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No evidence alcohol-free hand sanitisers effective against COVID-19: CHOICE

Alcohol-free hand sanitisers can kill common bacteria, but will not protect you from COVID-19.

Today CHOICE is issuing advice for people to be wary of alcohol-free hand sanitisers, as there's no evidence they are effective against COVID-19. 

"After CHOICE found a hand sanitiser without enough alcohol to be effective against COVID-19, our members asked us to look at whether any alcohol-free options would work. The simple answer is no," says CHOICE Managing Editor Marg Rafferty.

For hand sanitiser to be effective when it comes to killing COVID-19, it must contain between 60% and 80% alcohol, depending on the type of alcohol. Products that say they adhere to the World Health Organisation formula should contain at least 80% ethanol or 75% isopropyl alcohol.

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"While alcohol-free sanitisers can be effective at killing common bacteria, you shouldn't rely on them to protect you from COVID-19. For protection against coronavirus you need to use a hand sanitiser that contains between 60% and 80% alcohol," says Rafferty.

"If you're out and about and there's nowhere to wash your hands, and you can't use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, an alcohol-free sanitiser is not recommended as an alternative. One of the experts we spoke to suggested filling a drink bottle with water and detergent and using it to thoroughly wash your hands when there are no bathroom facilities available, rather than using alcohol-free sanitiser," says Rafferty. 

If you are buying hand sanitiser, here's how to help ensure your purchase contains enough alcohol to be effective against COVID-19: 

- Check the alcohol percentage - hand sanitiser should be made up of 60-80% alcohol to be effective against coronavirus. 

- Pay attention to how the sanitiser feels on your hands. If it's sticky and doesn't evaporate off your hands quickly, it may not have the appropriate amount of alcohol needed to kill the virus. 

- If your hand sanitiser doesn't smell of alcohol or feel cool on your skin, be wary. 

- Steer clear of hand sanitisers that only state they kill bacteria or germs, as this doesn't mean that they will be effective against COVID-19. 


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Media contact: Katelyn Cameron,, 0430 172 669
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