Testing expired hand sanitizer for effectiveness

Are there any ways to test hand sanitizer?  I have some that is beyond the ‘best by’ date and would prefer not to waste it if it is still viable.


  • Comments (4)

    • 3

      Good morning Bigwig,

      I’m not answering your question.  I don’t know.

      What I’ve been doing is taking “expired” hand sanitizer and shooting a couple of squeezes of 91% alcohol (Walmart’s product has both screw lid and stream ability on top of screw lid).

      So far, my long ago injured hands still work factoring in arthritus.

      • 3

        Two of the active ingredients in most hand sanitizers are alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. Alcohol concentrations decrease through evaporation and hydrogen peroxide slowly converts to water over time making it less effective. 

        If you have stored your hand sanitizer unopened in a cool bathroom closet, it should be good for a while longer after it has expired compared to an opened to air bottle that you leave in your hot car. 

        Bob’s above tip on adding a squirt of alcohol probably will help revive it and extend the life. 

        It’s not necessarily going to be totally obsolete at the best by date, because each batch and storage situation is going to either slow down or speed up the decline of these products.

        Hand sanitizer is so cheap and easily available today because places have an excess, so even though I hate wasting things too, it might be a good time to replace it and get something you know will be the most effective. I saw a store offer a buy 1 get 2 free deal on hand sanitizer. They can’t get rid of the stuff fast enough. 

    • 3

      Your hand sanitizer may smell funky or different than you are used to, but that could be due to changes in manufacturing this past year and isn’t necessarily a sign that it has gone bad.

    • 2

      We test ours by taking a small amout and setting it on fire, if it burns once lit we consider it effective.