In a recent study completed by the American Journal of Infection Control, an alcohol-free sanitizer using benzalkonium chloride (BZK- 0.12%) as its active ingredient was found to be as effective as an ethanol-based formulation (63% ethanol). This study measured the antibacterial efficacy after application at 1, 2 and 4 hour intervals after application of the products to the skin. For the BZK product, bacteria were applied at 1, 2, and 4 hours after product application and for the ethanol product, bacteria were applied at 1 and 4 hours after product application. The difference in the recovery between the BZK and ethanol products was striking. The BZK product reduced bacterial viability at each interval (1, 2 and 4 hours). The ethanol product did not reduce bacterial viability. This study suggests that the active ingredient BZK (0.12%) can provide a marked improvement in persistent antibacterial activity over the 63% ethanol-based product.¹
To access the full study, please visit: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0196655319300082.
Hand sanitizer comes in two types: alcohol-based and alcohol-free.
Hand sanitizers labeled as containing the term “alcohol,” used by itself, are expected to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol). Only two alcohols are permitted as active ingredients in alcohol-based hand sanitizers – ethanol (ethyl alcohol) or isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol or 2-propanol). However, the term “alcohol,” used by itself, on hand sanitizer labels specifically refers to ethanol only. Hand sanitizer formulations have traditionally contained ethanol or other short-chained alcohols (60%-70%) as the active ingredient.²
Alcohol-free formulations have been developed for years, with benzalkonium chloride (BZK, BKC, BAK, BAC) as the active ingredient. This active ingredient acts by disrupting the cell membranes of the target organisms and is active at relatively low concentrations (0.12%-0.13%). Since this surfactant is not volatile, it is expected to remain on the skin as the product dries.¹ BZK has a long history of use in both surface disinfectants used in the food industry and as a skin sanitizer. Hygiene Clean™ Hand Sanitizer is formulated using benzalkonium chloride as an active ingredient.
The ingredients may vary across Hygiene Clean™ products. Please reference a specific Hygiene Clean™ product page to view that product’s ingredient list.
Benzalkonium chloride (BZK, BKC, BAK, BAC) is the active ingredient used to make Hygiene Clean™ Hand Sanitizer. This active ingredient acts by disrupting the cell membranes of the target organisms and is active at relatively low concentrations (0.12%-0.13%). Since this surfactant is not volatile, it is expected to remain on the skin as the product dries. BZK has a long history of use in both surface disinfectants used in the food industry and as a skin sanitizer.²
Alcohol-free hand sanitizers are accepted by the CDC as an alternative to alcohol hand sanitizers, are effective at killing germs, and can be a safer alternative to alcohol-based formulations in a number of ways:
When frequent hand sanitizing is required, repeated use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be very drying to the skin which can cause cracks and skin irritation.² Hygiene Clean™ Hand Sanitizer leaves hands dry, non-tacky and soft.
Alcohol hand sanitizers are flammable and should be stored away from heat or flame. These sanitizers should be rubbed into the hands until they feel completely dry before continuing activities that may involve heat, sparks, static electricity, or open flames.² Alcohol-free sanitizer is non-flammable.
Ingestion of alcohol-based hand sanitizer is dangerous, particularly in children. Every month, there are hundreds of calls to Poison Control for unintentional ingestion of hand sanitizer. Drinking only a small amount of hand sanitizer can cause alcohol poisoning in children whereas alcohol-free sanitizer is relatively nontoxic.²
Alcohol-based sanitizers may stain counter tops and floors by stripping the sealant off of hard surfaces. There is also potential to stain clothing.
The FDA regulates alcohol-based and alcohol-free hand sanitizer as an over-the-counter consumer antiseptic rub, available without a prescription. Hygiene Clean™ Hand Sanitizer is FDA listed and conforms to the safety, effectiveness, and labeling guidelines set by the FDA.
The CDC is an advisory body which makes recommendations related to healthcare. CDC is not a regulatory body—that’s the FDA’s function. The CDC is an advisory body (it makes recommendations), primarily for healthcare. Furthermore, its recommendations are based on the fact that, up to this point, it has not tested non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers. It is unknown when they will recommend an alternative to alcohol.
Many people favor the feel of a foaming hand sanitizer (including kids!) when applied to their hands and tend to spread it more consistently for better sanitizing coverage.
From an application standpoint, foam products don’t require as much product to be dispensed as compared to gels.
Some surfactants or fragrances contain compounds that may impart color and darken with age. The fragrance used in our products may cause color change. This does not affect the efficacy of the product.
Our hand sanitizers can freeze under extreme temperatures (temperatures below 25F). Remove the product from this environment to thaw. This does not affect the efficacy of the product. Additionally, Hygiene Clean™ Hand Sanitizer will not degrade at temperatures up to 212F so it's safe to keep in your vehicle.
Hygiene Clean™ uses PET bottles which are recyclable. They are the most recycled plastic in the U.S. and worldwide.
1. Demonstrating the persistent antibacterial efficacy of a hand sanitizer containing benzalkonium chloride on human skin at 1, 2, and 4 hours after application. American Journal of Infection Control. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0196655319300082. Accessed November 19, 2020.
2. Q&A for Consumers: Hand Sanitizers and COVID-19. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/information-drug-class/qa-consumers-hand-sanitizers-and-covid-19. Accessed November 19, 2020.