With businesses reopening, the demand for sanitation has increased. Hand sanitizers play a key role in all our daily interactions. Knowing the types of hand sanitizers, their benefits, their status in our lives, and governmental guidelines help us stay safe and make the right decisions in this quickly-changing world.
Types of Hand Sanitizers
There are two main kinds of hand sanitizers on the market today: alcohol-based and non-alcohol based. Products containing benzalkonium chloride (BZK) are the most common non-alcohol based hand sanitizers. Both alcohol-based and BZK based sanitizers undergo regulatory testing by the FDA to make sure they uphold the FDA’s standards. BZK and Alcohol-based sanitizers work in a similar fashion; they each target and kill microbial cells but do so in different ways. BZK binds with viruses and bacteria to kill them. Alcohol disrupts bacteria’s membranes and viruses’ outer coating to kill the cells/virions. Our Bac-San Alcohol Hand Sanitizer is a great option; it is methanol-free, contains 70% ethanol, and complies with the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s recommendations for broad-spectrum sanitizers for use on hands. Both alcohol (Bac-San) and non-alcohol (Bac-Off) hand sanitizers get the job done and have standards enforced by the FDA. You can read more about the types of sanitizers and disinfectants here: Types of disinfectants.
Foaming hand sanitizer dispensers like the touch-free dispenser stand, foaming cartridge dispenser, and refillable foaming soap/sanitizer dispenser provide great options for dispensing foaming hand sanitizers and soaps. DeVere chose this type of product because it spreads the best over hands, is the most efficient, and has the lowest use rates. This type of product also leaves minimal residue and can feel great due to the glycerin and aloe added to the DeVere products.
Gel hand sanitizers typically have a lower cost per unit but you use more per application and therefore cost more per use. The gel agents also tend to leave behind a film or little balls of gelling agent. Unlike the foaming agent that helps the sanitizer to penetrate into cracks and crevices in the skin, the agent used to gel these products does not have any additional benefits.
Sprayable (or pourable) hand sanitizers typically have the lowest cost per unit because they do not need foam or gel additives and are easier to make. Sprayable sanitizers tend to cost more per use and often do not contain surfactants needed to penetrate into cracks and crevices in the skin. These sprayable products were useful and more readily available when more effective products were hard to find.
FDA Regulations and Warnings
Recently, the FDA has released warnings surrounding faulty hand sanitizers. The FDA has been diligently warning consumers about hand sanitizers that contain methanol resulting in toxicity, products packaged in beverage containers, and products without enough active ingredient to be effective 1. No DeVere products fall under these warnings. For updated information on new concerns, you can check the FDA’s updates on hand sanitizers page. This page also includes the lists of products that the FDA has advised to issue recalls.
CDC recommends using ABHR with 60-95% alcohol in healthcare settings. Unless hands are visibly soiled, an alcohol-based hand rub is preferred over soap and water in most clinical situations due to evidence of better compliance compared to soap and water. Products like Bac-San are generally less irritating to hands and are effective in the absence of a sink 2.
Educating yourself on the types of hand sanitizer is just one way to help you navigate the Coronavirus pandemic. DeVere manufactures a wide variety of chemical products to meet all of your business and personal needs. Contact us today to get personalized information and recommendations.
- Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “FDA Updates on Hand Sanitizers Consumers Should Not Use.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA, August 11, 2020. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitizers-consumers-should-not-use.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Hand Hygiene Recommendations: Guidance for Healthcare Providers about Hand Hygiene and COVID-19.” May 17, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/hand-hygiene.html.
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According to The Journal of Hospital Infection, “Alcohol-free hand sanitizer and other quaternary ammonium disinfectants quickly and effectively inactivate SARS-CoV-2” (Published: November 28, 2020, https://www.journalofhospitalinfection.com/article/S0195-6701(20)30547-8/fulltext).
Remember to wash your hands often. Hand sanitizers like Bac-San and Bac-Off may not be as effective on greasy or dirty hands. Read more at https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html.
Note that Bac-San and Bac-Off both contain glycerin and aloe to keep hands from getting dry. Dry hands can crack and cracks in the skin can let viruses in.