Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are used to disinfect hands and reduce the number of germs present on the skin's surface. They contain alcohol as the main active ingredient, which is effective in killing many types of bacteria and viruses, including the ones responsible for common illnesses like colds, flu, and some strains of coronaviruses.
The most common types of alcohol used in hand sanitisers are ethanol (ethyl alcohol) and isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol). These alcohols work by denaturing proteins and disrupting the cell membranes of microorganisms, leading to their destruction.
Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are available in various forms, including liquids, gels and foams. They are convenient to use and are particularly useful in situations where soap and water are not readily accessible. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends the use of alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHR) for hand hygiene in healthcare, and if the hands are visibly soiled or dirty they should be washed with a soap cleanser and water.
When using hand sanitisers – it is critical that a sufficient amount of product is used to completely cover all surfaces of the hands. Any part of the hands that do not remain wet for a set period of time will not achieve the desired result.