COVID 101: Not all sanitisers are created equal

The only thing more popular than hand sanitiser these days is a face mask.

Always choose a hand sanitiser that has mostly alcohol as the active ingredient.

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed us towards a new way of living, one which takes some getting used to but which we must follow for now if we are to contain its spread.

But even though we sanitise our hands throughout the day – you can’t go into a building these days without seeing a sign asking you to do so before entry – is it as effective as we would like to think?

First off, not all hand sanitisers are created equal. If you want one that is effective, ensure it has mostly alcohol and few other ingredients.

The recommended alcohol content is at least 60 per cent ethyl alcohol or 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol. Other ingredients may include serile distilled water, hydrogen peroxide and glycerin, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Also, try to stay away from any that has methanol or 1-propanot, which can be toxic. Additionally, the FDA said people should be wary of those that are packaged in food and drink containers and ingesting it could be dangerous.

What’s more, avoid any sanitizer that replaces alcohol with banzalkonium chloride, which doesn’t do as good a job at killing some bacteria and viruses.

And for all those people creating DIY projects for it instead of just getting it at the store, one word – don’t. Some chemical mixes can not only be ineffective but also cause skin burns.

But most importantly, sanitisers are not a replacement for washing your hands. If you can, you should always choose to wash your hands instead as this works better at removing germs.