The Growth of Disinfectants and Sanitizers
The demand for disinfectant wipes, sprays, and hand sanitizer has exploded since the advent of COVID-19. Researchers estimate that the market for alcohol-based hand washes will grow at 22.6 CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) between now and 2027, more than tripling in size.
Disinfectant wipes are disposable cleaning items that destroy bacteria, fungi, and viruses within ten minutes of application. Vendors manufacture them for “hard surfaces” such as medical tools, furniture, sideboards, cupboards, etc.
Disinfectant wipes are safe for electronics. Their wetness comes from alcohol, not water, so they do not conduct electricity. (Alcohol cannot form ions, so cannot create a circuit).
Disinfectant wipes for electronics are important. A study from the University of Arizona found that the typical employee desk had many hundreds of times more bacteria lurking on it than toilets in the same building. iPhones, computer keyboards, and mice are all vectors for infection because they come into close contact with hands.
Wipes for hands and surfaces provide incredible convenience. These products like these are useful for medical settings that want to simplify their hygiene protocols. Having a single disinfectant wipe product that is suitable for every situation improves efficiency and reduces training times.
Sometimes organizations find it convenient to install disinfectant wipe dispensers. These permit quick access to fresh wipes without having to open and close packaging. You can get these in both wall-mounted and standalone versions. You can also get resealable disinfectant wipes that last longer in low-volume environments.
In some cases, disinfectant wipes might be the most effective way to eliminate disease-causing pathogens from a surface. The reasons are behavioral. People tend to leave disinfectant wipes to air-dry, allowing them to remain in contact with viruses for longer, potentially killing them.
Disinfectant sprays work by aerosolizing liquid disinfectants so that they cover a target area thoroughly. Manufacturers will often recommend these products for hard surfaces, but some can work on materials and fabrics as well.
Disinfectant sprays use different chemical technology to kill viruses. Some, like wipes, rely on alcohol. These are mainly for situations where the spray’s target is likely to contact the skin. Others use bleach or quaternary ammonium, which tend to be a little rougher on the skin but are more deadly to viral particles. The best disinfectants use chlorine dioxide technology, which we describe below.
The type of disinfectant spray you buy depends on the setting.
- Office disinfectant spray: Office disinfectant spray is available in bulk to lower costs. Businesses buy big storage bottles and then decant them into hand-held spray containers or dispensing machines. The best office disinfectant sprays use chlorine dioxide, which disinfects without producing hazardous byproducts. Sprayed areas do not require rinsing --the solution kills viral particles and then evaporates without leaving smears or stains.
- Home disinfectant spray: Given the current situation, home disinfectant sprays are evolving. Many companies are now offering consumers “commercial strength” domestic versions that use the same chlorine dioxide disinfectant technology. Often, the required contact time to kill viruses is just one to ten minutes. And sprays are suitable for a wide range of surfaces in the home environment, including sinks, appliances, handrails, chairs, countertops, desktops, textiles, and walls.
- Commercial-strength disinfectant spray: Commercial outfits need sprays that they can rely on to provide safe disinfectant action. Many chlorine dioxide-based products on the market today kill up to 99.99 percent of infectious pathogens, including coronaviruses, flu, staph, MRSA, strep, Ebola, and more.
Hand sanitizer is fast becoming the preferred method of infection control thanks to its convenience, low cost, and effectiveness.
Alcohol is the active ingredient in all hand sanitizers. Concentrations above 60 percent for ethyl alcohol (and 70 percent for isopropyl alcohol) denature the lipid membrane surrounding virus particles, causing the virus to die.
The CDC currently recommends using hand sanitizer in situations where regular soap and water are not available. It is helpful in the home, while traveling on public transport, in retail outlets, coffee shops, restaurants, fuel stations, and amusement parks. And because it is so easy to use, it may encourage additional handwashing, above and beyond what people might do if only soap and water were available.
Many organizations are investing in portable hand sanitizer stations. These are essentially public service amenities that allow staff, guests, and patrons to conveniently and rapidly self-administer hand hygiene. Users simply press on a panel that squeezes a pouch in the sanitizer, pushing out a blob that they can then use to sanitize their hands.
Organizations frequently place these stations in high-throughput areas, such as lobbies, lifts, and entryways. Stations come with helpful signage encouraging passers-by to stop and wash their hands before progressing further into the building's interior.
You can also get hand sanitizer in gallon size. Buying in bulk helps lower costs while also providing a convenient way to store liquid until you require it.
Organizations, however, need to be careful when choosing a hand-sanitizer. Often brands contain ingredients that could potentially aggravate the skin or create safety issues. For instance, many vendors are trying to add value by adding fragrances to their sanitizers in the hope that such additions will encourage use. However, scents may not be appropriate in clinical or commercial settings and could produce adverse reactions.
Other hand sanitizers contain high concentrations of parabens. Some researchers believe that these carbon-based compounds can disrupt hormones by mimicking estrogen, potentially encouraging cell division and leading to tumors. High paraben exposure is associated with reproductive issues and breast cancer.
Lastly, some hand sanitizers contain high methanol levels - also called wood alcohol. This substance can cause blindness and death if ingested, and it also leads to skin dryness and can sometimes result in painful and itchy dermatitis, discouraging use.