Experts say soap and water is preferable, but high alcohol sanitiser does work

10 March 2020
What was claimed

Hand sanitiser is effective against Covid-19.

Our verdict

Hand sanitisers with 60% alcohol content and above are effective against viruses, such as the new coronavirus, but soap and water is the best option.

We were asked by one of our readers how effective hand sanitiser is against the new coronavirus. 

Which hand sanitisers work on Covid-19?

The NHS  says you should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid catching or spreading the virus, but that you should use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water aren’t available.  The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Public Health England, specify that hand sanitisers with at least 60% alcohol content are the next best option after soap and water. Sanitisers with lower alcohol content are less effective and according to the CDC, may only slow germ growth, rather than killing it outright.

We’ve seen some people claim that hand sanitisers are not effective against the new coronavirus as they are antibacterial and the new coronavirus is, well, a virus. 

Hand sanitisers do work against viruses. They are effective as the virus that causes Covid-19 has a lipid envelope, which has been proven to be susceptible to sanitisers with a high percentage of alcohol. Hand sanitisers with 60% alcohol are also effective against a broad range of bacteria too.

You can see all the questions we’ve answered so far and we’ll keep adding to it as we get through them. You can also read all of our content on the new coronavirus.

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