Woman wearing a mask applying hand sanitizer to her hand.

It’s Just Sanitizer – Isn’t it?

All sanitizers are not created equal – how to make the right choice for your facility


Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more companies than ever before have been producing and selling hand sanitizers. With so many new brands on the market, it’s important to choose a product that kills germs effectively, and is both pleasant and safe to use.

Read this must-know information to help choose the right product for your facility:


Alcohol is the Key Ingredient

When choosing a hand sanitizer, look for one that’s alcohol-based and check its alcohol content. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are the most effective at killing germs and have undergone more stringent testing than non-alcohol-based formulas.

When it comes to the percentage of alcohol in a hand sanitizer, Health Canada recommends using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to help stop the spread of germs.

There are two different kinds of alcohol, called ethanol, found in hand sanitizer -- technical and food-grade. In spring 2020, Health Canada approved the use of tech-grade hand sanitizers in place of the food-grade sanitizers many of us are familiar with, as supplies to produce the latter have run low.  What’s the difference? Tech-grade ethanol is a stronger type of alcohol than food-grade and requires a case-by-case evaluation by Health Canada to ensure that the product is effective and safe for use. Tech-grade sanitizers are also required to have warning labels saying they should be used by adults and are not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. To ensure you're getting a safe product, the number one thing to look for when selecting a tech-grade sanitizer is that it's been approved by Health Canada.


The Not-So-Secret Formula to Effective Hand Hygiene

It’s no secret that formula makes a big difference when it comes to the products we use to keep us safe and hand sanitizers are no exception. Look for hand sanitizers that will not only kill germs but are also pleasant for people to use. These could include sanitizers with moisturizing ingredients, fragrance-free sanitizers, or sanitizers with perfumes added to mask the smell of stronger alcohols. Bunzl’s product experts can provide you with a wide range of options to choose from.


Proper Application: When and How

Hand sanitizers should primarily be used when soap and water are not readily available for proper handwashing. Hand sanitizers are great on the go, but should not be used on hands with visible dirt on them as it will not effectively clean them.

When it comes to the how-to’s of hand hygiene, it’s common to hear about proper hand washing techniques, but not about proper hand sanitizer usage. When using hand sanitizer, follow these two simple steps to get the most out of the product:

  1. Use just enough hand sanitizer to coat hands including fingertips, thumbs and in between fingers. Using more will not kill germs more effectively and will use more product than necessary.


  2. Rub hands together for 15-20 seconds to allow the hand sanitizer to dry.


Download our Healthy Workplace Communications Kit for our printable Hand Sanitizing Guide.


Look for DIN Registration

Drug Identification Numbers, or DIN, are given to products that have undergone and passed a review by Health Canada. Hand sanitizers that are DIN-registered have been tested for effectiveness and user safety – products without DIN registration should be avoided!


Buy from Trusted Brands and Suppliers

With the drastic increase in the number of companies producing hand sanitizer over the last seven months, it’s important to purchase reputable brands and work with trusted suppliers that thoroughly vet both the manufacturer and the product before offering them for sale.


Our team of cleaning and hygiene experts can help you select hand sanitizers that are safe and effective for any facility. Contact us to learn more.