Regular hand disinfection is the most effective way to prevent infections. But it makes a difference which product you use to kill the germs that stick to your skin! Below, we'll take a look at the most common and widely used disinfectants and tell you which ones offer the best protection.
Washing hands with soap
Water dissolves a wide range of substances, but it cannot by itself remove protein, oil and grease contaminants. But by adding soap or other detergents (such as Caola's liquid cream soaps), they can be washed off with water! Washing your hands using proper technique is still the safest way to clean them, especially if you dry them with a disposable paper towel rather than a towel.
It is the non-plus ultra of skin disinfectants: it provides complete protection against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, fungi, the causative agent of tuberculosis and all but a few non enveloped viruses. For proper effectiveness, it is important to disinfect with at least 3-5 ml of 60-80% alcohol gel or liquid, and if your hands dry too quickly, in about 15 seconds, you probably did not apply the right amount. It is important to note that alcohol-based hand sanitising is not a substitute for hand washing with soap, as it cannot remove dirt and protein-containing contaminants. Alcohol is the main disinfectant for all members of our Caosept range.
This disinfectant, most often used in mouthwashes and acne preparations, is most effective against Gram-positive bacteria, but also fights Gram-negative bacteria, fungi and some enveloped viruses. However, it is resistant to rotavirus, adenovirus, enteroviruses and tuberculosis pathogens. Its effects are slower to develop than alcohol, but last longer, so it is often combined with alcohol-based disinfectants to maximise effectiveness.
Quaternary ammonium compounds
Very effective against Gram-positive bacteria, but also kills a significant proportion of Gram-negative bacteria and fungi! Even against tuberculosis, quaternary ammonium compounds are not 100% protective, and the virucidal spectrum is quite narrow. As with chlorhexidine, these compounds are commonly used in combination with the alcohol disinfectant, for example, the effect of Caosept disinfectants is enhanced with quaternary ammonium compounds.
So which one is effective?!
If you are unsure which disinfectant to choose, always read the label on the packaging! Manufacturers are obliged to indicate on the bottle exactly what antimicrobial properties the product has (virucidal, fungicidal, bactericidal, tuberculocidal, etc.), so you can easily find out which one protects against which type of pathogen. For example, viral infections (such as covid-19 and its causative agent SARS-CoV-2, which is an enveloped virus!) can be prevented with virucidal disinfectants, bactericidal products protect against most bacterial infections, fungicidal products kill fungi, and tuberculosis can be effectively controlled with tuberculocidal disinfectants.