Read the ingredients in your hand sanitiser – it may not work.

There are many products now on the market that claim to be hand sanitiser, however how effective are they really at killing the germs that  make us sick? As our supermarket and pharmacy shelves are being emptied of hand sanitiser, alternative ‘natural’ versions have started appearing in online shops, Facebook ads and at market stalls. Make-your-own-at-home recipes are also attracting a lot of interest on the internet. But do they really work?

Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) thinks not. The medicines regulatory body has become increasingly concerned that people are relying too much on these largely ineffective, ‘alternative’ hand washes for germ protection.

According to the TGA, to be effective at killing germs in any material way hand sanitiser must contain the following ingredients:

  • 80 per cent ethanol or 75 per cent isopropyl alcohol*. In concentrations less than this, the sanitiser will not be strong enough to disintegrate the fine outer membrane of a virus. Destroying this protective fatty layer is key to destroying a virus. However 100% ethanol or alcohol will not work either as a certain percentage of water is needed to make the alcohol solution effective. So getting the balance right is key. Ethanol must be pharmacopoeial or food standard grade and the isopropyl alcohol must be pharmacopoeial grade.
  • Sterile distilled water or boiled cold water. If the water is not sterile it may contain contaminants that could affect the quality of the sanitiser.
  • 1.45 per cent glycerol*. Glycerol has well established antimicrobial and antiviral properties. It also aids in smoothing the sanitiser evenly over the skin.
  • 0.125 per cent hydrogen peroxide*. Known for its antibacterial and disinfectant qualities.
  • No added fragrance, colour, emollients or similar additives. According to the TGA, extra ingredients designed to make the sanitiser look, feel or smell better may reduce the effectiveness of the product and should not be used.

*volume by volume

As a fully licensed manufacturer of compounded medication, National Custom Compounding has now started producing 100 per cent compliant hand sanitiser in 150ml bottles. Stock is in extremely high demand so please email [email protected] with your request and we will get back to you as soon as we’re able to fill your request.

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