Alcohol wipes make comeback amid Covid-19 outbreak

KUALA LUMPUR, 10 April 2020:

Alcohol-laced wet wipes used to be the rage many years ago – but concerns over breathing in the fast-evaporating fumes and religious sensitivities led to these being phased out for other chemical and organic disinfecting agents. Given the popularity of these wet wipes being used to clean babies and also remove makeup, soothing agents were added to make these really mild to skin contact.

But the ongoing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has seen a resurgence of demand for harsher wet wipes capable of strong disinfecting properties and Singapore-based Alcosm Pte Ltd has now introduced here its 75% alcohol concentration wet wipes with the mantra that there is such a thing as too high alcohol content when it comes to sanitising.

However, emergency physician Dr Abdullah Asad Saddiqui begs to differ. “While I believe that soap and water work best together in destroying the virus, alcohol-based sanitisers work well too in situations where soap and water are not available.

“I also believe that too high an alcohol content in sanitisers may be counterintuitive. This is because the coronavirus is a single cell virus wrapped in a coat of protein.

“Alcohols such as ethanol alcohol or isopropyl alcohol can kill the virus that lands on surfaces such as the skin and personal belongings by destroying the protein layer then getting into the cell. Given that alcohol evaporates fast, too high an alcohol content may not provide enough time for the protein wall to be destroyed.”

Explaining that too little alcohol may not be adequate in killing the virus. he said: “Alcohol content of between 70% and 75% has been found to be most effective in killing microbes.”

In a statement, Alcosm co-founder and managing director Tai Zi Kang said: “We are very stringent about following the well researched World Health Organisation recommendation of keeping the alcohol content to 75% in order to make sanitising effective for our consumers.

“As much as we clean or sanitise our hands, personal belongings such as handbags, handphones, keyboards, purses, steering wheels and wallets are often overlooked.

“Laboratory tests of personal belongings such as handbags and handphones have shown that they contain more germs than toilet seats. Hence, at a time when the world is experiencing a pandemic, we would like to make sanitising of hands and personal belongings more convenient by producing wipes.”

To meet the demand from the Malaysian market, Alcosm is delivering 500,000 packs of the alcohol wipes to more than 1,500 convenience stores, supermarkets and pharmacies in the country through its distributors. Online orders can also be made at