Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK) Hand Sanitizer COVID-19 Resources

Question: Does the non alcohol-based Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK) or BKC Hand and Skin Sanitizer effectively kill SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Human Coronavirus?


The FDA is the governing body for hand sanitizers. The FDA does NOT allow any company to make Viral claims (claims that their product kills viruses). That is why none of the hand sanitizing companies can claim their product kills SARS-Cov-2 COVID-19. The FDA’s rules require the consumer to make the determination if the product kills viruses based on readily available data, such as studies, research papers, and the product's chemistry/ingredients.


 Highlights from the information below:

1) Since not every testing lab or company in the world has access to SARS-CoV-2 to test with, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Australian Government provided guidance that labs and companies should test against other, similarly structured, strains of Human Coronavirus. Human Coronavirus (229E) was specifically identified as the only strain of Human Coronavirus to be used as a surrogate to COVID-19 by one government agency.

2) BioScience Labs tested the non alcohol based Benzalkonium Chloride on Human Coronavirus 229E and found it eliminated 99.9% of the virus in a 30-second test and found persistent protection at 60-seconds, and 120-seconds according to the report.  

3) A report in the American Journal of Infection Control studied the efficacy of non alcohol based Benzalkonium Chloride sanitizer on human skin at 1, 2, and 4 hours after application. The results were remarkable as the Benzalkonium Chloride (BK) test product produced a marked reduction in colony-forming units on Staphylococcus aureusat each of the 3 time points (1,2 & 4 hours) tested (3.75-4.16-log10 reductions), whereas the alcohol based comparator produced less than 1-log10 reduction over the same time. The differences were highly significant.

4) After studying 70,669 reported exposures to alcohol and nonalcohol hand sanitizers in children aged ≤12 years reported to the National Poison Data System, the CDC has given a warning that alcohol based hand sanitizer might be associated with a greater health risks in young children that similar use of non alcohol based hand sanitizer.


Human Coronavirus Types

Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface. There are four main sub-groupings of coronaviruses, known as alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. The seven coronaviruses that can infect people are:

Common human coronaviruses

  1. 229E (alpha coronavirus)
  2. NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
  3. OC43 (beta coronavirus)
  4. HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
  5. MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS)
  6. SARS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS)
  7. SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19


EPA Guidance on selecting products that kill COVID-19

“If you would like to use a product that is not on our list, look for an EPA-registered product with “human coronavirus” listed as a target pathogen” 


Surrogate viruses for use in disinfectant efficacy tests to justify claims against COVID-19

For sponsors and manufacturers wishing to make label claims of efficacy against COVID-19 for products that are either hard surface disinfectants or disinfectants that are medical devices, the following surrogate viruses can be used:

  • Human coronavirus 229E
  • Murine hepatitis virus


Bio Science Labs Tested Human Coronavirus 229E on Benzalkonium hand sanitizer.

A virologist named Dr. Volha Teagle, and her team selected a structurally similar strain to COVID-19, known as Human Coronavirus 229E, and tested a Benzalkonium hand sanitizer against it.

In the lab, the benzalkonium hand sanitizer did eliminate 99.9 percent of the virus in the 30-second test. "We also carried the test out to 60-seconds and 120-seconds of exposure time. All three of the tests showed the same thing." "Since the action of benzalkonium is against the envelope of the virus and the envelope does not mutate.


Demonstrating the persistent antibacterial efficacy of a hand sanitizer containing benzalkonium chloride on human skin at 1, 2, and 4 hours after application


These results show a major improvement in persistent antibacterial activity for the BK (benzalkonium chloride) formulation compared to the comparator ethanol-based formulation.


Reported Adverse Health Effects in Children from Ingestion of Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers


Nonrecommended use of alcohol-based (alcohol) hand sanitizers, including intentional or unintentional ingestion, might be associated with greater health risks in young children than similar use of nonalcohol-based (nonalcohol) hand sanitizers.


Benzalkonium Chloride is an FDA approved non alcohol-based hand and skin sanitizer.


 Click here to view our favorite non alcohol-based Benzalkonium Chloride hand sanitizer