Does Hand Sanitizer Expire

Every consumable and non-consumable product has an expiry date, but considering the health importance of a hand sanitizer and the composition of natural ingredients used in its manufacture, it is not a bad idea knowing if they never or rarely get expired. With the advent of corona-virus, Covid-19, the use of a hand sanitizer became the best language for survival. The constant use of a hand sanitizer, the act of purchasing it in bulk for storage with fear of running out of stock, and many safety precautions prompted major questions among consumers and users; does hand sanitizer expire? Will an expired hand sanitizer be effective after it has expired? What is the level of effectiveness of an open or unopened bottle of sanitizer? To ensure that you do not get less protection against germs, and maintain good health, it is good that you have a full grasp of information on the use of these products and to know if does hand sanitizer expires.

Tis The Season

In this season where there is an outbreak of airborne diseases; the possibility of coming in contact with germs every day, washing your hands with soap and water is one assured way of staying safe.

Organizations like centers for disease control CDC, FDA, WHO, and major health institutions advise on the importance of maintaining social distancing, as well as major reasons why you should wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.

“Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds”, CDC says.

However, most times soap and water might not be available to maintain hand hygiene or you might be in an emergency that makes waiting for 30 seconds a costly restrain on your time, this makes having a bottle of hand sanitizer at your disposal a mobile method of staying free from germs and ensuring disease control and prevention.

Irrespective of the potency of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, it is essential to know if they will become less effective after expiry.

The production and usage of alcohol-based hand sanitizers are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration FDA and there must be an expiration date attached to it.

Aside from the need to verify the effectiveness of an expired hand sanitizer, it is also wise to know if it is safe to use these products after crossing the expiration date.

Does Hand Sanitizer expire?

Yes. Hand sanitizer does expire. They become less effective or even ineffective the moment they cross their expiration date. At this point, it is safer to go back to the traditional hand hygiene procedure; washing the hands with soap and water as this is more effective in fighting germs than using hand sanitizer.

Does Hand Sanitizer expire if unopened?

No, hand sanitizer will not expire if unopened. Hand sanitizer does expire but this is only possible if the seal on the container is broken. According to Dr. Kevin Kathrotia, a neonatologist, MD, COO of Millennium Neonatology explains that hand sanitizers can last for up to two to three years but this duration starts counting after it is opened.

“Hand sanitizers have a life span of two to three years after they are opened, this is usually because enough alcohol percentage has been exposed to air and evaporation has reduced its concentration in the bottle to below 60 percent,” Dr. Kevin says.

An unopened bottle of hand sanitizer retains its effectiveness as the content of alcohol used in its preparation is still firmly packed in the bottle.

Alcohol is an active ingredient in a hand sanitizer and for the hand sanitizer to still remain effective, at least 60 alcohol concentrations should be obtainable in the product.

“Do not use alcohol-based sanitizers that are produced with Methanol or wood alcohol”, says FDA.

As much as confirming the alcohol content in a hand sanitizer is necessary, its active ingredient is also an important factor to take note of. Products that have methanol or wood alcohol as their active ingredients are hazardous for human use.


Can we use expired Sanitizer?

Probably, yes you can, but it is inadvisable to do so. Using a hand sanitizer after its expiration date to wash your hands doesn’t specifically mean that it will cause much harm to your body, but may not perform to the best of its required abilities. A good hand sanitizer should be able to kill germs and flush out dirt, but after its expiration date, the less concentration of alcohol in the content makes it ineffective or less effective.

How do I know if my hand sanitizer is safe?

How you will know the safety of your hand sanitizer is by meticulously studying its content.

According to the FDA, a safe sanitizer must not contain Methanol or wood alcohol. Methanol is not a safe active ingredient for sanitizers. Safe hand sanitizers should be produced with Isopropyl alcohol, Ethanol, Hydrogen peroxide, glycerin, distilled, or sterile water. Items aside from these may pose a great danger to the individual still using them.

Although, most producers are framing the contents of their hand sanitizers, inscribing that the products contain ethanol whereas it is made with Methanol. This keeps creating one big worry in the mind of users. Nevertheless, as drug agencies are working tirelessly to clamp down fake sanitizers, you must check the label of the sanitizers as you set out to find genuine sanitizers. You should not only be interested in knowing the expiration date of those sanitizers, but it is also important you check out their product details.

The beginner’s guide on how to use hand sanitizer begins with knowing what ingredients should be there and what ingredients shouldn’t be found.

How long is hand sanitizer effective?

According to major reports from medical practitioners, a hand sanitizer is effective for two to three years, During this time frame, it is believed that a greater amount of its alcohol percentage to evaporation, leaving it practically useless for washing the hands, may not be the best option in fighting germs.

Hand Sanitizers may lose their level of effectiveness if the cap of the container is not airtight secured, this will leave its contents exposed to air. However, the higher the percentage of alcohol, the more effective it will be against germs.

Well, the expiration date (an indicator for how long it will remain effective) of hand sanitizers are usually stated on the label of the product. Although, some hand sanitizers have been reported to still have the ability to kill germs after their expiration date. In as much as this may be possible, as its alcohol content is still potent, but it is not a guaranteed action that a sanitizer may remain effective after its time for expiry.

If soap and water aren’t available, hand sanitizer is best to use