The power of language is hijacking an entire industry

Language is a powerful tool that we use to communicate with others, and the words we choose to use can have a profound effect on our thoughts and behaviors. It’s not just about what we say, but how we say it that can influence our decision-making and worldview. One example of this is the use of the word “Purell” instead of the word disinfection.

Purell is a brand of hand sanitizer that has become synonymous with disinfection. The word “Purell” has become so ingrained in our vocabulary that it has replaced the word “disinfection” in many situations. This might seem like a harmless substitution, but it can actually have a significant impact on our perception of cleanliness and hygiene.

When we hear the word “Purell,” we assume directly as it would be the only way to disinfect your hands. This association has been reinforced by years of advertising and marketing by the Purell company.

In Sweden it is common to use the word “sprita händerna”, which roughly means “put alcohol on your hands”. This phrase is still used even by medical doctors and professionals. It may not be a specific brand, but a single method that makes alcohol synonymous with disinfection.

What’s the problem you ask!?

Alcohol is NOT the only way to disinfect. Alcohol is not even that effective. It is far from sustainable. Alcohol has a number of drawbacks with damaged skin and destroyed surfaces. Not to mention, it is a fire hazard and something that is commonly stolen and consumed to become intoxicated.

The truth is that the overall performance of alcohol based sanitizer, compared to other non-alcoholic disinfectants, is poor at best. A recent blind test we conducted showed that 94% preferred non-alcoholic disinfectants on their hands.

Unfortunately, people have not have had a chance to discover better ways to disinfect due to the use of a specific form of language. The end result of this over-use of alcohol is that it is making people avoid disinfecting their hands completely. This means, we run the risk of spreading bacteria and viruses, due to the use of improper language.

We should be mindful of the words we use, especially when it works against ourselves, our health, our economy and the environment.

The word “disinfection” is neutral and creates a frame of mind where there is room for more innovative and effective disinfectants that are less harmful to you or the environment.

This is the reason we’ve taken the initative to contact the Swedish institute for language for an amendment in regards to the use of language and definitions regarding disinfection.

In conclusion, the words we use can have a profound impact on our thoughts, behaviors, and perceptions. Subtle changes in language can influence our decision-making and shape our worldview. It’s important to be aware of the words we use and the associations they carry, so that we can make informed choices and communicate effectively with others.


Use disinfectants safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

Biocider ska användas på ett säkert sätt. Läs alltid igenom etiketten och produktinformationen före användningen.

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