Jul 20, 2020

Do hand sanitizers really expire?

The coronavirus pandemic has surged the popularity of hand sanitizer beyond expectations, the product which earlier was confined to a few sectors or just idly thrown into the drawer has now taken the world by storm.

Hand sanitizers are now an essential commodity which is absolutely imperative for fighting germs as washing hands with soap and water every time we come in contact with an object isn’t plausible. It would make sense to carry a portable hand sanitizer with you everywhere as it provides a far easier and effective method for staying safe and healthy. But one important thing we need to consider while using hand sanitizers is that we should always ensure if our hands are free of any grease or dirt, if that isn’t the case then first washing hands with soap and water and then using sanitizers should be preferable.

Due to this many people have taken upon themselves to try to make their own DIY hand sanitizers which certainly isn’t recommended as even a slight discrepancy in the ingredient could have an indelibly detrimental impact on the skin. It can easily cause rashes and irritation of the skin.

So you might be wondering if it would be a good idea to use the ancient bottle of hand sanitizer that you tossed into your cart casually a few years ago, we are here to answer your question.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers come in either gel or liquid form and are a really good companion for easy and an effective way to fight germs and keep yourself healthy. Experts recommend that a sanitizer should at least have 60% alcohol content for them to be effective. Anything less would not be enough to effectively fight germs. Other ingredients in hand sanitizers usually include fragrance, water and glycerine. Hand sanitizers also come in non-alcoholic form but they tend to be not as effective as the alcohol based ones.

Hand sanitizers typically have 2-3 years of use before they expire according to the industry standards. And the reason is that as soon as we pop open a bottle of hand sanitizer, it starts to lose its’ effectiveness. Hand sanitizers primary ingredient, which is alcohol, is very volatile which starts to evaporate as soon as it’s exposed to the air. Even though the primary purpose for the common hand sanitizer’s bottle is to prevent this process, they are never airtight. And as previously stated, when the alcohol content of a hand sanitizer dwindles below 60%, it loses its’ effectiveness. But still, there is no hard and fast rule for how long it would take a bottle of hand sanitizer to really expire, therefore many manufactures just stick to 2-3 years.

So back to the original question of whether you should use an expired bottle of hand sanitizer or not.

Ideally, you should stick to the expiry date, but due to the global surge in demand, many people won’t have access to a bottle of hand sanitizer. An expired bottle could still be put to use, cause even though it might not be as effective in killing the germs, it would not be dangerous in any way to the skin. An expired unopened bottle should be preferred as the alcohol content may not have evaporated as much as in the case of an open bottle.

So, you should not just idly throw an old expired bottle of hand sanitizer in the dustbin as it could still be a useful alternative if you don’t have access to new hand sanitizer bottles and we should always carry one, to reduce the spread of germs in case we come in contact with them through touching objects.

For a non-sticky, extremely effective but safe to use hand sanitizers, check out our list of Zermero Advance Handrub range.