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What is the difference between alcohol and non-alcohol based hand sanitisers in the workplace?

Posted by Roadware on 9th Jun 2020

What is the difference between alcohol and non-alcohol based hand sanitisers in the workplace?

Hygiene at Work

What is the difference between alcohol and non-alcohol based hand sanitisers in the workplace?

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the World Health Organisation has emphasised the importance of maintaining good hand hygiene. This practice is designed to protect ourselves and to help prevent the spread of infection. In lieu of thorough hand washing with soap and water, hand sanitiser became a highly popular alternative. Often used when there is no water available such as when entering buildings, construction sites or on public transport.

This product can be made in either alcohol or non-alcohol based formulations. The simplest way to differentiate the two is that one formula contains alcohol (ethanol) while the other does not.

The World Health Organisation recommends using 70-80% alcohol sanitisers in order to kill the virus and prevent spreading. But which formula is better to bulk purchase for the workplace?

Alcohol (Ethanol) Hand Sanitisers

●Alcohol products can strip away oil that the skin naturally produces as a moisturiser, also known as sebum. These oils exist to protect the surface of the skin, and stripping it away can lead to dryness. Overuse can cause bacterial infections is the skin becomes broken.

●While alcohol provides quick kill rates, it also evaporates quickly meaning that its effects only offer short term protection.

●Alcohol is only effective against a small amount of disease-causing bacteria and does not kill certain spores at all

●Cannot be used by people who choose to avoid alcohol for personal or religious reasons

●They cause a risk of alcohol poisoning if consumed/ left unattended, but are considered safe if they are used as directed

●These types of sanitisers present a fire safety risk due to their high alcohol content.

●They require safe storage and should not be left in hot cars over a long period of time as this poses a fire risk

●Risks staining some clothes and surfaces

Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitisers

●The formulation is more kind to the skin as they often contain moisturisers, which is particularly important when used regularly in workplace settings.

●They are particularly popularly used in healthcare settings in place of alcohol-based sanitisers.

●Water-based alcohol-free hand sanitisers are more cost-effective as they use measured dispensation mechanisms when they are foamed. They will provide more applications per container than their alcohol-based counterparts.

●Alcohol-free sanitisers are proven to have antimicrobial compounds that can offer protection for up to four hours after application.

●Suitable for use by all - including children and those who choose to avoid alcohol due to religious reasons.

●They are less hazardous as they do not contain any fire causing substances and do not require any special storage solutions

●They are less likely to stain any surfaces or clothing than alcohol-based sanitisers.

At, we aim to provide our customers will high performing sanitisers and disinfectants that can kill harmful bacteria around the workplace. This is particularly important as the world begins to open up after the COVID-19 lockdown. Our sanitisers and disinfectants will remove harmful bacteria on hands and contaminated surfaces.

Check out our extensive range of commercial sanitisation solutions here. 

25, 210 and 1000 Litre hand wash sanitiser

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Freestanding hand wash sanitiser station

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Public and worksite hand wash sanitiser station

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