Hand sanitizers have an expiration date on their bottle just like toothpaste does. This date is typically 3 years from the date of manufacturing to guarantee its stability and effectiveness. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use sanitizer beyond its expiration date.
It’s a little weaker than a freshly opened bottle, but is still better than nothing. Don’t toss any old bottles you’re coming across while cleaning out your purses!
If expired hand sanitizer is your only choice, use it!
Hand sanitizers are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so they’re required to have an expiration date. However, in a pinch, you can still use expired hand sanitizer to cleanse your hands. “Some alcohol is better than nothing,” Berezow says.
If a bottle hasn’t been opened, less of the alcohol will have evaporated, so a freshly-opened bottle of hand-sanitizer that is past its expiration date will likely be more effective than a bottle that is expired and has already been opened.
If you’re unable to buy hand sanitizer, you can make your own, but it is much better to just wash your hands. Bloom emphasizes that — when possible — washing your hands with soap and water is always preferable to using hand sanitizer, especially at home where you, presumably, always have access to soap and water.
“It is a bad idea to use hand sanitizers in the home,” Bloom says. “People will use them instead of washing their hands, which is a much better way to get rid of a virus.” In addition, hand sanitizer will not effectively clean your hands if they are visibly dirty.
At home, rubbing alcohol is better used to disinfect surfaces, which can limit the number of germs that you pick up when you touch those surfaces. Just as with hand sanitizer, you’ll want wipes or a homemade solution with at least 60% alcohol.
So yes, it is still good! It’s a little weaker than a freshly opened bottle, but is still better than nothing. Don’t toss any old bottles you’re coming across while cleaning out your purses!