Is your hand sanitiser effective? Three important things to watch out for.

Is your hand sanitiser effective? Three important things to watch out for.

One essential we’re all relying on during COVID-19 to help keep our workplaces safe is hand sanitiser. Hand sanitisers contain antiseptic ingredients which work to kill microorganisms on the surface of the skin. But with news reports of dodgy products making their way to market, how can tell if the hand sanitiser you have actually works?

Caroline Ayers, Health, Hygiene & Safety Specialist at Winc has shared some important advice to determine if your hand sanitiser is safe and effective for use.

Tip 1: Check the alcohol content

To be effective, alcohol-based hand sanitisers need to contain 60-70% ethanol. How can you tell if your hand sanitiser has a high alcohol content? Caroline suggests to firstly, read the label. Secondly, using your sense of smell. “Does it smell like alcohol? If so, that’s a good sign. Does it absorb and evaporate in the air quickly? If not, that may be a sign that the alcohol content is lower than what’s needed to be effective.”

Caroline also suggests looking for products used in a theatre or a clinical setting. “Isolation wards in hospitals use products formulated with 80% or over alcohol or ethanol content so you can’t go wrong there,” Caroline says.

Tip 2: Check the label

“Labelling is very strict in Australia. If labelling is generalised, in another language or doesn’t specifically state alcohol content or the formula, generally that’s not a good sign,” warns Caroline.

As a short cut, look for an AUST R number on the label. This means the product is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). All AUST R numbers are searchable on the TGA website so you can check if your hand sanitiser is approved.

“The other benefit of choosing a hand sanitiser with an AUST R number is that the TGA enforces restrictions on the types of claims permitted to be made on labels and in promotional material. That’s another way of checking that labelling and claims are an honest account of what a hand sanitiser is capable of,” adds Caroline.

Caroline also suggests looking for products used in a theatre or a clinical setting. “Isolation wards in hospitals use products formulated with 80% or over alcohol or ethanol content so you can’t go wrong there,” Caroline says.

Tip 3: Check your use

“Labelling can sometimes exclude how much hand sanitiser is needed to be effective. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to cover your hands and wrists. Three pumps is generally a good amount,” says Caroline.

Only purchase hand sanitisers and other personal protective equipment from trustworthy suppliers. All Winc suppliers are carefully evaluated to comply with Winc’s strict social and ethical procurement policies and product quality standards, so you can have confidence shopping with Winc. Shop hand sanitiser and other health essentials on our website.

Hand sanitiser
Hand Sanitiser

Sources:

Department of Health – Therapeutic Goods Administration, ‘Hand sanitisers: Information for consumers’, <https://www.tga.gov.au/hand-sanitisers-information-consumers>