What Is Benzethonium Chloride? How Does It Work?

Benzethoni- ummm what? Don’t worry, we have a tough time saying it too! Science can be hard… But in all seriousness, Benzethonium Chloride (BZT) is a powerful antibacterial compound that is an approved pharmaceutical ingredient by Health Canada for antiseptic skin cleansers. BZT kills and removes germs by penetrating the cell wall of the bacteria and then separating the lipid membrane. After separation, BZT begins to degrade the bacteria until its presence is eliminated (McDonnell & Russell, 1999). BZT’s ability to effectively remove and kill germs is one of the reasons it has been used in pharmaceutical and personal care products for almost 90 years!

So why is this the first time you are hearing about an alcohol-free Benzethonium Chloride hand sanitizer? Unfortunately, there has been a lack of studies done on BZT based sanitizers, so there has not been enough literature to suggest that BZT is an equal alternative to alcohol. This is changing though! More studies showing BZT’s effectiveness have recently been published and we conducted our own independent study that shows its germ killing ability.

Okay…so how effective is it? Very effective! Our independent study conducted by a third-party microbiology company showed that our BZT based hand sanitizers were just as effective as our 70% alcohol sanitizer, killing 99.999% of 25 different germs and bacteria (Appendix 1). Further support for BZT’s efficacy can be found from studies on Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK) based sanitizers (the U.S version of BZT). According to a 2019 study, a 0.12% Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK) sanitizer was more effective in killing the germ Staphylococcus aureus than a 70% ethanol sanitizer (McKinney, Bondurant, Bondurant, & Fitzpatrick, 2019). BZK has also been shown to provide persistent anti-bacterial protection, another recent study confirmed that a BZK based hand-sanitizer provided continued anti-bacterial activity up to four hours after contact with skin (Bondurant, Duley, & Harbell, 2019). Extended protection from nasty germs and bacteria is always a good thing! 

Another reason why BZT is widely used in personal care products and is great for hand sanitizers is because it is easier on the skin compared to most other skin disinfectants. Unlike alcohol, BZT can be applied directly onto open cuts and wounds, without causing a burning or stinging sensation. If you suffer from dry and cracked skin, this is a lifesaver! No more agonizing pain every time you sanitize your hands. Plus, our Health Canada approved alcohol-free sanitizer moisturizes skin and is dermatologist tested to be non-irritating and hypo allergenic. Using our BZT sanitizer will ensure that your hands are clean, soft, and pain-free every time you apply!

If you have any questions about BZT or our products, please email us at ecological@hunteramenities.com. 

Stay clean and stay healthy friends!

– The Ecological Team

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