Hand Sanitization

Around 99% of germs spread via droplets, which can be curbed by proper hand washing. People come in contact with germs mostly in public restrooms, etc. where people before them have not maintained proper hygiene. According to the Centers for Disease Control, hand washing is considered to be the single most important means of preventing the spread of infections. Since most of the diseases are caused by germs carried on the hands, using proper hand washing techniques can minimize the amount of disease transmission. Washing hands with soap and water gets rid of all unwanted guests from entering our body systems. Moreover, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers for hygiene are also gaining popularity today.

Hand sanitizers work by killing microbial cells and not human cells. They disrupt the outer coat of the virus and the cell membrane of a bacteria, which is why hand sanitizers are used to curb the spread of infectious diseases. A hand sanitizers comprises 70% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). Around 70% concentration of alcohol is far more effective than 100%, as the little amount of water content improves penetration capability of the alcohol. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a concentration of 60% - 95% isopropanol or ethanol for alcohol based hand sanitizers.

Hand sanitizers are like liquid form of soaps that are applied to the hands and they come with distinct fragrance. Water is one of the most important hand sanitizer ingredients. Besides water, there are many other hand sanitizer ingredients that have been mentioned below. The ingredients vary in content and make for different brands. The hand sanitizer ingredients mentioned here, are the ones that are generally found in various hand sanitizers.


In its purest form, glycerin is nothing but alcohol called as glycerol. When glycerol is used as an ingredient in various cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, it is modified in concentration and is called as glycerin. Glycerin is a colorless, sweet tasting and thick liquid and it forms a thick paste on freezing. Glycerin easily dissolves in water or alcohol but not in oils. Glycerin is hygroscopic in nature, that is it absorbs water from the air. One of the hand sanitizer ingredients, glycerin softens the skin when it is added in water. Glycerin maintains or balances the moisture levels of the skin.

Ethyl Alcohol

Ethyl alcohol forms the major hand sanitizer ingredients. Ethyl alcohol is also known as the ethanol or the normal drinking alcohol. Ethanol has a variety of uses as solvent for various scents, flavorings, colorings and medicines. Ethyl alcohol is a colorless and flammable liquid and disproportionate quantities of ethyl alcohol are dangerous in any product. That’s why the government has imposed restrictions on ethanol usage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends 60% to 95% alcohol in the hand sanitizer products. The concentration of ethanol in hand sanitizers depends on the amount of other inactive ingredients and the brand of the sanitizer. Besides ethanol, there are various other hand sanitizer ingredients that are alcohol compounds and may be used in varying proportions by different manufacturers. Some of them are as follows

Isopropyl Myristate
Propylene Glycol
Tocopheryl Acetate
Aminomethyl Propanol
Tocopheryl Acetate

Isopropyl and n-propyl alcohols are more effective bactericides than, but are not sporicidal. They are miscible with water in all proportions, but isopropanol has a less objectionable odour than n-propanol and is considered as a suitable alternative to ethanol in various cosmetic products, either as a solvent or as a preservative. Isopropanol has viricidal activity, but not towards ‘hydrophilic’ (non-lipid-enveloped) viruses.