Now that the entire world has been sent into a state of panic with the onset of the coronavirus, a lot of health-based supplies like sanitisers are going out of stock since people are buying them in bulk. But have these people thought about the fact that they may not require so much sanitiser? And what happens when the sanitiser expires? Because it does expire.
Hand sanitisers usually have an expiry date of three years post its manufacture. The reason why sanitisers even expire is that after a certain point in time their alcohol content dissolves and reaches below 60% which isn't all that great in killing bacteria. However, if the bottle hasn't been opened then the sanitiser may still work fine.
While basic soap and water work just fine in getting rid of bacteria and germs from your hands, if you don't have access to these you can use sanitisers. They can help kill germs and can also render them inactive. However, as we mentioned earlier, hand sanitisers need to have at least 60% alcohol in order to really be effective. When you open a bottle of sanitiser, the alcohol inside slowly starts to evaporate. Eventually, the alcohol content begins to fade away.
"If the concentration goes below 60% alcohol, then it loses some effectiveness," says an expert. The experts also suggest that even if you only have access to expired sanitiser it's best that you use it. "Some alcohol is better than nothing," they said. They also mentioned that a closed bottle of expired sanitiser will work better than one that was open. And in a worst-case scenario, you can always make your own sanitiser.
But of course, it is always better to use soap and water. "It is a bad idea to use hand sanitizers in the home," the expert says. "People will use them instead of washing their hands, which is a much better way to get rid of a virus." So, the bottom line is: Wash your hands with soap and water as often as possible and use hand sanitiser only when you have no access to soap.