Does hand sanitizer expire?

Over the past two years, sanitizers have become a daily essential for many of us. During the early stages of the pandemic, many people were stocked up on hand sanitizer, leading to a shortage.

If you’ve still got some excess sanitizer kicking around, keep in mind that it has an expiry date.

When does it expire?

The expiry date is usually listed at the top or the side of the packaging. At Ethisan, we stamp the expiry date and lot number on the side of the bottle. Since hand sanitizers are regulated by Health Canada (and the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S.), manufacturers are required to include this information.

An expiration date reflects the duration for which the product is known to remain stable when stored properly, ensuring its quality, purity, and effectiveness. These are derived from experiments conducted by the manufacturer estimating the time it takes for alcohol percentage to drop below 90% of the ABV listed on the label. 

Typically, hand sanitizers last two to three years before expiring.

Will it still work after expiry?

Yes, expired hand sanitizers will still work but not as effectively. The effectiveness of a hand sanitizer is determined by the percentage of alcohol remaining in the liquid. If that percentage drops below 60%, the sanitizer will cross a critical threshold of effectiveness against pathogens.

When you can, opt for a new sanitizer and look for an airtight container design, a high concentration of alcohol, and all natural ingredients — all of which can be found at Ethisan.

What affects the expiry of hand sanitizers?

There are many factors that can affect the expiry date of your hand sanitizer. 

The Container – Exposure to air causes the gradual evaporation of alcohol. Properly sealed containers regulate the rate of evaporation. Although common bottles generally protect the sanitizer from being overexposed to air, it is not always airtight.

ABV – The concentration of alcohol is another contributing factor to its expiry date. A sanitizer comprised of 60% alcohol will become ineffective sooner. This is one of the reasons Ethisan products contain a minimum of 70% ethyl alcohol.

Amount – In larger bottles the contents take a longer time to reduce past the 90% benchmark. That is why at Ethisan, we offer a variety of sizes from 30ml bottles to 1 litre bottles.

Ingredients – Generally, harsher chemicals like parabens or synthetic ingredients tend to last longer time. At Ethisan, we offer a clean ethanol-based formula that is non-harmful and longer lasting. 

How to effectively use Ethisan hand sanitizers

Follow the instructions listed below and on the bottles.

  • Rub through hands for at least 30 seconds and allow it to dry
  • Supervise children (ages two and over) when they use this product

Recommended storage conditions:

  • Keep in a cool place
  • Avoid direct sunlight exposure

Browse our products to learn more.