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Soap vs Alcohol vs Copper: A breakdown of hand sanitising products

By Zoono Sponsored | 2 December 2020

Header image courtesy of @matthew_tkocz (via Unsplash)

Maintaining good hand hygiene has never been more at the forefront of our minds than the way it has this year. We greet people without shaking hands, avoid holding onto train handgrips and poles (even at the risk of an unsightly crash onto strangers!), and above all else, we sanitise our hands like our life depends on it (and it does).

Yet, it’s important to know that not all hand sanitising products are created equal. With the market of sanitising solutions booming worldwide and an ever-growing number of options on the shelves, all the unpronounceable chemicals ingredients and properties can get a little overwhelming. To make things easier for you, we’ve consulted with Zoono on the different types of hand sanitising products in the market, breaking things down for you one by one so that you can be well-equipped to make careful and informed purchasing decisions.

Photo credit: cottonbro (via Pexels)

Hand soaps

It goes without saying that handwashing should be a regular part of your daily routine. Whether it’s after using the toilet or before handling food, a good old scrub with soap and water is a tried-and-true way to get rid of nasty germs. You will find that some hand soaps on the market have added antibacterial properties, but research shows that plain old soap is just as effective—just make sure you rub your lathered hands for the full recommended 20 seconds before giving them a thorough rinse and drying off.

The science behind the use of hand soaps is simple: Soap is an emulsifier that breaks down the fatty membrane enveloping viruses. In combination with friction, it lifts up dirt and microorganisms from the skin. Combined with running water, all the harmful germs are washed down the drain. Hand soaps are undoubtedly effective, but the main caveat is that they must be used in combination with running water, which is not always readily available when you’re out and about.

Photo credit: Anna Shvets (via Pexels)

Alcohol-based hand sanitiser

Convenient and portable, bottled hand sanitisers have become essential to us for maintaining good hand hygiene when handwashing is not possible. Your run-of-the-mill hand sanitiser is typically formulated with either ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, or a combination of the two. Both eliminate germs by the same mechanism of breaking down the protein that keeps pathogens intact, rendering them harmless.

But if you’ve ever used alcohol-based hand sanitisers before, you know how they zap your skin of moisture, leaving it susceptible to cracking and flaking, especially with frequent application. Yet, there is little way around it, as alcohol is inherently drying and alcohol-based hand sanitisers require 60 percent to 95 percent alcohol concentration to be effective. Don’t even think about saving your skin by opting for a highly diluted formula!

Photo credit: @kellysikkema (via Unsplash)

Antiseptic wipes

Another popular on-the-go sanitising option is antiseptic wipes, which typically contain an active disinfecting ingredient like chlorhexidine, povidone-iodine, hydrogen peroxide, or alcohol to eliminate germs while wiping away dirt and grime (no, baby wipes won’t do the trick).

Antiseptic wipes are great for visibly soiled and sticky hands, as well as for cleansing minor cuts and scrapes, but users must be careful not to use the wipe on multiple surfaces, otherwise, you actually run the risk of contaminating and spreading germs to surroundings areas instead of disinfecting them! And if your wipes show signs of drying out, chuck them in the bin—they are ineffective without moisture!

Photo credit: Alex Tepetidis (via Pexels)

Copper anti-microbial bar

Copper has been known for its antimicrobial properties since ancient times, used by the Egyptians to sterilise drinking water and the Romans for medicinal purposes. It’s why you often find copper on high-contact surfaces like hospital doorknobs and handles. Some companies have gone on to manufacture solid hand-held bars of copper that claim to zap germs without synthetic chemicals or even a drop of water. It sounds like magic, but could hand sanitising really be as easy as holding a bar of copper?

It’s true that copper ions naturally break down bacteria and viruses by disrupting their structural integrity upon contact, but it takes up to several hours to complete the deed—you might as well wait until the next time you use the restroom. Not to mention, you’ll have a hard time trying to rub the solid copper bar into all the nooks and crannies of your hands.

Long-lasting, alcohol-free hand-sanitiser

With so many factors to consider, finding a safe, non-drying, and effective hand sanatiser to protect you and your family can be a real challenge. Luckily, necessity is the mother of all invention, and one trusty brand that checks all the boxes and will last throughout the day is Zoono, whose products have been scientifically proven to be effective against 99.9 percent of germs, including the novel COVID-19.

Unlike traditional liquid hand sanitisers that actively eliminates germs only when wet (and lose their function once the product dries), Zoono uses state-of-the-art long-lasting, antimicrobial technology to keep the nasties at bay for 24 hours! Because let’s be honest—as much as we all know the importance of keeping your hands clean, it’s a nuisance having to reapply hand sanitiser every time you touch a doorknob or handrail. With Zoono, you only need one application to be set for the whole day—even with regular hand washing in-between.

How is it possible? Thanks to an exclusive formula made with a quaternary ammonium compound, Zoono forms an invisible coating that clings on the surface of your skin and stays active for a full 24 hours. The protective layer is charged with microscopic “spikes” that rupture and kill the even the toughest disease-causing pathogens upon contact—it’s essentially the same principle as pin-popping a balloon. By using mechanical rather than chemical means to kill pathogens, you don’t have to worry about germs developing resistance to and turning into superbugs, either.

Our hands are our primary tools and it’s imperative that we give them the TLC they deserve. So when choosing a hand sanitiser, what’s equally paramount to a product’s antibacterial efficacy is how it treats your hands. Despite the harsh side-effects of most conventional hand sanitisers, it is possible to get rid of germs without wreaking havoc on your skin. The scientists at Zoono have perfected a water-based, non-toxic, and environmentally-friendly formula that’s tough on germs but ultra-gentle on hands. Free of fragrance and alcohol, Zoono has been dermatologically tested to be suitable even for those with dry, sensitive skin. So say goodbye to parched hands and hello to clean, fresh-feeling mitts!


Zoono revolutionises and derives a new concept of disinfection and sterilisation to comprehensively protect the health of humans, homes, and business environments. Produced in New Zealand, Zoono’s long-acting antimicrobial lasts for up to 30 days, while personal products can last for up to 24 hours. Zoono has been tested by authoritative laboratories and can be used safely on animals, pregnant women, and people in general. It is now sold in more than 40 countries.