On November 28, 2020 “The Journal of Hospital Infection” published a study conducted by Brigham Young University testing the efficacy of benzalkonium chloride (FDA approved for use in Hand Sanitizer’s) quaternary ammonium compound, used to disinfect against SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.

In this synopsis we will review the results of the study and examine the impact of the results. The method of testing focused on suspensions containing SARS-CoV-2 virus stocks which were exposed to disinfectants with the active ingredient benzalkonium chloride for various contact times at room temperature. After the allotted time for disinfection, a neutralizer solution was added to deactivate the disinfectant, plaques were established, and an additional solution was added to inactivate any possible remaining SARS-CoV-2 virus stocks. The cells were then stained for identification purposes and a manual microscopy was used to count the remaining plaques.

The study found that disinfectants and hand sanitizers containing the active ingredient benzalkonium chloride were highly effective at inactivating SARS-CoV-2 in short contact times of 15 seconds.

These results are meaningful at a time when hand sanitization is a high priority as benzalkonium chloride provides more effective options that are non-toxic, non-irritating to skin and non-flammable, to a market that is scarce when compared with the demand. Benzalkonium chloride hand sanitizers also have the potential to promote increased compliance to hand sanitization protocol as the drying effects of alcohol are avoided. A small number of hand sanitizing products containing benzalkonium chloride possess proprietary technology that provide moisturization, extended protection making these products particularly appealing as a replacement of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.


  • Ogilvie BH, Solis-Leal A, Lopez JB, Poole BD, Robison RA, Berges BK, Alcohol-free hand sanitizer and other quaternary ammonium disinfectants quickly and effectively inactivate SARS-CoV-2, Journal of Hospital Infection