Choosing the right hand disinfectant for the right occasion -Why EN tests are important!

A dispenser with hand sanitizer

1th of May 2023

Over the past few years of infection spread and the hard work to reduce it, many of us have likely tried different types of hand sanitizers. We all have our favorites, but perhaps we have also tried some that we found to be less effective. Many in the hygiene industry say that the best hand sanitizer is the one that does its job and is actually used where it is needed. But how do you know which one to choose?

There are large and small packaging options, well-known and unknown brands, bottles, containers, pumps, and everything in between. The truth is, today there are so many options to choose from that you can afford to be picky and select what suits your specific needs and business best. Many believe that it all comes down to the alcohol concentration, but there's much more to consider, and that's why alcohol percentage alone is not easy for a layperson to rely on. A good starting point is to ensure that the hand sanitizer you purchase is approved according to the EU standard EN1500, which means that it kills a sufficient number of microorganisms to be called a hygienic hand disinfectant. The next step is to think about how high your hygiene requirements are. If you work in healthcare or care services, you may need a hand sanitizer that is approved for surgical use according to the EU standard EN12791.

Other common EU standards for hand sanitization include EN13727, which demonstrates effectiveness against bacteria, EN13624 against yeast cells, and the one that has perhaps been the most talked-about in recent years - EN14476, which aims to ensure that the hand sanitizer is effective against enveloped viruses, including Corona. If a hand sanitizer is not approved in the EN tests that are important for your business, it is less suitable to choose it. The Biocidal Regulation is also so clear and strict that suppliers are not allowed to claim that their product works against something for which it has not been approved according to the EU standard. In return, suppliers are often good at providing accurate information about their products. If one of these tests is not presented in connection with the product you are reading about, it probably does not pertain to that specific product. This is an important safety measure for you as a customer to be aware of!

Finally, it is also important to choose the right consistency. Who hasn't been surprised when trying hand sanitizers that have been much more runny or thicker than expected? It may be annoying, but there is a reason for the significant difference. When a hand sanitizer contains thickening agents, it can leave residues on the hands, which makes it difficult to put on gloves, especially in healthcare or the food industry. If you need to use hand sanitizer multiple times without washing your hands in between, a layer of thickener builds up, which can become a breeding ground for bacteria. That's why the healthcare industry widely uses hand sanitizers without thickeners. However, a hand sanitizer with a thickener may be more suitable in most other industries since it is easier to dispense and distribute on hands without running off. So dare to be selective when choosing hand sanitizers, as it can bring added value to your business!