No evidence alcohol-free hand sanitisers effective against COVID-19
Australians thinking their alcohol-free hand sanitisers are protecting them from COVID-19 should think again, says CHOICE.
The consumer advocate has issued a warning over the efficacy of alcohol-free hand sanitisers, saying there is zero evidence they are effective against COVID-19.
“After CHOICE found a hand sanitiser without enough alcohol to be effective against COVID-19, our members asked us to look at whether any alcohol-free options would work. The simple answer is no,” says CHOICE managing editor Marg Rafferty.
The study revealed that hand sanitiser must contain between 60 per cent and 80 per cent alcohol – depending on the type of alcohol – to be effective against COVID-19.
Products that adhere to the World Health Organisation (WHO) formula should contain at least 80 per cent ethanol or 75 per cent isopropyl alcohol.
“While alcohol-free sanitisers can be effective at killing common bacteria, you shouldn’t rely on them to protect you from COVID-19. For protection against coronavirus you need to use a hand sanitiser that contains between 60 per cent and 80 per cent alcohol,” says Ms Rafferty.
“If you’re out and about and there’s nowhere to wash your hands, and you can’t use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, an alcohol-free sanitiser is not recommended as an alternative. One of the experts we spoke to suggested filling a drink bottle with water and detergent and using it to thoroughly wash your hands when there are no bathroom facilities available, rather than using alcohol-free sanitiser.”
CHOICE checking the alcohol percentage on the bottle is the best way to ensure efficacy.
However, if information is not on the label or sanitiser is dispensed from an unmarked bottle, “pay attention to how the sanitiser feels on your hands, says CHOICE. “If it’s sticky and doesn’t evaporate off your hands quickly, it may not have the appropriate amount of alcohol needed to kill the virus.
“If your hand sanitiser doesn’t smell of alcohol or feel cool on your skin, be wary and avoid hand sanitisers that only state they kill bacteria or germs, as this doesn’t mean that they will be effective against COVID-19.
Were you ever of the mind that alcohol-free hand sanitisers would be effective against COVID-19?