How to Tell If Hand Sanitizer Has Gone Bad

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Estimated reading time: 2 min

Hand sanitizer is a valuable tool for eliminating germs, and people use it regularly. If you don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer is a safe alternative. Hand sanitizer is most effective for killing germs when it is alcohol based with at least 60% alcohol. You should be able to find this information on the label. When the alcohol content is below 60%, it likely will not kill as many germs, and it could slow the growth of germs rather than eliminate them.

When you use hand sanitizer, you should pump it into one palm and rub your hands together. Be sure to coat every part of your hands, including the back. This should take approximately 20 seconds. People often wonder whether hand sanitizer goes bad and how to tell if it does. Read on to learn how to tell if your hand sanitizer has gone bad.

Check the Expiration Date

Hand sanitizer has an expiration date, and it should be marked on the label. It is regulated by the FDA, and it is required to display the expiration date or have a shelf life of three years. If you cannot find an expiration date, then you can assume that the hand sanitizer will be good for around three years from the date of purchase.

The reason it has an expiration date is that over time the alcohol will evaporate, which will decrease its potency. As a result, it will be much less effective at killing germs. If it doesn’t kill germs, it is no longer a “sanitizer.” If your hand sanitizer has expired, it is no longer effective, and you should throw it out.

Determine How Old It Is

If your hand sanitizer doesn’t have an expiration date, you need to remember when you purchased it. Hand sanitizer that is not marked with an expiration date is expected to have a three-year shelf life, so as long as you know when you purchased it, you will be able to determine if it is still good. Over time, hand sanitizer becomes less effective because the alcohol evaporates, so after three years, you will need to throw it away and replace it.

Smell the Hand Sanitizer

If you find that your bottle of hand sanitizer has no expiration date and you have no idea when you purchased it, you can smell it to try to determine if it has gone bad. Hand sanitizer doesn’t go bad in the sense that it is not dangerous to use, but it does lose its effectiveness. Because the alcohol evaporates over time, new hand sanitizer will have a much stronger odor. You can smell the alcohol in it. After it goes bad, there will be very little alcohol content, and it will not do a very good job of killing germs.

Hand sanitizer has become very popular because it can kill some viruses, including the coronavirus, the common cold, and H1N1 flu. For this reason, people use it as a back up if they are unable to wash their hands. Washing your hands with soap and water is the most effective way to kill germs, but if this is not an option, you can use hand sanitizer.

If you want hand sanitizer to be effective, it should have between 60% and 95% alcohol. You will want to put enough in your hands to completely cover the front and back surfaces of your hands. You should rub your hands together for 20 seconds to make sure that they are completely covered, and then let the hand sanitizer dry. Once it dries, it is effective for about two minutes, so if you come into contact with germs, you will need to use it again. It is designed to kill what is on your hands.

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