Proper maintenance of personal hygiene plays an integral part in the battle against COVID-19. For achieving this, hand sanitisers and masks stand crucial. And now personal hygiene being a necessity, these products are the need of the hour. Owing to its scarcity, fake products have flooded the market hampering the effectiveness of the sanitiser, risking thousands of lives. But, don’t worry because there is a way to check the quality of your sanitiser.
*Tissue paper roll (toilet paper)
*Ballpoint pen – Ensure the ballpoint pen you use for performing this test is not water washable. Do not use a gel or ink pen.
*Anything with which you can draw a small circle, such as a coin or even the cap of your sanitiser bottle works just fine.
*Half cup of wheat flour
*Some plates and bowls
The Tissue Paper or Toilet Paper Test
*Take a small piece of tissue paper and keep it on a flat surface. Ensure you do not make a thick wad of the tissue paper as the sanitiser should defuse sideways only and not down into the tissue paper.
*Use a ballpoint pen and draw a circle properly on the paper by outlining a coin or the cap of the hand sanitiser bottle. Make sure the line is continuous, thick and neat.
*Place a few drops of the hand sanitiser liquid or gel in the middle of the circle. Be careful not to pour too much sanitiser that it overruns the line, nor should it be too little that it doesn’t diffuse past the line.
*Let the hand sanitiser slowly diffuse and move out of the circle. The liquid sanitiser will diffuse almost instantly while the gel-based will take some time.
*Repeat this process with a little bit of water to see how a fake sanitiser without alcohol behaves.
If the sanitiser contains sufficient amount of alcohol, you will notice that the line you had carved with the ballpoint pen will dissolve in the sanitiser and the colour starts to spread wide. However, if the sanitiser does not accommodate the required amount of alcohol, the line will not be disintegrate and the sanitiser will just go past the line without any change.
How does it work?
This simple test can be determined on the principle of paper chromatography. The ink which is utilised in water-resistant ballpoint pen does not diffuse in water but very quickly dissolves in alcohol. This causes the ink to flow along the way of the diffusing sanitiser and spread out. If the alcohol content is distinctively less, the solubility of the ink is not sufficient and the line remains unchanged.
The Wheat Flour Dough Test
*Take one tablespoon of wheat flour on a plate. You can also take maize or other flour that instantly can be formed into a dough with water.
*Add one tablespoon of the sanitiser you want to test. Do not add excess sanitiser.
*Knead the flour and the sanitiser together to make a dough.
If the sanitiser includes excess amount of water, the flour will quickly become sticky and eventually turn into a dough. If it contains the right amount of alcohol, the flour will not become sticky and remain as a powder and eventually the sanitiser will dry up.
How does it work?
This test is based on a very easy fact that flour requires water for the gluten and carbohydrates to swell and become sticky and turn into dough. Alcohol, meanwhile, competes with the gluten and carbohydrates for the water molecules thereby, not allowing them to hydrate and become sticky. It is an extremely sensitive test and can easily detect samples with 60 per cent or less of alcohol.