Differences between alcohol percentages within sanitizers

If you want to buy a hand sanitizer today, you can see that the hand sanitizer market have different range of alcohol percentage, from 70% - 85%. We have curated an FAQ on this subject, in hopes that this will answer all your questions.

Q: Does more alcohol mean it is stronger and can kill more virus?

A: First you have to understand the reaction between alcohol and virus at it's molecular level. The alcohol breaks down the protective wall of the virus and the virus cannot survive without it's exterior barrier. However, you also need to understand that alcohol evaporates very quickly so without sufficient water content, you may not have enough contact time for the alcohol to do it's job. Longer evaporation will also encourage you to rub your hand all around sufficiently.

CDC recommends consumers to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol (1). KKM also concurs this statement. Higher alcohol concentration would also harm your skin over time and may present a risk for younger children and fire hazard. However, there are also studies that shows 80% alcohol content sanitizers are recommended for hospitals. This is because hospitals are deem to be an elevated risk zone of contracting diseases due to higher viral dosage in the surrounding environment.

It is recommended to use 60% and above alcohol sanitizers for your regular day to day general usage, whereas 85% alcohol sanitizers are for higher risk areas.

Q: Do alcohol sanitizers have expiry dates?

A: It is difficult to assess an expiry date for sanitizers because it depends on surface area of evaporation during manufacturing and environment temperature. Generally sanitizers have a shelf life between 6 months to 1 year. However, it is always good practice to use alcohol sanitizers that are recently manufactured. The alcohol content will continue to evaporate over time and eventually dip below 60% percentage. Speak to your local manufacturers to get the most recent batch of sanitzers, so that you have a longer product shelf life.

At Pro-Chem, we manufacture our sanitizers on demand if it is a large order. We also try not keep a large amount of stock. All of our sanitizers are kept in cool, dark and air-conditioned rooms.

Q: Do alcohol sanitizers need to be notified and approved by Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM)?

A: Hand sanitizer that are being sold in the market need to get approval from Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia. Users are encouraged to refer to NPRA to check whether the product is approved to be used.

We hope that this short post is useful for your future choice making of purchasing hand sanitizers.