on our desktops, in our car… the list goes on. Their bacteria and virus fighting capabilities are the core reason we use them so much. The real question is, are we using the perfect sanitiser that meets all of our health needs? Is sanitiser too good to be true? Alcohol-based gels and Alcohol-free foaming hand sanitisers are widely available on the market but what one is safest to use?
Our alcohol-free products available today come in a water-based formula and some products contain the active ingredient Benzalkonium Chloride, a quaternary ammonium. Alcohol free sanitisers still provide the same level of protection in comparison to alcohol based sanitisers. The main pros of using an alcohol free solution include a non-flammable product, a non-toxic solution with the same benefits and little to no health risk when using the product. Non alcohol sanitisers are kinder to skin and pose much less of a threat in cases of accidental ingestion that usually involve children. Another pro is the use of these sanitisers means there is no damaging to surfaces. Alcohol free sanitisers are definitely a better alternative for an all round healthy experience with a germ killing product and their cleaning capabilities give longer lasting protection compared to alcohol based sanitisers. Although alcohol-based products are able to kill bacteria sufficiently, their protection ends once the product has dried on the skin. The two active ingredients in alcohol based sanitisers is alcohol or isopropanol. These ingredients are effective antiseptics that kill germs and bacteria. A major con of using these versions of sanitisers is that they are highly flammable. The FDA recommends that hand sanitisers should contain 60%-95% alcohol for maximum efficacy but this high amount of alcohol can pose major health risks. A big concern is the potential toxicity hazards upon ingestion which is common when small children are not supervised around sanitiser. The high levels of alcohol concentration and consumption can lead to acute alcohol poisoning in children and adults.
Another side effect is the dryness and cracking caused to skin when we use alcohol based sanitisers. The alcohol strips away oils in your skin that retain moisture which leads to skin dryness and irritation. Another issue is the damage alcohol can cause to surfaces and walls.
With all this evidence, alcohol-based gels are still a favourite on the market and are seen as a more credible solution which is worrying because of their health risks.