By Sam Greaves, MD and fourth generation owner of The Cleenol Group, a manufacturer and supplier of commercial and industrial cleaning and hygiene products
Sales of hand sanitiser soared by 255% in February 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. With recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) to: “Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water”, the global hand sanitiser market has grown exponentially from $1.53 billion in 2019 to an expected $3.04 billion in 2020.
Producers responded quickly by increasing production – here at Cleenol, we managed to increase production by a massive 40%. Despite these efforts, there were points during the first year of the pandemic when buying hand sanitiser was as challenging as finding toilet roll. To help the industry plug the gap in supply, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) started to fast-track applications to produce denatured alcohol, a key ingredient in hand sanitiser, to allow for an influx of new manufacturers.
The UK Government’s Health and safety Executive (HSE) has recently revised this flexibility in a recent bulletin. “In response to the pandemic, HSE took steps to assist industry’s efforts to increase the availability of hand sanitisers to help reduce the spread/transmission of COVID-19. One of these steps was establishing special arrangements to issue critical situation permits that enable short-term derogations from the normal Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) requirements for product authorisation. As these short-term permits begin to approach their expiry dates, HSE has gathered information from a range of stakeholders about the current availability of hand sanitisers on the UK market. The outcome suggests that, whilst there is an ongoing need for hand sanitiser products, current demand can be met by products supplied under the normal arrangements in BPR. This means that the special arrangements for supplying hand sanitiser products, put in place at the beginning of the pandemic, will be discontinued.
The assessment of any ongoing applications made under the current arrangements will be completed. Any hand sanitiser products that have already been granted a permit can continue to be supplied and used until the permit expires”. Quality-assured hand sanitisers increase trust to your business Cleanliness and hygiene have always been an important part of hospitality and care service delivery, but the last two years raised the awareness to new levels. Enter hand sanitisers.
One thing has been abundantly clear – not all hand sanitisers are created equally. The Importance of a High-Quality Hand Sanitiser Recalls and authority alerts for hand sanitisers containing methanol, rather than ethanol became almost common place. So, what do you need to look for in a high-quality hand sanitiser?
There are two major considerations here: efficacy of the product and making the experience pleasant for the user. Product Efficacy Alcohol content: The WHO and America’s CDC recommend hand sanitisers with at least 60% alcohol content. Many quality manufacturers contain 70%, Cleenol’s included, which kills all enveloped viruses within 60 seconds.
Quality testing To be sure that the hand sanitiser you are buying is fit for purpose, you can check that it has been tested against European Standards (EN). The relevant standards are: BS EN 1500 for Hygienic Hand rubs, BS EN 1276 for killing 99.999% of bacteria and BS EN 14476 for killing 99.99% of enveloped viruses (coronaviruses are an example of enveloped viruses). Beyond the effectiveness of the hand sanitiser, the customer experience should be considered.
The Product Experience in your hand Viscosity Some hand sanitisers can be very runny and if you are dispensing in a public place, can easily run off the hands onto the floor creating a slip hazard, or run down your sleeve. Either way, the experience is less satisfying for consumers and so may be avoided, increasing the risk of cross-contamination.
After effects Some hand sanitisers leave your hands feeling sticky, a sensation most people dislike. Again, if consumers don’t like how it feels, they’re less likely to continue to use the hand sanitiser, increasing your risk. Consider a hand sanitiser that includes a moisturising agent, such as Cleenol’s Medisan 70% Alcohol Hand Sanitiser which contains glycerine. Smell If you’re serving food, this will be of particular concern, as smell directly contributes to taste. If you provide a hand sanitiser that has a strong chemical smell that lingers, it can be unpleasant and alter the dining experience.
Ultimately, you want to find a highly effective hand sanitiser to protect your business, staff and patrons whilst improving the customer experience, to benefit from customer trust, ongoing loyalty and repeat business. Different hand sanitisers on the market: alcohol-free hand sanitisers vs. 70% alcohol hand sanitisers News reports had put in doubt the efficacy of alcohol-free hand sanitisers.
However Cleenol, with decades of experience in the cleaning industry, recognises that both alcohol-based and alcohol-free hand sanitisers have their place, with advantages and disadvantages to both. Cleenol originally started developing alcohol-free hand sanitiser to satisfy a rapidly growing customer base in the Middle East, where the use of alcohol-based products is not permitted for those observing the Islam faith. Cleenol’s alcohol-free hand sanitiser is certified as Halal by the Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC). Demand for alcohol-free hand sanitisers also grew in hospitals, care homes, prisons and schools with young children or students with special educational needs and disabilities.
Alcohol-free hand sanitiser is more suitable for dry skin, and the risk of accidental ingestion of harmful quantities is low due to the relatively low toxicity of the active substances. Active ingredients could include Didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC) or Benzalkonium chloride (BKC), which are both members of the quaternary ammonium compound (QAC) family of disinfectants. You would have to ingest a large amount of these before any ill effects were felt.
Additionally, alcohol-free sanitiser can provide long-lasting protection from bacteria and viruses. As it dries, it leaves a protective layer on your skin which acts as a shield, protecting you for up to four hours. What we do know in our post COVID world, is that hand hygiene – washing your hands regularly and using sanitisers where water isn’t readily available are strong defence mechanisms against future spread of disease. What’s more important is that we continue to seek out the trusted manufacturers to avoid creating more harm than good in our desire to stay safe.
Cleenol is a leading manufacturer and supplier of quality cleaning and hygiene products. The independent family-owned and run company celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2023 and can even trace its roots to the early 1700s.
The fourth-generation family business – based in Banbury, Oxfordshire – has established a strong reputation for its Lift and British Nova brands, Evolution super concentrates and for its ability to produce high quality private label products. Also an exporter to more than 40 countries, Cleenol boasts a varied client portfolio including local authorities, Government departments and appointed distributors throughout the UK and worldwide, as well as wholesalers and stockists in a range of marketplaces.
The sectors it supplies to include cleaning and FM, hospitality, laundry, hotels and housekeeping, manufacturing, construction and flooring contractors, automotive and transport, tourism and leisure, education, healthcare and hairdressing.