If you have ever thought, does hand sanitizer expire? Yes it does. While hand sanitizer can become less effective, it can still provide protective benefits for fighting against germs.
With every other product that expires, there is a specific timeframe that should be trusted for a product's safety and effectiveness.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hand sanitizer is most effective within two years of its production.
After expiring, hand sanitizer can remain somewhat useful. Because it contains the main active ingredient, alcohol, it can still have protective benefits. The overall alcohol percentage may decrease, but in a situation where you don't have access to soap and water, it can still work. Although expired hand sanitizer can still work, it is important to replace your hand sanitizer to reduce risk exposure.
Why does hand sanitizer expire?
Alcohol, whether it is isopropyl or ethanol, quickly evaporates with air exposure. Very often, our hand sanitizer can be exposed to air leaks depending on the packaging used. It is best to use a pump or spray applicator to limit this exposure. This evaporation process can reduce the overall alcohol content over a long period of time, so it is best to keep replacing your sanitizer every few months if you haven't used it up already.
Is it safe to use expired hand sanitizer?
If you only have access to expired hand sanitizer, then definitely use it. Although it is much better to wash your hands with soap and water or use a non-expired sanitizer, it can still provide some sanitizing benefits, it's better than nothing!
- Hand sanitizer has a two to three year shelf life where it is most effective
- When hand sanitizer expires, the alcohol content level drops, making it less effective
- Hand sanitizer doesn't necessarily go bad, it just becomes less effective
- Replace your hand sanitizer when it expires to have full germ fighting effects