With hygiene taking center stage in our daily routines, sanitizers have become indispensable. While alcohol-based sanitizers are commonly used, there are also alcohol-free alternatives that offer effective sanitization. But how are these made? Let's explore the formula and manufacturing process of alcohol-free sanitizers.
The Basic Formula
Alcohol-free sanitizers typically contain these primary ingredients:
Active Ingredient: Benzalkonium chloride is often used as the active ingredient in alcohol-free sanitizers, offering germ-killing power.
Water: Serves as the base of the solution.
Thickening Agent: This helps to give the sanitizer a gel-like consistency. Commonly used agents include carbomers or acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer.
Humectant: Ingredients like glycerin or aloe vera are used to prevent the skin from drying out.
Optional Additives: These may include essential oils for fragrance, and a skin conditioner to enhance skin feel.
The Manufacturing Process
Here's the general process involved in producing alcohol-free hand sanitizer:
1. Mixing Water and Thickening Agent
Initially, the thickening agent is dispersed in water. The mixture is then heated and stirred until the agent is fully hydrated, which can take several hours.
2. Preparing the Active Ingredient
While the thickening agent hydrates, the active ingredient (benzalkonium chloride) is prepared. This usually involves diluting it with water to achieve the desired concentration.
3. Merging the Mixtures
Once the thickening agent is fully hydrated, the active ingredient mixture is added slowly under continuous stirring.
4. Adding Humectant and Optional Additives
Next, the humectant and any optional additives, such as essential oils or skin conditioners, are added to the mixture and stirred until well incorporated.
5. Quality Control
The finished product undergoes testing to ensure it meets the requisite standards for effectiveness, safety, and consistency.
The final step involves filling the product into bottles, followed by capping, labeling, and preparation for distribution.
Though the manufacturing process of alcohol-free sanitizer is slightly more complex than its alcohol-based counterpart, the end result is a product that's effective and often gentler on the skin.