Ever since the Coronavirus incident, people started caring more about hand hygiene than ever. It might suddenly occur to you that you do have a bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag, which you just occasionally use in the past. And now, you’re probably wondering if it is still good to use.
Well, can you?
While most hand sanitizers have printed expiry dates on its bottles. If you don’t see one, you can assume that it’s already expired three years after you bought it.
“Hand sanitizer has an active ingredient, which is usually guaranteed to stay effective until its expiration date,” according to Dr. Andrew Alexis, MD, MPH, Chair Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai.
And the active ingredient is usually Ethanol or Isopropanol in 60% to 95% alcohol content. The CDC, WHO and FDA have stressed out the importance of using alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol to cleanse the hands.
“When you buy a hand sanitizer with only 60% Ethanol/Isopropyl, it would have evaporated more significantly for some time, rendering it less useful for killing germs and viruses. However, if it contains more than 70% alcohol, it still might have enough alcohol to inactivate viruses,” says the BeCleanse CEO, a hand sanitizer manufacturer with over 11 years of experience in the production of antibacterial products.
This means that alcohol is a volatile substance which can evaporate even at ambient temperatures. Ethanol and isopropanol boil more quickly than water in air.
So if your hand sanitizer has stayed more than 3 years and it contains only 60% alcohol, then it would be best to buy a new one. Remember, you are gambling with its effectiveness. Using an unexpired alcohol hand sanitizer can effectively clear your hands from the Coronavirus.
“It can still be used,” says Suzzan Willard, PhD, a Clinical Professor and Associate Dean for Global Health. “It’s better than using nothing,” she further says. “A liquid and some rubbing friction can help rid your hands from a few germs.”
BeCleanse CEO further points out, “The alcohol volume may have dropped to 60% or maybe less, but it can still kill some viruses at that point.”
If you haven’t opened the bottle yet and it stayed way past its shelf life, less alcohol would have evaporated. So this means it is more effective than a bottle that has been opened and has expired.
Still, according to the CDC, the best way to keep the hands clean from the Coronavirus is to wash them with soap and water. However, in the event that these are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be effective at killing the virus on the skin.
While the FDA does not comment on what you can do with expired hand sanitizers, it is still better to keep them at this time of global health crisis.
Hand sanitizers are in short-supply at a reported 1400% for the entire population. Even though the FDA granted temporary hand sanitizer production of distilleries and alcohol manufacturers, it still isn’t enough for all of us.
Most of the produced and stock hand sanitizers are being donated or sold to healthcare workers and frontliners. But with this speed up in production, the agency suggests ignoring the shelf-life date for the time being.
While the FDA discourages making homemade hand sanitizers, you can still try to make your own at your own risk. Again, it is better than nothing.
There are many recipes from around the internet, but you must pick a reliable one. A recipe that promotes 60% alcohol content and does not contain ingredients which can irritate or burn your skin.
Hand sanitizers do expire, but it still can be used, rather than using nothing. We are still facing a global crisis and the shortage of hand sanitizer supply is still evident. Hence, you can use your expired hand sanitizer to clean your hand if you can’t get hold of new stocks or if you’re not near the sink for handwashing.
You can also make your own hand sanitizer at your own risk. You should be able to hit the 60% alcohol content though for it to work effectively at killing the Coronavirus.
Even way better is if you can outsource reliable and high quality hand sanitizers from China.
At this point, we would like to recommend our product, BeCleanse, having 75% alcohol content, enough to rid the Coronavirus. We have an overflowing inventory and can deliver in just a matter of days. To know more, please visit our website or contact us for inquiries.