Glossary of Terms – Sanitiser and PPE Products (Part One)

This is part one of a two-part guide explaining various terms and phrases relating to sanitiser and PPE products. All terms are listed in alphabetical order. Read part two by clicking this link.

 Active ingredient

An active ingredient (as used in hand sanitisers for example) is the ingredient within a formulation that kills viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.

Alcohol-based sanitiser

Sanitiser is frequently formulated through the use of alcohols such as ethanol or isopropanol. Alcohol aids the destruction of viruses and bacteria upon contact.

Alcohol-free sanitiser

Sanitiser is available in an alcohol-free formulation and destroys viruses and bacteria upon contact. Alcohol-free sanitiser is usually either based on:

  • Antimicrobial agents or
  • Disinfectants


These relate to products that are created with the intention of killing or minimising the harmful effects of bacteria. Products such as sanitiser, surgical spirit and facial wash are all well-known for their antibacterial qualities and properties.

Antimicrobial agent

There are a large number of physical agents and chemical compounds that are used to either destroy existing microorganisms or stop their development. Examples of antimicrobial agents include penicillin and streptomycin. Hypochlorous acid, which is used as the active ingredient in our MIST-IFY product range is classified as a disinfectant, but also has antimicrobial qualities too.


These are a group of microscopic single-celled organisms that are prolific in every environment on planet earth. Most bacteria are harmless to humans, some are beneficial (e.g., for digestion health), and some (e.g., e-coli and syphilis) can cause diseases in humans and other animals.


Biocidal products have an active ingredient that kills, deters, and prevents harmful microorganisms.


To disinfect is to cleanse, sanitise or purify an area (e.g., an area of the body, within water, or on a hard surface, etc.) A disinfectant is a chemical agent used in this role and destroys and reduces concentrations of microorganisms. Man-made disinfectants are usually poisonous to ingest whereas hypochlorous acid is totally natural and safe to ingest (e.g., within water).

Electrolysed water

This is produced by the electrolysis of tap water with dissolved sodium chloride. This formulation creates a solution of sodium hydroxide and hypochlorous acid. The resultant electrolysed water can be used as a safe form of disinfectant. Although simple electrolysed water is not entirely the same as MIST-IFY hypochlorous acid there are significant similarities.

Face mask

These are worn over the mouth and nose and are specifically designed to protect the wearer (as well as the people they are in close proximity to) from harmful viruses, bacteria, pathogens, and other substances (e.g., asbestos). Face masks have become prolific in use as a weapon in the fight against COVID-19.

Hand hygiene

To accompany the use of hand sanitiser it is also essential to practise effective hand hygiene, this includes:

  • After coughing or sneezing
  • After personal contact such as handshaking
  • After using items in public (e.g., buttons, cash machines, doors, handrails, and phones, etc,)
  • After using the bathroom
  • After using public transport
  • Before eating or drinking
  • Before and after handling raw foods (e.g., eggs, fish, meat, poultry, and a variety of other products)

Read part two

Click this link to read part two of this guide.

Contacting Coler Medical PPE

We hope this glossary of terms has proved to be valuable. If you have any additional terms to be added or need to discuss anything, please contact us at Coler Medical PPE. Contact us through the following methods: