Well into the 1960s, disinfecting hands in clinics was a complex process. At times it didn’t have the necessary effect and was even harmful to the skin.
For example, doctors disinfected their hands during their rounds simply by dipping them in a bowl of a formalin-based solution. The disinfecting activity was limited. What’s more, disposable gloves were not available at the time.
In addition, the team had to elaborately wash their hands and forearms before operations and then dip them in alcohol – a skin-damaging process with only a short duration of efficacy for operations lasting several hours.
Against this backdrop, the research team at BODE Chemie – upon the suggestion of the Hamburg-based heart surgeon Peter Kalmár – began developing a completely new product. Findings showed that alcohol is the only adequately effective substance for disinfecting hands. It was used in a diluted form to ensure good skin tolerance. Then skin-care substances were added, such as re-fatteners.
To achieve a fast-acting and long lasting efficacy, the optimum concentration and ratio of alcohols was combined with an additional well tolerated active ingredient. Furthermore, the team chose to add a well-formulated care complex consisting of a refattening agent and moisturizer. The individual substances were brought together – and the first rub-in hand disinfectant solution was created. Following clinical tests, the solution was approved for practices in 1965.
The first bottle of Sterillium® left the BODE Chemie factory in Hamburg-Stellingen on June 4, 1965. Nobody imagined back then that the product would go on to capture the market within just a short time. It has become the standard in clinics today. Because it can be applied easily and quickly, the hand disinfectant solution has revolutionized healthcare.
Today, Sterillium® is available in over 50 countries – and is synonymous worldwide for hand disinfectant.