Is hand washing drying out your enthusiasm for hygiene?

Aug. 5, 2013
Beyond gloves, using antiseptic soaps and lotions is the recommended protocol. Yet compliance has been demonstrated to be only about 50% in hospitals even when a dispenser is provided by every bed. One key reason cited is the drying effect of current products being used.

Health professionals know about germs. Most can recall the rigorous hand washing training they received, along with protocol to prevent contamination to themselves, patients, and co-workers. According to one article in HealthNews, a person’s mouth can have more germs than there are people on earth,1 a relevant fact for dental hygienists whose work environment is focused on this breeding ground for germs.

Beyond gloves, using antiseptic soaps and lotions is the recommended protocol. Yet compliance has been demonstrated to be only about 50% in hospitals even when a dispenser is provided by every bed.2 One key reason cited is the drying effect of current products being used.

Until recently, the CDC has recommended hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol for use in health-care settings. The benefits and drawbacks of alcohol-based sanitizers are well documented. The alcohol kills more than 99.99% of germs on contact by dehydrating the bacteria; unfortunately it also has the same effect on the hands. Repeated use often leads to painfully dry, irritated skin that can create a doorway for contagions. Once the alcohol evaporates, the sanitizer is no longer effective. The irony is that the same treatment being used for protection actually leaves the user more vulnerable to infection.

Product News: Information about Zylast

Zylast is a new line of antimicrobial products. The products not only kill 99.99% of germs in 15 seconds, but is persistent for six hours. In addition, Zylast is water-based, all natural, triclosan-free, and moisturizes the hands with a quick-drying, non-greasy feel.

The main ingredient, benzethonium chloride (BZT), is known as one of the best antimicrobial products for reducing dermal irritation. Studies have shown no irritation with use of BZT 100 times daily for five days. Studies have also shown that BZT — unlike every other topical antimicrobial agent — actually increases dermal moisture after heavy use rather than drying out and irritating the skin.3 The efficacy and persistence of the Zylast products pertains to the Foaming Soap as well as the Antiseptic Lotion. Other soap products take nearly two minutes of scrubbing action to kill germs, and like their alcohol-based counterparts, have no persistence against recontamination.

Zylast’s combination of rapid, broad-spectrum kill and persistence coupled with comfort and convenience creates a much needed solution for health-care workers. Results showed more than 99.99% of most disease-causing germs were typically destroyed within 15 seconds. In-vitro testing on skin substitutes has shown that all Zylast products are still killing at or above 97% of disease-causing bacteria at one hour, and remaining above 90% at six hours after application. Zylast was tested against a range of 25 different bacteria including escherichia coli, a leading cause of food poisoning, and streptococcus pneumoniae, a primary source of pneumonia and meningitis. Testing with the Zylast Lotion was also performed against the drug-resistant bacteria methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), dangerous pathogens responsible for many of the hospital-acquired infections that kill more than 90,000 people each year.4,5 Not only did the Antiseptic destroy more than 99.99% of the MRSA and VRE on contact, it was still killing more than 90% of these deadly bacteria one hour after it was applied.

The same properties that allow the Zylast technology to remain persistent against transient bacteria six hours after application also apply to its efficacy against a number of tested viruses, demonstrated in clinical settings. In a 2005 study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, BZT was shown to be more effective in eliminating viruses than alcohol/silver iodide, CHG, and Triclosan.6 In studies comparing plain water, soap and water, alcohol sanitizers, and Zylast, it was shown that Zylast was more than 100 times as effective against the Norovirus than any other agent.7,8 Zylast was also shown to kill more than 99% of the rhinovirus (common cold) and rotavirus on contact,9 and BZT has been proven to be highly effective against H1N1,3 influnzae,3 HIV,9 and herpes.3

Health-care workers understand the importance of hand sanitation, but the reasons behind insufficient compliance are also understandable. Zylast solves the issues of efficacy, persistence, and comfort with approximately one-fifth the amount of product, so not only is it an ideal solution for workers but has an economic advantage as well. The company’s personal products are available online at The company also offers a full line of industrial and medical products. For more information on the company, or medical supplies for a health-care setting, visit


  1. Health News: More Germs One Mouth Than People on Earth, Published: June 1, 2011 at 11:25 PM
  2. Bischoff WE, Reynolds TM, Sessler CN, et al, Handwashing compliance by health care workers: the impact of introducing an accessible, alcohol-based hand antiseptic, Arch Intern Med 2000: 160;1017-1021.
  3. Paulson D, Handbook of Topical Antimicrobials: Industrial Applications in Consumer Products and Pharmaceuticals, CRC Press, 0824707885, 2002.
  4. Hawkey PM, Jones AM. The changing epidemiology of resistance. The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 64 S1: i3–10, 2009
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Estimating Health Care-Associated Infections and Deaths in U.S. Hospitals, 2002, Public Health Reports, 2007, 122.
  6. Sickbert-Bennett EE et al, Comparative efficacy of hand hygiene agents in the reduction of bacteria and viruses. Am J Infect Control. 2005 Mar;33(2):67-77.
  7. Liu P et al, Effectiveness of Liquid Soap and Hand Sanitizer against Norwalk Virus on Contaminated Hands, Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 Jan;76(2):394-9.
  8. BioScienceLaboratories, Inc.¸ Evaluation of One Test Product for its Virucidal Properties Utilizing the ASTM 1838-10 Fingerpad Method, 11/22/11.
  9. Shintre, M, Gaonkar T, Modak S. Efficacy of an alcohol-based healthcare hand rub containing synergistic combination of farnesol and benzethonium chloride, International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 209: 477-487, 2006.