What type of disinfectant to choose to prevent viral infections?

What is the right type of disinfectant for viral infections?

When choosing a disinfectant to prevent viral infections, it is important to consider some properties of the product. It should not be confused with an antibacterial. Here we tell you more about it.

With all the commotion caused by the coronavirus issue worldwide, many people went to pharmacies and supermarkets to buy gels and other disinfectant products. In fact, high demand and scarcity have considerably raised the prices of these products . However, are we choosing the right type of disinfectant?

Currently, there is a wide variety of antibacterial gel forms on the market that provide an alternative when there is no way to wash your hands with soap and water. However, as its name implies, they have the function of eliminating or inhibiting the growth of bacteria.

Therefore, considering that Covid-19 is a virus, most likely, many are making a mistake in choosing and using these products . Which is the best option? What should we consider? In the next space we detail it.

What is the right type of disinfectant for viral infections?

isinfectant for viral infections?
“When it comes to viral infections, the option we should choose when acquiring a hand sanitizer is one that has viricidal activity.

There is more than one type of disinfectant gel on the market. However, after the alert that was generated in many countries by the spread of Covid-19, responsible for the coronavirus , this product began to run out in almost all its presentations. Even, its sale price is has reached unusual figures.

The downside is that many people are unaware that not all disinfectants work in case of viruses. What’s more, most gels are antibacterial and are useless as a preventive for this type of infection. Thus, both conventional gels, as well as those that are perfumed, shiny and similar, are classified as ineffective.

So what should be our option? In an interview for the newspaper La Vanguardia EspaƱola , the pharmacist Mar Sieira, who is also the founder of the skin care firm Sarah Becquer, explains that, in the case of coronavirus, the ideal is a product with viricidal capacity.

The antibacterial gel has the function of repelling bacteria or preventing them from growing excessively. Therefore, in the case of viral infections, they should not be an option. To inactivate viruses, such as Covid-19 , it is necessary to use gels with at least 70% alcohol, which have viricidal properties.

Specifically, to act effectively against viruses, it must contain ethanol. Said substance, according to Sieira,

It has a stronger and broader viricidal activity compared to other types of alcohols such as propanoles. Its viricidal activity spectrum is 95%, but often covers most clinically relevant viruses.

How to choose a good disinfectant?

When it comes to preventing viral infections , the general recommendation is to take a few minutes to read the product label. There, it should be specified that, in addition to being antibacterial, it is also viricidal. In addition, the manufacturer must show the registration number of the Evaluation Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) that supports its quality.

Viricidal activity can also be checked on the label in compliance with the UNE EN 14476 standard. If you do not have this information, it is probably a bactericidal but not viricidal disinfectant. Its fair price ranges between 3.5 and 5 euros for every 100 ml.

Disinfectants are an option in the absence of soap and water


There are useful disinfectants to clean your hands when you can’t go to the sink. However, whenever possible, the best option is to use soap and water.

According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the best method to prevent the spread of infection and reduce the risk of disease is to wash your hands with soap and water. If for some reason this is not possible, an option is the use of hand sanitizer.

However, keep in mind that these products do not kill all types of germs and are also not the best option if your hands are visibly dirty . Anyway, if the appropriate presentation is used for each case (bactericidal or viricidal), it can help.

Therefore, entities such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to work to ensure that hand sanitizers that are sold over the counter meet quality standards and can be used safely frequently.

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