Don’t fall for low quality protection

With the pandemic causing spikes in demand for hand sanitiser, Anica Detic, Head of R&D at Zidac Laboratories, argues that businesses must be cautious around quality to ensure employees are protected.

COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on the need for correct sanitation procedures, making permanent changes to the way people view germs and cleanliness.

In the early stages of the pandemic, hand sanitisers, soaps and gels sold out almost instantly, with retailers unable to keep up with demand as people stocked up for business and personal use. This is unlikely to diminish, with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating that globally, 35bn litres of sanitiser will be needed a year to meet the demand of just healthcare organisations.

This figure will likely be even higher when you consider the needs of other businesses, which need to protect their employees as they begin to return to the workplace. This is especially pertinent for hotels, restaurants, bars and pubs, as they will need to be vigilant about disinfecting areas where customers have been.

Factories, shops and hairdressers will also be introducing disinfection procedures for those entering their premises. Bringing people back to shared environments carries risks, and employers will be expected to provide ample sanitiser as part of their return plans.

While established manufacturers like Zidac are investing heavily into their operations to increase capacity and lessen this shortfall, there has also been a rise in individuals and organisations looking to make their own sanitiser and sell it on for high profits. However, this brings a large amount of uncertainty to the market.

Without careful formulation, many products are not as effective or high enough quality to kill germs, despite being advertised as such. Instead, there are certain indicators businesses should be aware of when looking to purchase hand sanitisers.

Alcohol percentage

The most important factor to consider is alcohol, which kills germs by dissolving them. For sanitiser to be fully


anti-bacterial it must contain at least 70% alcohol, yet many off-the-shelf sanitisers that are currently being produced do not contain this.

Manufacturers who do ensure their products contain this volume will usually clearly print the alcohol volume on packaging, so be cautious if the alcohol percentage is difficult to find.

Fully tested sanitiser

When a sanitiser goes through testing, the manufacturer can find out what percentage of bacteria it will kill. Sanitisers that have gone through correct testing methods will have this statement printed on the bottle, with good quality sanitiser killing 99.9% of germs.

Advertising a product’s testing results is also a good indication it is safe to use as well as effective, and ensures authenticity.


Another factor to be aware of is whether it has other protective factors. As many have seen with increased hand washing, it can become uncomfortable on the hands and skin can react poorly, becoming dry, cracked and painful. Harsh sanitisers will discourage employees from using them, which will increase the risk of cross contamination between workers and surfaces.

A good product to look out for in sanitiser is aloe vera, which soothes the hands and reduces damage, making employees more likely to use the product regularly.

As more manufacturers start to innovate on formulas and increase their production capacity, there will be more options on the market, meaning more choice for buyers, however as outlined above, this does not necessarily equate to quality. Purchasing enough hand sanitiser to protect your business can be a large investment, and unless it is able to protect workers, it may be essentially worthless.

Carefully monitoring and researching products before purchase is essential. Looking out for the inclusions above, and ideally a sanitiser which advertises itself as hospital- grade, can help ensure your business and your employees are protected, to help eliminate the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

Zidac Laboratories is working on a new, upgraded formula which will be available from June, with further listings due to be confirmed in the coming months.

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