Hand Sanitizer Does Expire
If you can get your hands on a bottle of a name-brand hand sanitizer like Purell, you will likely find an expiration date on the bottle itself or the label. Many people question whether or not it can go bad or become less effective after this date.
The answer is that hand sanitizer does expire. Most sanitizers are typically made up using a minimum of 60% alcohol, which is enough to kill germs when applied to your hands. However, that percentage of alcohol starts to decrease through evaporation after the bottle of sanitizer is opened.
As the volume in your bottle of sanitizer decreases, so does the effectiveness of the solution.
Soap and Water Are a Safer Bet
There is no set rule about how long it can take for a sanitizer to lose its alcohol content, however, most expiration dates are set for three years after the time of production.
If you find an old and opened bottle of hand sanitizer somewhere with an expiration date that has passed, it’s probably not ideal to use it unless you have no other option. If the bottle hasn’t been opened, but the expiration date has still passed, you may have more luck since it’s likely to have higher alcohol content.
In most cases, it is best to wash your hands using soap and water whenever they are available.