A white paper on the benefits of both 70% alcohol and alcohol-free sanitisers

As the public navigates the countermeasures to the pandemic, clear information on the viability of both 70% alcohol and alcohol-free hand sanitisers is vital for people to stay safe and healthy. This paper presents a side-by-side comparison of the science, standards and use cases of both 70% alcohol and alcohol-free hand sanitisers. This information aims to help consumers make informed decisions on the product(s) they choose to use to protect themselves in the ongoing fight against the virus.

Key takeaways:

  • Both 70% alcohol and alcohol-free hand sanitisers are safe and effective in the fight against coronavirus.
  • Both 70% alcohol and alcohol-free hand sanitisers have passed identical, independently certified European Standard tests, including tests on skin.
  • 70% alcohol hand sanitiser is the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended product and offers a faster virus kill time after application than alcohol-free sanitiser.
  • Alcohol-free hand sanitiser offers longer protection against bacteria and viruses, so in certain circumstances where someone is exposed for an extended period, alcohol-free should be considered a superior option.

A comparison between alcohol-free and 70% alcohol hand sanitisers

Alcohol FreeHand Sanitiser 70% Alcohol Hand Sanitiser Comments on comparison
Effective against Bacteria and viruses Bacteria and viruses
Kill time after application Bacteria – 1 minute
Viruses – 2 minutes
Bacteria – 1 minute
Viruses – 1 minute
70% alcohol sanitiser has a quicker kill time for viruses than alcohol-free sanitiser, however kill time for bacteria is the same.
Residual defence against bacteria and viruses after application Up to 4 hours Up to 2 minutes Alcohol-free sanitiser offers significantly longer protection against bacteria and viruses than alcohol sanitiser.
European Standards BS EN 1276
BS EN 1500
BS EN 14476
BS EN 1276
BS EN 1500
BS EN 14476
Both sanitisers are subject to identical, independently certified testing methods, including tests on skin.
Halal-certified Yes – certified by the Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC) No
Active substances Benzalkonium chloride (BKC) and Didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC) Ethanol Alcohol-free sanitiser is softer on the skin. The active substances do not strip away oils in our skin that retain moisture to the same extent as 70% alcohol sanitiser.


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