With the arrival of the novel coronavirus and flu season on the horizon here in New Zealand, interest in hand sanitisers has reached an all-time high. Naturally, heightened demand leads to heightened curiosity about the effectiveness of available options. For many, this means choosing between an alcohol-based or alcohol-free hand sanitiser spray.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends sanitisers with high alcohol content for its potency and immediacy, but there are good reasons to stop and compare those alcohol-based chemical sanitisers with the unique benefits offered by alcohol-free hand sanitisers. We look at some of the key differences below.
Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are highly concentrated, often more than 60% alcohol. Alcohol has a very low boiling point so the heat of your hands, along with the heat generated by friction from rubbing them together, is enough to rapidly evaporate the alcohol, taking the germs with it, chemically killing nearly 100% of germs in as little as 15 seconds. This means that alcohol-based sanitisers work quickly but briefly. The rapid evaporation of the alcohol, however, often takes with it moisture from your skin, which can leave your hands feeling rather dry.
Alcohol-free hand sanitisers are primarily water, with a low, gentle concentration of an active ingredient. Usually fragrance-free and alcohol-free sanitisers kill germs with a layer of molecules that provide lasting protection, warding off germs for hours. Unlike alcohol-based sanitisers, which offer an immediate chemical kill of germs, alcohol-free sanitisers offer fast-acting but enduring physical protection against germs, including over 100 known microbes like E. coli, norovirus, and Ebola.
The effectiveness of alcohol-based hand sanitisers is not in question, but their effectiveness compared to alcohol-free sanitisers remains somewhat inconclusive. This is because alcohol-free sanitisers do not all use the same active ingredient, yielding inconsistent results. What’s more, comparison tests often assess their immediate effectiveness, rather than the duration of their protection.
New Edition NZ's range of hand sanitiser sprays are 99% water-based and use only a single active ingredient: Quaternary Ammonium Compound (QAC). QAC is a molecule derived from sand and through a synthetic process it activates, enabling it to form a strong bond on surfaces, physically kill germ molecules as they come in contact with it, and offer this protection for a much longer period of time than alcohol-based alternatives. This ingredient is entirely safe for human contact, which is demonstrated by its presence in other health and beauty formulas such as toothpaste, contact lens solutions, cosmetics, shampoos, certain antibacterial soaps, wet wipes, deodorants, and skin antiseptics and medications.
The biggest advantage of alcohol-free hand sanitisers is the lasting protection they offer. While alcohol-based sanitisers work for seconds, chemically killing only germs that were already present, an alcohol-free solution like New Edition NZ’s forms a protective barrier that physically kills and protects against germs for up to 24 hours. What’s more, it won’t dry out your skin and is gentle enough to use on even newborn babies. It is, in fact, less toxic than even Vitamin C or coffee!!
New Edition NZ’s Sanitiser Range is made right here in New Zealand and contains no harsh chemicals. It is fragrance-free and protects against 99% of germs.
Should you decide that alcohol-free is the way to go, at New Edition NZ we offer a range of products to meet your needs. Buy hand sanitisers your whole family can use, with home and travel options too!
If you're after more information about the New Edition NZ Sanitiser technology, learn more here
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Dani, the founder and Director of New Edition NZ, is passionate about sharing our story as a New Zealand made brand while creating products to help caregivers feel connected and supported.