What Percentage of Alcohol Is Too High In Sanitisers?

There is such a thing as too-high alcohol content when it comes to sanitising.

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You may think that the higher the alcohol content in sanitisers, the more effective they would be in disinfecting. Emergency physician Dr Abdullah Asad Saddiqui begs to differ.

“While I believe that soap and water works best in destroying the virus, alcohol-based sanitisers work well too in situations where soap and water are not available. However, I also believe that too high an alcohol content in sanitisers may be counter-intuitive,” says Dr Asad.

Why more isn’t better

He explains, “This is because the coronavirus is a single cell virus wrapped in a coat of protein. Alcohols such as ethanol alcohol or isopropyl alcohol can kill the virus that lands on surfaces, such as the skin and personal belongings, by destroying the protein layer then getting into the cell. Given that alcohol evaporates fast, too high an alcohol content may not provide enough time for the protein wall to be destroyed.”

He also adds that too little alcohol may not be adequate in killing the virus. “An alcohol content of between 70% and 75% has been found to be most effective in killing microbes.” Dr Asad also advises that disease-prevention measures, such as sanitisation of hands and personal belongings, must still be taken seriously post-MCO, when Malaysians return to work.

These measures also include wearing masks at crowded places, constant hand-washing, and wiping down of personal belongings with the right sanitiser.

Disinfect your personal belongings regularly

“Laboratory tests of personal belongings such as handbags and handphones have shown that they contain more germs than toilet seats,” says Tai Zi Kang, co-founder and managing director of Alcosm. The Singapore-based company makes 75% alcohol concentration wet wipes. These are sold in more than 1,500 convenience stores, supermarkets and pharmacies across Malaysia.

Alcosm’s wipes are made using spunlace non-woven fabric, making them soft yet sufficiently durable to hold enough disinfectant liquid. The wipes are moreover low lint, leaving less residue on belongings, and chemicals are not used in the process of making spunlace non-woven fabric.

If your hands are dry from constant washing and sanitising, check out these hand moisturisers.