Expired hand sanitizer

Dumb guy science question here.
I came across an old half-empty 2L jug of hand sanitizer that expired in 2011 (I know, I know).
My understanding from reading the interwebs is that the effectiveness is reduced due to evaporation of the active ingredient (ethyl alcohol 62%, according to the label).

Question: Could I “reconstitute” the remaining ~1L by adding isopropyl alchohol to the remaining content? If so, should I? Just trying to salvage the content and avoid the elevated price of replacement, if feasible.

I tried to google, but was presented approximately 847563784957 versions of the same article warning me that hand sanitizer has an expiration date <gasp!>…

Thanks in advance!

1 Like

OK, here’s my non-scientific answer.

Since there are articles telling how to make your own DIY hand sanitizer by combining iso alcohol to aloe vera gel, I don’t see that what you’re proposing is any different.

I didn’t run the math on how much to add so that you end up with the 60% alcohol content that the CDC recommends. That would depend on the concentration of the iso alcohol that you’re adding.

5 Likes

I definitely agree with all of this. I would just recommend that this is hand sanitizer you use for yourself, probably don’t try and donate it to a business or a hospital or something

Absolutely intending for personal household usage. Thanks!

1 Like

If the sanitizer was in a sealed jug: The gas space above the gel in the container would reach a equilibrium (saturation) based on temperature with the alcohol in the gel and that would prevent it from evaporating out of the gel further. At worst, condensation of alcohol on the walls would lead to a slightly-less than 62% gel in the top center of the gel surface and a slightly-more than 62% gel at the top periphery of the jug.

The best thing to do would be to donate it and use soap+water, which is more effective than sanitizers, as soap+water removes fomites (the bits of gunk that carry bacteria and viruses).