Hand sanitisers have never been as popular, and it’s for one reason – Covid-19. Before January 2020, no one would have expected what the world had in store for us in the next twelve to fourteen months. With people getting ill around the world, it was, and still is essential to understand the best ways to remain safe and healthy.

Hand sanitisers quickly became the best form of defence because they are effective and accessible. Whether you are going to the supermarket or visiting loved ones, a dollop of sanitiser will remove most of the bacteria on your hands and nearby surfaces. But, what about viruses?

Bacteria and viruses are different, which means that the same techniques don’t always work across the board. Is this the same hand sanitisers? Let’s find out.

Do Hand Sanitisers Kill Viruses?

It depends on the type of sanitiser you use, and whether you use it correctly (more on that later). For example, research points to the fact that formulas should contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective against viruses. Yet, this isn’t the case. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds, or QACs, are proven to destroy 99.9% of bacteria and all Enveloped Viruses on contact. QACs are often found in alcohol-free hand sanitiser solutions, so organic products are just as useful.

The key is to use them properly, or else you won’t get the protection you desire. Lots of people don’t understand the best steps, similar to handwashing, and it results in potentially harmful bacteria and viruses remaining on your body and surfaces. This leads to high reinfection rates, which is what you want to avoid.

What Are the Benefits of Alcohol-Free Formulas?

Some of the advantages are self-evident. For instance, the majority of people know that the skin is sensitive, and alcohol solutions are abrasive. Therefore, opting for a hand sanitiser without the irritant will lead to happier and healthier skin. Here are more benefits:

You can use it regularly: Anyone who does experience flaky or angry blotches on their skin won’t want to sanitise their hands as often as necessary to kill viruses. With zero alcohol, you can use a formula as many times as you want without having to panic about your hands.

They have Cationic Surfactants: Cationic Surfactants are ingredients that form a protective layer on your skin. Once you apply sanitiser to your hands, they stick around and continue to kill viruses and bacteria that come into contact with your body. This gives you peace of mind that you won’t be reinfected in the short-term.

Lysis: You might not have heard of lysis, but it’s a process brought about by the introduction of QACs. The compounds use a type of biotechnology that has been present within the healthcare industry for decades. Essentially, lysis is the method that eliminates nasty pathogens and makes alcohol-free sanitisers even safer.

If you were wondering if you should be an alcohol-free version, these are the reasons why it’s a smart strategy.

How Do You Use Sanitisers Properly?

Using a hand sanitiser sounds like the simplest thing in the world. You open the bottle, squeeze a bit on your hands, and rub it in. Voila. In reality, this won’t kill the number of bacteria and viruses that you need to if you want to stay safe.

Instead, you must put a decent amount on your hands – enough to cover them – and rub them together until the formula is dry. This is a sign that it has fully soaked in and is providing a protective layer. Typically, it should take around twenty seconds. 

Another excellent tip is to buy antimicrobial products as they stop the spread of a range of agents, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Antibacterial items usually only target bacteria, which means viruses will go unharmed.

Should You Rely on Hand Sanitisers Alone?

No. Hand sanitisers do kill viruses, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. As well as applying a solution when you’re out-and-about, the best strategy is to combine sanitiser formula with washing your hands. 

Like using a sanitiser, there is a specific way of washing that will kill most agents that come into contact with your hands. Currently, the advice suggests using strong soap and rubbing it in for up to twenty seconds before rinsing with lukewarm water.


There are a few takeaways to remember now and in the long-term. Do hand sanitisers kill viruses? Yes, they do, but you need to be aware of the caveats. For example, it’s okay to purchase alcohol-free products as long as they contain QACs, and you use them properly. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands to supplement the use of sanitiser.

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