João Paulo Amorim de Lacerda, Sandra Souza de Oliveira, Amanda Marcante


The new Coronavirus-Disease (COVID-19) pandemic has increased public awareness about hand hygiene both in-house and in out-of-home situations. As a consequence, there was a shortage of alcohol gel in supermarkets and pharmacies which led to a rise of “alternative brands” and manufacturers for this product in the market. Ethanol is the main active ingredient in hand sanitizer products. For liquid formulas, the use of alcoholmeter is the standard method for quality-control of the ethanol concentration, but for gel products, with high viscosity, this method does not apply. In this paper, it is presented a rapid method for ethanol determination in hand sanitizers (alcohol gel), aiming at the quality-control of this product which is important to assure its efficacy in killing pathogenic microorganisms. The method was applied for seven samples of alcohol gel which showed ethanol mass fraction levels ranging from 53.9 % to 65.3 %, below the alleged content on their label and the recommended concentration for viruses and bacteria inactivation. The use of an ultrasonic bath was proved to be more suitable for sample homogenization rather than hand-shaking. Overall, the method has shown to be rapid and presented good specificity, repeatability, and reproducibility for the proposed application.

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