Expired Hand Sanitizer, Is It Safe to Use?



Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, hand sanitizer has become one of the most sought for commodities as it is proven to effectively, and safely, kill microorganisms that we might have been in contact with. 

    One important aspect that needs to be addressed is that hand sanitizers also have an expiration date, in which the Indonesian Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) usually imposes a ‘grace period’ for products before it gets expired. The period can range from two-to-three years after the product was produced. 

    However, would it be safe for us to use hand sanitizers that have passed its expiration date?

    Referring to the medical information website Healthline, hand sanitizer products are given an expiration date due to the active ingredients or chemical concentration’s deteriorating effectiveness as time passes. The ingredients can range from ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, alcohol, and ethanol. 

    The effectiveness of the aforementioned ingredients evaporates as it is exposed to air. When its alcohol level falls below 60%, the liquid will not be as effective in killing bacteria, viruses, and germs. But microbiologist Alex Berezow, who’s also the Vice President of Scientific Communications at the American Council on Science and Health, said that a little alcohol is considerably better than nothing.

    Alex Berezow said to Insider on March 29; "Soap is a detergent, which is why it gets all sudsy and bubbly. Detergents work by dissolving both water and oil, so it simply washes the microbes off your hands like it would wash the grease off a dinner plate."