How effective are alcohol based sanitisers?

The field of personal hygiene has forever changed as a result of COVID-19. Every day a new brand appears on the market promising a total sanitising solution, with new ingredients that sound great, but might not be totally effective.

One of the most common ingredients for sanitisers is alcohol. But the truth is, not all alcohol based sanitisers are the same, with some using denatured alcohol, and others using diluted alcohol which has almost no sanitising efficacy.

So while we have established that not all sanitisers are equal, does alcohol make sanitising more effective?

Alcohol has been used to clean and disinfect sine the 14th century, with masses of evidence supporting its efficacy in killing microorganisms on the skin. Typically, 60-95% alcohol is required to effectively sanitise. Studies show that 90% alcohol kills 99,99% of non-spore carrying bacterial and viruses within 30 seconds, provided that a sufficient amount is placed onto the hands and rubbed in correctly.

Alcohol rub sanitizers can kill most bacteria, and fungi, and stop some viruses. Alcohol rub sanitizers containing at least 70% alcohol (mainly ethyl alcohol) kill 99.9% of the bacteria on hands 30 seconds after application and 99.99% to 99.999%  in one minute.

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