Washing your hands is a powerful weapon

April 03, 2020

Washing your hands is a powerful weapon

Choosing the correct product to prevent COVID-19

In the current environment where people are rushing out to buy sanitisers and washes to kill off COVID-19 and prevent its transmission, there has been a raft of misinformation on what to use and what works. This hasn’t been helped by shortages and people trying to find alternatives in the face of sold out sanitisers. We have moisturising hand sanitiser at Border Compounding Pharmacy.

What is an appropriate hand sanitiser to use?

Corona virus or Covid 19 to be more specific is what is known as an enveloped virus. In short this makes it a relatively easy microbiological target to deactivate.

Based on our knowledge of other corona viruses, there are a number of different chemicals and ingredients that should destroy the COVID-19 strain. However, some of them have more evidence than others and some are a bit impractical to use as hand sanitisers or washes. Though things like tea tree oil seem to deactivate certain viruses, there is little evidence regarding using it for killing corona viruses and excessive use has been linked to changes in hormone levels in the body.

There are 2 main products that can be safely relied on in this pandemic.  

1) Detergents

Studies have shown that various detergents have the ability to break down enveloped viruses and inactivate them. It is assumed that corona virus reacts the same way to detergents in soap. So this is what is behind the logic that everyone is screaming at the moment “wash your hands with soap”.  It appears that some detergents or surfactants are better than others at destroying enveloped viruses but it can be roughly assumed that all will be effective. In fact there has been some evidence to suggest that a basic moisturiser, which is a combination of oil, water and surfactant may offer some anti-virus activity: but please don’t rely on this.

2) Alcohol

Alcohol kills viruses, bacteria, fungus and other microorganisms. However, every type of organism will require a different concentration to be effective. A concentration of ethanol that kills bacteria may not be strong enough to kill viruses. A concentration of ethanol that kills some viruses like corona viruses and influenza may not be strong enough to kill other viruses. Some studies have estimated that a concentration of over 40% ethanol should be strong enough to deactivate corona virus. Others have suggested that it would be safer to extend this to over 60%. The WHO suggests a hand sanitiser of 80% as this will kill nearly all pathogenic micro-organisms.

When Buying alcohol based hand sanitiser in the current epidemic to know what strength ethanol the product has. Kills 99.9% of germs means nothing at all. It is critical to buy a product that has more than 60% ethanol.


Moisturising Hand Sanitiser

Medical Grade, 80% ethanol, pharmacist formulated. 


If you have any questions please contact our friendly staff on (02) 6021 2253 or email albury@bordercompounding.com.au

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