Lifebuoy effective against COVID-19

Lifebuoy Global is the first soap brand to confirm its alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel is over 99.9% effective against COVID-19 Coronavirus¹. It is expected that this will also be proven for several other hand hygiene products soon.

Research has shown that using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, as advised by public health authorities², is effective against germs.  The initial test results, conducted at the internationally accredited Microbac Laboratories shows that Lifebuoy’s alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel, sold in South Africa, can successfully inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. The initial testing also included a Lifebuoy liquid hand wash which is over 99.9% effective against COVID-19 Coronavirus¹. Both products tested are sold across Asia and the Middle East.

Dr. Vibhav Sanzgiri, R&D Vice President for Skin Cleansing at Unilever, said: “The technology of these products, and how it works, is linked to the structure of the virus. Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses which contain an outer protective layer made of fatty molecules. The initial results provide scientific evidence that the Lifebuoy products tested inactivate the COVID-19 Coronavirus¹; this is done by disrupting the protective layer of the virus.”

Samir Singh, Global EVP, Skin Cleansing at Unilever said: “The uncertainty we continue to face in this global pandemic is challenging for all of us. Soap plays a crucial role in tackling the spread of the virus. Our hope is that this scientific testing will help reassure people and encourage even greater adoption of handwashing and good hygiene habits, at a time when it has never been more important.”

Lifebuoy Globally runs the world’s largest behaviour change programme to encourage hand washing. In South Africa, Lifebuoy is an active brand in the Unilever National Schools Hygiene and Sanitation Programme, in partnership with the Department of Basic Education. Lifebuoy teaches over 1,3 million Grade 1 learners through good handwashing habits in over 15 000 schools nationally every year. Through this 5-year partnership, Lifebuoy aims to reach over 5 million children by 2021.

In response to the global pandemic, the brand has embarked on a public service campaign to remind people that hand hygiene and using any soap brand can help reduce the spread of infections. The brand has also donated over 20 million products, including soap, hand sanitizers and antibacterial wipes to various organisations and initiatives around the world.

Since the start of the outbreak in South Africa, Lifebuoy has made a commitment to donate over 600 000 Lifebuoy soap bars and sanitizers to the Department of Health and local municipalities, of which 300 000 products have already been distributed to date.

1 All reference to Covid-19 Coronavirus refers to ‘SARS-CoV-2’
2 Visit the World Health Organisation website for more information

Contact (Lifebuoy South Africa media contact)

On behalf of Sphelele Mjadu,

THB Verve
Amanda Sapo

  • Mobile: +27 81 881 8808
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In South Africa, below is the alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel that was tested.

Lifebuoy Total 10 hand sanitizer

About Lifebuoy

As a world leading health soap brand, Lifebuoy aims to make a difference by creating accessible hygiene products and promoting healthy hygiene habits.

First launched in the 1800s, Lifebuoy was introduced to fight the spread of cholera. The brand runs one of the world's largest handwashing behaviour change programmes, having reached over 1 billion people.

Handwashing with soap helps to save lives. Lifebuoy’s ‘Help A Child Reach 5’ campaign aims to eradicate preventable deaths from diseases and illnesses like diarrhoea, by teaching lifesaving handwashing habits.

For more information, please visit:

About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. It has 155,000 employees and generated sales of €52 billion in 2019. Over half of the company’s footprint is in developing and emerging markets. Unilever has around 400 brands found in homes all over the world, including Dove, Knorr, Dirt Is Good, Rexona, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, Lux, Magnum, Axe, Sunsilk and Surf.

Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) underpins the company’s strategy and commits to:

  • Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
  • Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
  • Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.

The USLP creates value by driving growth and trust, eliminating costs and reducing risks. The company’s sustainable living brands are growing 69% faster than the rest of the business and delivered 75% of the company’s growth in 2018.

Since 2010 we have been taking action through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan to help more than a billion people improve their health and well-being, halve our environmental footprint and enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business. We have already made significant progress and continue to expand our ambition – most recently committing to ensure 100% of our plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

While there is still more to do, we are proud to have been recognised in 2018 as sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and as the top ranked company in the Globescan/SustainAbility Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders survey, for the eighth-consecutive year.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit
For more information on the USLP: