Alcohols have a bactericidal action against vegetative forms of bacteria. Alcohols have the fungicidal, virucidal and tuberculocidal action against enveloped viruses. They are not effective against bacterial spores and have limited effectiveness against non-enveloped viruses. The antimicrobial activity of alcohols can be attributed to their ability to denature bacterial proteins. At high concentration alcohols are less effective as the action of denaturing microbial proteins is inhibited without the presence of water. Alcohols are generally used as topical antiseptics. They are also used to disinfect the surface of medical equipment. They are combustible and must be stored in a well-ventilated and cool area. They are generally too expensive for general use as a surface disinfectant. The use of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol has recently achieved wide acceptance in the healthcare industry as hand antiseptics. They can be used as a reasonable substitute for hand washing.

According to Zion Market Research, global demand for an alcohol based disinfectant market was valued at around USD 1.29 billion in 2015, is expected to generate revenue of around USD 2.10 billion by end of 2021 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of around 8.5% between 2016 and 2021. Increasing emphasis on health, safety and sanitization are fuelling demand for alcohol based disinfectant across industries such as food processing and healthcare industry. In food processing industry, demand for alcohol-based disinfectants driven by increasing concerns about food contamination. Growth in the healthcare sector is anticipated to driven by the rising number of surgical procedures performed. Hand sanitizer shows great potential and holds a majority of market share around 60% of the overall market in 2015. Furthermore, growth in the alcohol based disinfectant is also propelled by the growing number of infectious diseases. The last decade witnessed the epidemic of an H1N1 virus and avian influenza, which further raised the emphasis on hand and surface disinfectant measures.

On the basis of product alcohol based disinfectants market is classified into n-propyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol dominated the market and acquired approximately 70% of the total market share in 2015. Sanitizers, clinical devices, and clinical surfaces are the application segment of a market.

North America dominated the worldwide alcohol based disinfectant market with over 35% market share in 2015 due to increasing alcohol based disinfectant demand in the healthcare sector for equipment sanitization. The Asia Pacific market is anticipated to witness significant growth due to increase in health awareness and growth in a number of surgical methods performed each year in the emerging countries in this region. Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow at the high rate in near future.

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The prominent players in alcohol based disinfectants market include 3M Company, Bode Chemie, Ecolab Inc, Vaportek Inc., Reckitt Benckiser Plc, Kao Corporation, DuPont and among others.