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Is Alcohol Free Hand Sanitiser Effective? 

Hand sanitiser has become an integral part of our daily lives, especially in maintaining hand hygiene amidst global health concerns. While alcohol-based sanitisers are popular, alcohol-free options have entered the market, offering an alternative that promises effective germ-killing properties. But how effective is alcohol-free hand sanitiser vs alcohol-based hand sanitiser options? 


Alcohol-based hand sanitiser gels typically contain ethanol, isopropanol, or a combination of both, with concentrations ranging from 60% to 95%. These high concentrations of alcohol have proven to be effective in killing a broad spectrum of bacteria and viruses. However, the alcohol-free variants use different active ingredients, such as benzalkonium chloride, to kill germs. 


Research indicates that alcohol-free hand sanitiser can be effective in reducing bacteria on the hands. Benzalkonium chloride, the common active ingredient in alcohol-free sanitisers, has shown efficacy in eliminating a range of bacteria and viruses. However, its effectiveness can vary depending on the specific pathogen, concentration, and contact time. 


Studies have demonstrated that alcohol-free hand sanitiser can be effective against certain bacteria like E. coli and S. aureus. It also works against some enveloped viruses, which have a lipid membrane that benzalkonium chloride can disrupt. However, its effectiveness against non-enveloped viruses, like norovirus, may be limited compared to alcohol-based formulations. 


Advantages of Alcohol-Free Sanitiser 

One of the key benefits of alcohol-free hand sanitiser gel is its gentle nature on the skin. Unlike alcohol-based gels, which can be drying, these formulations are generally milder and less likely to cause skin irritation or dryness with frequent use. This makes them suitable for individuals with sensitive skin or those who need to use sanitiser frequently throughout the day. 


Alcohol-free sanitiser options also offer up a more inclusive hand cleaner option, catering to people with backgrounds or religious beliefs by which the use of alcohol is discouraged or not allowed. 


Another advantage is their non-flammable nature, making them safer for use in environments where flammable substances pose a risk. 


Alcohol-free hand sanitiser can be an effective option for maintaining hand hygiene, particularly for those seeking a milder alternative to alcohol-based products. While they may not be as universally effective against all pathogens, they offer a viable solution for specific scenarios where alcohol-based sanitisers are not ideal.

Understanding the strengths and limitations of alcohol-free hand sanitiser can help individuals make informed decisions about the best product to use for their specific needs.