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Choice urges consumers to stop buying alcohol-free hand sanitisers

Consumer advocacy group Choice has warned consumers there is “no evidence” that alcohol-free hand sanitisers are effective against combatting Covid-19.

The organisation advised consumers to use sanitisers that contain between 60 per cent and 80 per cent alcohol. This also depends on what type of alcohol it is – either 80 per cent ethanol or 75 per cent isopropyl alcohol, as advised by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“While alcohol-free sanitisers can be effective at killing common bacteria, you shouldn’t rely on them to protect you from Covid-19,” said Choice managing editor Marg Rafferty.

Choice’s warning may prompt grocery retailers to review their range of sanitisers and take action to highlight to customers the products which meet WHO guidelines.

She added that when consumers go out and there is no sink to wash their hands, alcohol-based hand sanitisers should be used. An expert Choice consulted advised consumers to fill a drinking bottle with water and detergent and use it to thoroughly wash your hands when there are no bathroom facilities available, rather than using alcohol-free sanitiser. 

She advised shoppers should to always check the alcohol percentage and warned that if the liquid is sticky, the sanitiser will not quickly evaporate from the hands to kill the virus.

“Choose a product that smells like alcohol and is cool on the skin,” she urged.

Shoppers should stay away from buying products that state only that they kill bacteria or germs because this does not automatically mean it can kill coronavirus.

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