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Is Hand Sanitizer Toxic if Ingested?

Is Hand Sanitizer Toxic if Ingested?
May 11, 2020 Ellis James

Is hand sanitizer safe to eat?

Hand sanitizer has become a hot commodity over the past few months, and it has caused a lot of questions to be asked. How much sanitizer is too much? Is hand sanitizer toxic if ingested? These questions are all great ones, to make sure you’re using it correctly and that you’re aware of all the side effects and potential dangers.

In this article, we will be answering several of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to hand sanitizer.

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Let’s start with one of the most basic and perhaps the most asked question.

Why Do We Use Hand Sanitizers?

Originally, hand sanitizers were invented to be a cleaning aid when water and soap were not close at hand. These gels are formulated with alcohol as the primary ingredients used to kill germs that live and find their way onto human skin.

The alcohol used in the creation is instantaneous in its effect, but it can dry skin out. That is why sanitizers include some sort of moisturizing ingredients.

In order to see it effectively, you should use a small amount on the palm of both hands and then rub it into the entire hand. If the product dry quickly, then you may be able to add a few extra drops.

Using hand sanitizer regularly can help keep you from being exposed to too many germs, and this will help decrease the frequency of illnesses.

Pros and Cons of Hand Sanitizer

Pros

  • Hand sanitizer kills germs very well and quite fast. Its high alcohol content is responsible for this, and by using it, you may see a reduced number of sick days
  • If you are not near water and soap, it is very easy to keep a small hand sanitizer bottle with you at all times. This makes its accessibility one of the best things about hand sanitizer
  • The value is great. Not only is hand sanitizer rather cheap, but a little of it goes a long way. This means that a small bottle of hand sanitizer can last you a long time

Cons

  • Not all hand sanitizer brands are created equal. This means that switching between them can change the effectiveness of the product and leave you exposed to germs
  • Hand sanitizer doesn’t really clean your hands. In fact, it is suggested to wash your hands before using hand sanitizer for the best performance
  • Using hand sanitizer too much can be detrimental to your health, as it kills all the germs — both bad and good. This can weaken your immune system and increase the chance of you getting sick

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Can Hand Sanitizer Kill You?

Of course, anything that has large doses of alcohol could be potentially dangerous, but hand sanitizer won’t kill you. You should definitely keep it out of the hands of small children, though.

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If you do ingest hand sanitizer and take too much, you could end up with alcohol poisoning. Other than that, it can make you very sick, as well. The best rule, if you have ingested any amount of hand sanitizer, is to try to expel it immediately.

Is It Safe to Eat After Using Hand Sanitizer?

Most professional kitchens use soap and water to clean their hands, but hand sanitizer is also acceptable. If kitchens allow it, then it should be safe, right? The answer is a little convoluted.

Hand sanitizer is primarily made with alcohol, so there is no relative danger from eating with your hands after using it. That is, unless they are scented or formulated with other properties, like moisturizing ingredients.

This means that other chemicals have been added, and that could lead to the ingestion of chemicals that are not intended to be ingested.

The best way to deal with these issues is to not use hand sanitizer, but rather opt for washing your hands with antibacterial soap right before eating. Alternatively, you can lightly wash your hands with water after you apply the hand sanitizer.

Can You Use Hand Sanitizer on a Baby?

Hand sanitizer is safe to use for the adults of the family, but what about the little ones?

Because hand sanitizer is made with alcohol, it is not very safe for use on a baby. There are specialized hand sanitizers that are formulated for babies that do not contain any alcohol.

Most experts would say the best thing to use for a baby is good old fashioned water and soap.

There are plenty of great options out there to choose from if you decide you want to go with a hand sanitizer for your baby. Products like Babyganics Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer are great, especially if you are a mom or dad on the go. These come in small, travel-size bottles.

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Most baby hand sanitizers will be fragrance-free, and some will even foam when you use them.

Remember, even though these hand sanitizers may be alcohol-free, they will often have other chemicals in them. Thus, you will still want to keep them from the prying little fingers of your baby or toddler. If ingested, the child could get terribly sick, so store it in your purse or someplace that your little ones can’t get to.

Is hand sanitizer toxic if ingested?

So…is hand sanitizer toxic if ingested? The answer is yes, but it will not kill you.

If ingested by a person with a small frame, the high alcohol content can lead to alcohol poisoning. This is especially true in children, and that is why it is suggested to invest in a non alcohol-based sanitizer for them, or simply use soap and water.

Don’t forget that even though soap and water are preferable to hand sanitizers when washing up, you should not wash your face with hand soap.

Understanding what hand sanitizer is used for and the precautions you need to take when using it will help you get the most out of the product.

Hopefully, this information has answered all the questions you may have had while trying to purchase the right hand sanitizer for you and your family!

What are your favorite non-alcohol based hand sanitizers?

Comments (20)

  1. Honeycombee 5 months ago

    Interesting to read especially since we’ve been using hand sanitizer so much lately! Thanks for the information =o)

    http://honeycombee.com/

  2. Sophie Wentworth 5 months ago

    I don’t think I’ve ever used any that aren’t alcohol based but I try not to use them too often. I have really dry skin and find them too stripping for me most of the time so only use them in an absolute pinch x

    Sophie

    • They really can be very drying, I don’t make a habit of using them too often over hand washing!

  3. Lovely 5 months ago

    Such an interesting post specially at this time, We try not use it as often as possible and wash our hands more with soap.

    xoxo
    Lovely
    http://www.mynameislovely.com

  4. Ashley 5 months ago

    This is so informative- definitely handy to have this knowledge during the COVID crisis. 🙂

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

  5. So much to know about hand sanitizer! This is so informative… I can’t believe people would even think they could ingest it, I would think that is a no brainer.

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

    • It’s more in terms of “if I accidentally ingest some due to my eagerness to be clean, will I still be ok?”, definitely definitely don’t eat huge amounts out of curiosity!

  6. Deborah Kos 5 months ago

    I have heard good and bad things about hand sanitizers. I know we have to be careful with them. I look for the most natural and safe hand sanitizer I can find.

    • Everything in moderation and it helps to be cautious even in things we use for precaution!

  7. Divine 5 months ago

    Thankd for sharing this information. I didn’t know that constantly using hand sanitizer could be harmful to one.

  8. Katerina 5 months ago

    I’m trying to avoid using hand sanitiser as much as I can (sticking to soap) but this is such useful information! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Caitlin 5 months ago

    Greatly timely article with helpful information!

  10. Sarah 4 months ago

    I find sometimes hand sanitisers can be a bit drying due to their alcohol content, nothing beats soap and water! xo

    • Agreed! Hand sanitizers can be quite drying, and hand washing is more preferable anyway!

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