Sterillium® - the new way to disinfect which is making its mark in the UK veterinary market

The BODE Chemie (Hamburg, Germany) manufactured Sterillium® is an isopropanol and n-proponal based surgical hand disinfectant which is distributed in the UK by IMS Euro Ltd via H&R Healthcare Ltd., distributor for Bode Chemie UK. Sterillium has been the No.1 hand disinfectant amongst surgeons in Europe for many years.

Scientific evidence of superior efficacy

Sterillium offers superior efficacy to traditional chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) scrub methods. This is backed by comprehensive scientific evidence and supported by World Health Organisation (WHO) Hand Hygiene Guidelines.

Shorter application time

The product requires an application time of just 90 seconds, compared to 4-5 minutes, which not only saves time, but also money from reduced water consumption.

Significant improvements in skin condition

Sterillium also offers significant improvements in skin conditions traditionally associated with repeated surgical hand cleansing using traditional CHG-based scrub methods.

So what are the benefits of Sterillium over traditional scrub solutions?

Superior efficacy

The aim of surgical hand disinfection is the significant reduction of resident skin flora and the elimination of transient micro-organisms from the hands of the surgical team for the duration of the surgical procedure.

Efficacy of Sterillium:

  • bactericidal
  • yeasticidal
  • tuberculocidal
  • mycobacterialcidal
  • virucidal against enveloped viruses ( incl. HBV, HIV, HCV )
  • Influenza A Virus
  • Herpes Virus Type iI and II
  • SARS – Associated Corona Virus

( SARS – CoV. )

...within 30 seconds

A study published in the Veterinary Journal (Verwilghen et al, 2011) showed that pre-surgical application of alcohol-based hand disinfectants resulted in a significant reduction of bacterial flora on surgeons’ hands compared to a scrub solution based on CHG or povidone iodine.

The World Health Organisation has favoured the use of alcohol-based hand disinfectants for pre-surgical hand antisepsis for many years.

Surgical hand disinfection with Sterillium is proven to be clinically more effective at reducing the bacterial count on hands than traditional scrub methods.              

Source: Evaluation of the bactericidal effect of five products for surgical hand disinfection according to prEN 12054 and prEN 12791. Journal of Hospital Infection ( 2003 ) 54, 63 – 67.

Repeated exposure to water removes the fatty acids on the skin, and scrubbing hands with a brush damages the epidermal layer. This does not increase efficacy, but actually dehydrates the skin and makes it more susceptible to increased levels of bacteria.

These bacteria are not as easily removed during hand disinfection.

Scientific surveys show that the highest microorganism count can be found on the fingertips – no other areas on the hand have such a high bacterial burden.

Studies in human surgery have shown that glove perforation occurs in up to 60-70 per cent of procedures – microorganisms of the resident flora could penetrate the damaged or punctured surgical glove and be released into the surgical wound.

Improved skin condition

Surgical hand disinfection with Sterillium is kinder to your hands due to its skin caring ingredients, significantly reducing the risk of occupational skin conditions.

Skin conditions caused by repeated exposure to hot water, CHG/pvp-iodine and mechanical damage from scrubbing with a brush have also been shown to significantly improve for medical and theatre staff switching to alcohol-based hand disinfection methods.

After years of intense hand scrubbing, new users of Sterillium® often experience a burning sensation when initially applying the disinfectant as the alcohol stimulates pain receptors in areas of the skin already damaged by scrubbing. In this case, the alcohol-based product is often blamed for the symptoms and the method is abandoned in favour of traditional washing.

Prior to first use, Sterillium users are advised to apply moisturisers prior to moving to an alcohol-based hand disinfectant to mitigate the effects of the damage to skin caused by the scrubbing method, and to avoid scrubbing in future. IMS can offer a number of solutions including Baktolan balm®& Baktolan protect®, depending on the conditions of the hands.

Saving time & money

The short 90 second application time for Sterillium, compared to up to five minutes for the traditional scrub method, undoubtedly offers the potential to win working time for other tasks in veterinary surgeries.

Sterillium also offers significant cost savings too. Depending on the size of the hands, 6ml-10ml is required per surgical hand disinfection procedure compared to 12ml-16ml for the traditional scrub method.

Water consumption, plus the associated costs to heat it, is also reduced. According to WHO research, the traditional scrub method uses approximately 20 litres of water for each disinfection.

When applying Sterillium, the hands and forearms need to be kept moist with the product for the full 90 seconds, but water is not required.

Hand washing -with a non-medicated pH neutral wash lotion - is required only if hands are physically soiled. IMS can offer a cost effective standard hand wash lotion called Baktolin® pure

Increased compliance

Sterillium’s 90 second exposure meets the desire for shortened application times, without interfering with safety.

Therefore, the chance of correctly executed hand disinfection prior to surgery is likely to be increased.

Improved compliance has also been linked to improvements in skin condition, according to a clinical studies carried out by manufacturer Bode Chemie and international Health Authorities.

Improved health and safety

When several litres of water are used during the traditional scrub methods, it is inevitable that some water will escape onto the theatre floor.

This can increase the risk of slippage and other accidents.

Switching to Sterillium – testimonials from UK veterinary surgeries:

The Royal Veterinary College Queen Mother Hospital for Animals switched to Sterillium almost a year ago...

Head Theatre Nurse, Alison Young, said: “As we are a teaching hospital it is important that we are open to evidence-based research on the latest techniques when they become available and, if better ways to prepare our hands prior to surgery are found, we have a duty to review our procedures.

“Sterillium’s superior anti-microbial efficacy was the primary driver in our decision to switch, but the benefits to condition of the skin on our hands has been an added bonus.

Park Veterinary Group made the switch just a few short months ago...

Chris Morris, BVSc CertSAS MRCVS, said: “We have found many benefits using Sterillium. It saves time as it only requires a quick 90 second application; it saves money by avoiding water wastage and purchasing brushes; and it saves the health of our skin by reducing the dessicating effect that often accompanies traditional surgical scrubs.


Active ingredients in 100g of Sterillium:

Propan-2-ol 45g, propan-1-ol 30g, mecetronium etilsulfate 0.2g.

EN 1500 for hygienic hand disinfection

EN 12791 for surgical hand disinfection

IMS Euro Ltd are the UK veterinary distributors for Sterillium® (BODE Chemie range).

BODE Chemie are Europe’s leading manufacturer of alcohol-based hand disinfection products.

To enquire about Sterillium, contact:

For further information on Sterillium, visit