After returning home from outside during the lockdown, we wash our hands repeatedly with hand sanitizer, even when at home. I rely more on soap or water to get rid of disinfectants. Physicians are repeatedly emphasizing the use of hand disinfectants.
But why the importance of disinfection has grown so much in this situation?
To understand this, one must first know that sanitizers are usually made with some chemicals, and what is the role of those chemicals in disinfection?
Sanitizers are usually made of three types of chemicals. Ethyl alcohol or ethanol. Or, isopropyl alcohol. Another name is isopropanol. Or, benzalkonium chloride. The three chemicals dissolve the water very quickly, so they are so much appreciated as handmade ingredients.
Ethyl alcohol or ethanol is mainly used to make sanitizers. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
But most of the time, ethyl alcohol or ethanol is used to make handwashing. Which is one of the major components of various types of alcohol. That’s what we call alcohol. Ethyl alcohol alone, any kind of alcohol can kill or inactivate our various pathogenic bacteria and viruses. By breaking down proteins of bacteria and viruses. Bacteria or viruses can break down all the cells in our body that are in the car slowly, causing them to break down into alcohol. Sometimes it also alters the metabolism of the cell.
According to a study published in International Science Journal ‘Clinical Microbiology Reviews’, 23, if a mixture contains at least 5 percent alcohol, it can become disinfected. The higher the concentration of alcohol in that mixture, the more effective the mixture becomes. If the concentration of alcohol in the mixture rises to more than 4 percent, it can kill or completely inactivate many types of bacteria and viruses. Not only that, as the concentration of alcohol increases, the mixture can accelerate the process of disinfection. The mixture is effective in disinfection until the concentration of alcohol increases from 1 to 5 percent. After that however, the mixing power does not have that much.
There is another important aspect of alcohol. If it kills any bacteria, the bacteria cannot develop their immune system against that alcohol even after long use. As a result, in the future alcohol use does not cause the bacteria to die, nor is it feared.
Studies show that using alcohol such as ethanol rather than washing your hands with different types of soap can essentially wipe out three types of bacteria. Their names are ‘Escherichia coli’, ‘Seratia marsensis’ and ‘Staphylococcus saprophyticus’