Homes, kitchens, offices, and classrooms have been using hand sanitizers for years. They allow us to quickly disinfect our hands without having to rush to the restroom or kitchen sink. Their dispensers also come in many different options, from touch free hand sanitizer mounts to floor stands to regular bottles depending on your preference and environment.
With all that said, many people still have questions about if and how these antibacterial sanitizers really work. Interested in learning more? Follow along below to get all of your hand sanitizer questions answered.
Do hand sanitizers expire?
The typical expiration date is around 3 years post-manufacturing to guarantee its effectiveness. Since hand sanitizers are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is required that they contain an expiration date and lot number.
With that said, do not be concerned if you have used a sanitizer past its expiration. Over time the active ingredient, alcohol, will evaporate, making its concentration fall below its original amount (usually around 70%). This makes the product less effective, but not dangerous to use. Although it could take years for this to occur, we recommend always purchasing new hand sanitizer once it reaches its expiration to ensure its stability and efficiency.
What is in hand sanitizer?
Ingredients in hand sanitizers can vary by brand, but they almost always contain:
- Ethyl alcohol
- Isopropyl alcohol
Other ingredients could include:
- Tocopheryl Acetate
Do hand sanitizers work?
In short, yes. Hand sanitizers are fantastic at fighting important germs through killing their cells (without harming human cells).
It is very important to note that hand sanitizers do not replace the job of antibacterial soap and water. If your hands are dirty, do not only use sanitizer. Sanitizers are instead to be used alongside regular hand washing.
How long does hand sanitizer last?
Based on a Heathpoint survey, more than half of Americans believe that hand sanitizers last up to 6 hours after application. In reality, they last around 2 minutes. While that does not sound like a long time, those two minutes can be very helpful if, for example, you come into contact with someone sick. The Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) also stated that, ‘Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are fast acting and significantly reduce the number of many types of germs on the skin.’
As we previously mentioned, using hand sanitizers in combination with soap and water is a safe routine to kill germs.
Does hand sanitizer kill viruses?
Most hand sanitizers will kill 99.99% or more of most bacteria, fungi, as well as stop various viruses. They’re effective in killing this amount in 30 seconds or less, making them a great way to protect against the spreading of germs and illness in public settings.