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Does hand sanitizer expire?

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2021-03-23      Origin: Site


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Check the packaging of the hand sanitizer. You should see an expiration date, usually printed on the top or back.

The law requires hand sanitizers to have an expiration date and batch number. The expiration date indicates the time during which the test has confirmed that the active ingredient of the disinfectant is stable and effective.

Generally, the industry standard is 2 to 3 years before the expiration of hand sanitizer. An expired disinfectant may still have a certain effect because it still contains alcohol (active ingredient). Even if its concentration has fallen below its original percentage, the product is not dangerous to use despite its poor or poor effect.

Although the hand sanitizer can still be used after its expiration date, the best option is to replace it as soon as the expiration date is reached, as this may not be very effective.

This passage is going to talk about the following questions of hand sanitizer:

(1) What are the active ingredients in hand sanitizer?

(2) Why does hand sanitizer expire?

(3) Which is better, hand sanitizer or hand washing?

(4) Throw away expired hand sanitizer


(1) What are the active ingredients in hand sanitizer?

The active bactericidal ingredients (gel and foam) in most hand sanitizers are ethanol and isopropanol.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using hand sanitizer, which contains at least 60% of a trusted source of alcohol. The higher the alcohol percentage, the more effective the hand sanitizer is in removing bacteria and viruses. You can also read other articles to learn how to make your own hand sanitizer at home.

hand sanitizers 

(2) Why does hand sanitizer expire?

Alcohol, the active ingredient of hand sanitizer, is a volatile liquid that evaporates quickly when exposed to the air. Although ordinary hand sanitizer containers can prevent alcohol from coming into contact with the air, they are not air-tight and therefore evaporate. As the alcohol evaporates over time, the percentage of active ingredients in the hand sanitizer will decrease, reducing its effectiveness.

The manufacturer estimates how long it will take for the percentage of active ingredients to fall below 90% of the percentage stated on the label. This time is estimated to be the expiration date.


(3) Which is better, hand sanitizer or hand washing?

According to Rush University, there is no proof that hand sanitizer has a greater disinfecting power than washing hands with soap and water. The university recommends that, in most cases, washing hands with soap and warm water is better than using hand sanitizer.

CDC recommends that you wash your hands often with soap and water to reduce bacteria and chemicals on your hands. However, if soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer can be used. According to the CDC, washing with soap and water can more effectively remove bacteria, such as Clostridium difficile, Cryptosporidium and Norovirus. This CDC trusted source also reports that if your hands are obviously dirty or greasy, the effect of alcohol-based hand sanitizer is not so obvious. They may not remove harmful chemicals, such as heavy metals and pesticides, but they can wash their hands.


(4) Throw away expired hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizers have an expiration date that indicates when the percentage of active ingredients drops below 90% of the percentage stated on the label. Generally, the industry standard for expiration of hand sanitizer is 2 to 3 years. Although using hand sanitizer after the expiration date is not dangerous, it may not work well or at all. If possible, it is best to wash your hands with soap and water. If this is not possible, it is best to use an unexpired hand sanitizer.

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