Sanitiser & Disinfectants – Which One should I use?

Sanitiser and disinfectants have now become a normal part of daily life. The question is, do you really know which is the right one for you and your business?

What is the difference between sanitisers and disinfectants?

If you are looking to remove dirt and grime you need a cleaner, however, if you are looking to remove microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses you need to look at sanitisers and disinfectants, but what is the difference between them?

Both sanitisers and disinfectants have to meet specific criteria in order to be called a sanitiser or disinfectant, in fact, some pass both sets of test and can be called a disinfectant sanitiser. These tests are set out in order to determine the level of pathology of the product against bacteria, viruses, moulds, fungi and yeasts. A sanitiser must kill bacteria in order to be classified as a sanitiser, however during the COVID19 pandemic, you will be aware that sanitisers have been used globally to help reduce transmission of the virus. This is because the alcohol within sanitisers will kill  ‘enveloped’ viruses (of which COVID19 is part of that family), by attacking the outer membrane of the virus and essentially popping it, exposing the internal cell structure to the air which ultimately kills the virus. For a product to be called a disinfectant is must kill bacteria, viruses, yeasts and fungi, a disinfectant is an ‘all-rounder’ compared to a sanitiser. Many disinfectants will claim to kill 99.99% of germs, where germs is a generic term for bacteria, viruses, yeast and fungi (moulds).

An important factor when comparing sanitisers and disinfectants is the reaction time taken to kill the bacteria/virus. You will find this can vary immensely from a few seconds up to a couple of hours. Be sure to check this for your chosen bacteria or virus as you may actually find the product does kill the virus however it can take 30 minutes, which may not be helpful depending on where you are applying the product, take a door handle, for example, you probably expect people to use the door within 30 minutes of you cleaning it.

Another consideration should be where you expect to use the sanitiser or disinfectant, if you are using it in a food preparation area you must ensure that it is food safe, or has specific application instruction that must be followed when being used in those areas, many will require a wipe over after use before those surfaces are exposed to food, this ensures that most traces of the product have then been removed and don’t make it onto the food. If you consider the fact that these products are designed to kill living organisms and we as humans fall into that category it goes without saying that these could also kill us if the concentrations become high enough. This is another reason these products tend to be brightly coloured liquids as a warning to people not to drink them, it is not water!

When it comes to your hands, you may think it does not matter whether you use sanitiser or disinfectant…well it does! Disinfectants contain powerful chemicals that can be dangerous to your skin and even your bodies. If using disinfectant wipes, it is always best to wash your hands afterwards or use gloves. Our hands are covered in different types of bacteria but not all of them are bad. Good bacteria also live on our skin so when cleaning your hands to do not want to use something that is going to kill 99.99% of pathogens. It is best to use a sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol or simply use soap and water for 20 seconds if you are able.

Does it really matter what sanitiser you purchase?

For sanitisers to work effectively, you need at least 60% alcohol. Leading microbiologists explain that the alcohol levels need to be between 60-95% to work against viruses, including COVID-19. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend that you use a sanitiser with 72% or higher alcohol content. And with all these types of products double check, it has been independently tested to do what it says!

If you are going to be using sanitiser on your hands repeatedly, it can cause skin irritation so you may prefer a formula that contains moisturising agents such as PoshChemie, which has added moisturisers added.

Liquid or gel – does it matter? In reality, it is down to personal preference. Both forms work well as long as they are applied correctly. Liquid Sanitiser is usually supplied in a spray bottle, this enables you to apply the sanitiser to a larger surface area using less liquid. Sanitising gel provides the best and most coverage on your hands and dries slower enabling you to tell if the sanitiser has spread to all parts of the hand.

You can find sanitisers on the market which can be used on hands and surfaces, these will typically be in a liquid or a wipe. Sanitiser Duo is an example of a sanitiser formulated to work on both hands and surfaces. These are ideal to use in establishments like hotels as you can provide small bottles in guestrooms, ensuring that your guests not only have sanitiser to use on their hands but they can also clean down any hard surfaces in the room giving them piece of mind that their environment is clean. It can also be a cost-effective option as you do not need to purchase different bottles of sanitiser for hands and objects.

Are all disinfectants the same?

The purpose of disinfecting is to remove any trace of germs and bacteria from the applied surface. Although disinfectants all have the same purpose, the way they are formulated can mean they work in different ways. Some products need to be left on the surface for 5 – 10 minutes to work effectively, always read the label and follow the instructions on the packaging. If you have visible dirt on your surface, it is always best to clean the dirty area first and then disinfect.

Most disinfectants need to be reapplied on a regular basis as they do not continue to kill pathogens for a period of time after application.

Until now…PureSuface+ is a brand new disinfectant with a difference! PureSurface+ is scientifically formulated to continue killing pathogens such as bacteria, viruses (including coronavirus), fungi and yeasts for up to 7 days or 200 touches. After application and once dried, a protective shield is formed. This shield has a UV trace which means the user can check the coverage and validity of the shield using a UV torch or Blacklight. The shield can also be checked during the 7 days to ensure it is still active or if reapplication is required. The solution has been independently tested and has received the following certificates, meeting European Standards: EN13727, EN1276, EN13624, EN1650, EN13697, EN14348, EN16777, EN14476 and AFNOR NF T 72-281.

This product is ideal for high contact areas and touchpoints such as door handles, stair bannisters, lift buttons and reception desks. The formula is non-toxic and food safe making it perfect for schools, pubs and restaurants, shops, supermarkets, salons, museums, amusement parks and factories, to name a few settings, oh and of course your home too.

The current pandemic has lead to a huge increase in the use of sanitisers and disinfectants. Using these products correctly will help protect your family, staff, customers, clients and visitors safe from harmful pathogens. Please stay safe!