The Making Of: Our Alcoholic Surface Cleanser - A Note From Our Founder
I had never been the type of person to carry hand sanitizer with me, instead preferring to use the traditional method of soap and warm water. However, by the end of February I became introduced to the necessity of sanitizer beyond a trendy keyring accessory. By that time, I had come across a few people who had suffered from the flu. Because we shared props in my yoga class, using hand sanitizer became essential. Due to COVID -19, our instructor faced difficulty in procuring sanitizers from local shops. That time, I suggested that she try using rubbing alcohol instead. Since I had few cosmetic ingredients on hand, I thought about making a gel for her. I stopped by a few shops to buy rubbing alcohol only to realize that none was available at local stores. As many of you may empathize, I have had trouble finding not only hand sanitizer but also liquid hand soaps, given the sudden surge in demand.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of Pennsylvania has issued stay at home orders, so I try to run multiple errands on the same day if and when I leave home. I have become more conscious about cleaning my hands and surfaces like door handles, carts, mailboxes etc. During my first trip, as I drove from one grocery shop to the post office then onto another grocery shop, in that time I discarded two pairs of gloves and a few compostable wet wipes, all of which are also currently in short supply. This is when I realized the need for an effective and easy to use hand-held cleanser, which will keep me safe and allow me to cleanse objects such as handles, packages, and personal protective gear at home and on the go.
Speaking to my fellow pharmaceutical scientists who are serving in pharmacies and busy working on test kits, vaccines, and clinical trials, they reiterated the same concerns to me. I heard about local distilleries offering their services to create hand sanitizers to supply healthcare workers and law enforcement. This motivated me to find a way in which Sanjeevita could contribute to the health and wellbeing of our customers. I began by researching FDA & EPA requirements regarding the microbial testing standards and registration requirements for hand sanitizers and surface disinfectants. I consulted with microbiology test labs about study designs, costs, and timelines to complete FDA and EPA mandated studies for registration of new hand sanitizers and disinfectants.
Since Jan 2020, the FDA has issued hand sanitizer guidance updates to address supply shortage during the public health emergency. Due to the urgency of the matter at hand, I decided to pursue FDA recommended formulations.
Unlike many alcohol-free hand sanitizers and disinfectants available in the market, the FDA recommended using formulations containing ethanol and isopropanol, both of which are known and established cleansing and sanitizing agents. My preference for these formulations lies in the fact that they are free of antimicrobials that could leave behind potentially unsafe chemical residues such as quaternary ammonium compounds.
Given some logistical hurdles and shipping delays due to the pandemic, I had to wait longer than previously anticipated to receive shipments of raw materials and containers, but I am happy to announce that since then, I was able to procure enough quantities to compound small batches of ethanol based formulation. Based on the material grades I received, I formulated a cleanser instead of a hand sanitizer.
These easy to use spray bottles allow for product to be dispensed by one hand. The fine mist gives a wider coverage zone and discharges smaller volume per spray compared to bottles fitted with flip off caps, so you can get the most out of your liquid cleanser. The fast drying alcohol-based formula is free of added fragrance and leaves behind minimal chemical residue. These features and benefits make this product a perfect choice for use at home as well as on the go. However, due to high alcohol concentration, users should exercise caution to only use it in well ventilated areas and follow label directions to avoid inhalation and contact with eyes.
At Sanjeevita, it has always been our mission to provide products meant to enhance the health and wellbeing of our consumers. While these products usually present themselves in the form of soothing foot balms and deodorants, personal care does not stop there. We hope that with these cleansers in hand, you’ll be able to look after the health of your loved ones. Ideally, it would have been our hope to provide this item for all customers, regardless of location. Due to flammability concerns, alcohol-based formulations are being handled only by private carriers like UPS and FedEx, so at this time the product is only available to our customers living in suburban Philadelphia. However, to our customers and followers located in all corners of the world, please know we are thinking of you and wishing you safe health, always.
Written by Vaishali Ketkar and Gargi Ketkar