Members using hand sanitiser
Members using hand sanitiser

What makes hand sanitiser kill COVID-19

THE wonder cure that is hand sanitiser may not prevent you from catching or spreading COVID-19 as every version is different, says a CQU academic.

With "sani", as it has been called during the pandemic, popping up for sale in all Gladstone supermarkets, variety stores, many service stations and even McDonald's drive-through, does it really work?

CQ University senior lecturer in Public Health, Lisa Bricknell, said the recipe must be right.

"The only sanitiser that can really be trusted to work is going to be one that is alcohol based and you're looking for something that is about 70 per-cent alcohol," she said.

"They'll add aloe vera or they'll add a fragrance or something, but it needs to be at least 70 per-cent alcohol to kill the virus."

Using soap and water to wash your hands is more effective than hand sanitiser.

"Washing your hands with soap and water is actually more effective than hand sanitiser because the soap is known to degrade the outside coating of the virus," Ms Bricknell said.

"Hand sanitiser is the sort of thing you really should use when you should was your hands but you can't.


CQ University senior lecturer in Public Health Lisa Bricknell says all hand sanitisers must be 70 per-cent alcohol to kill COVID-19.
CQ University senior lecturer in Public Health Lisa Bricknell says all hand sanitisers must be 70 per-cent alcohol to kill COVID-19.

"If you touch frequently used public surfaces, touch another person's hands, before you eat, after the toilet or if you have been into a shop touching lots of things, I would sanitise your hands.

"You want to sanitise before you touch your face or your mucus membranes or eyes, so it's a good idea to sanitise regularly."

Making your own hand sanitiser is a dangerous proposition.

"Isopropyl alcohol by itself is about 69 per-cent alcohol, so it might work on it's own, but as soon as you start adding aloe-vera to it or whatever, you're diluting it, so the proportion on a whole will be under 70 per-cent and ineffective," Ms Bricknell said.

Kmart Gladstone sells hand sanitiser in 236 ml bottles for $5, McDonalds in the region are selling a 50ml bottle for charity for $3.50 and some service stations in the region selling 500ml for $19.95.

"The stuff you buy at the chemist should be fine, the stuff you get at the supermarket should be fine, so if it's got a recognised brand name on it it's usually not too bad because usually they will stick to the tried and true formula of 70 per-cent," Ms Bricknell said.

"It's the ones that come imported from overseas with dodgy brand names, they would be the ones that I would tend to avoid."

Frequent hand washing, sanitising and social distancing are the best prevention measures against COVID-19, Ms Bricknell said.

"These measures are incredibly effective the science shows us and now our experiences are proving it really is effective," she said.