Can Hand Sanitizer Stain Clothes? How to Avoid It?

Despite what people think, hand sanitizers don’t really stain clothes.

However, you see this stain on your dress after spilling hand sanitizer over it. What is it? Keep scrolling and I’ll explain it to you.

I’ll be covering the following sections in this article:

Can Hand Sanitizer Stain Clothes

Does hand sanitizer actually stain clothes?

First, let’s make sure we understand what “hand sanitizer stain” means. 

Hand sanitizer stains are the marks left by spilled hand sanitizer on your clothes. This is caused by chemical reactions between the ingredients of the sanitizer and the fabric. These marks are commonly called bleaching spots or fading spots.

The reaction bleaches your clothes, and the color is lost. Thus, the cloth appears stained.

hand sanitizer stain clothes

In order to make things clearer, there are two types of hand sanitizers:

  1. Alcohol-based sanitizer
  2. Alcohol-free sanitizer

Alcohol-based contains:

  • At least 60% of alcohol
  • Either ethanol or rubbing alcohol

Alcohol-free contains:

  • Benzalkonium chloride

It doesn’t matter what kind you use, both kinds can cause those bleaching spots. They each have a different combination of ingredients, which can ruin your clothes.

What kind of fabrics do hand sanitizers spoil?

Hand sanitizers can spoil all sorts of clothes. But it has a greater impact on some and mild to nil on others.

Naturally dyed fabrics like cotton, silk, linen, and leather are especially susceptible to damage.

Here are some of the clothes that are particularly affected by hand sanitizer:

Dark-colored clothes

Dark-colored clothes are more susceptible to getting stains from sanitizers. The bleached spots on darker clothes are more noticeable.

Leather garments

Leather garments are dyed to give them color. The bleaching agent in the hand sanitizer causes a chemical reaction when it comes in contact with them. The dye gets removed from the area of contact.

You can remove stains from leather clothes. Check out this video to see how it works.



Another cloth that is susceptible to sanitizer bleaching is suede. As the material is porous, it absorbs liquid rapidly. This makes it easier for the bleaching agent to damage the fabric.

Silk and chiffons

It’s hard to avoid hand sanitizer stains on soft and delicate fabrics like silk and chiffon. These fragile clothes can lose their color in just a few seconds.

If you’re anything like me, you drop hand sanitizer on your clothes all the time. I know how it feels to see your clothes getting ruined. What if I told you that you can get these stains out? Keep scrolling to find out how.

How to remove hand sanitizers from clothes?

There’s no easy way to get hand sanitizer off clothes. In fact, once the fabric comes into contact with the solution, you can only think about damage control.

However, I have a few tips for you.

  1. Try gently rubbing it off if it hasn’t been on your clothes for a long time. Do not rub too forcefully as it might damage the garment further. Wash it immediately.
  2. Another way to control the damage is to hide the bleached spots with clothing accessories.
  3. Take it to a professional cleaner if you can to avoid doing more damage.
how to get rid of hand sanitizers

How to avoid staining clothes while using hand sanitizer?

The best approach to avoid getting your clothes stained is to be cautious with your hand movements.

  1. Go for hand sanitizers with a low alcohol percentage (60%).
  2. Ensure that you use the hand sanitizer only on your hands, keeping it away from your body and clothes.
  3. Keep your hands away from your clothes until the sanitizer is completely dry.

As long as you take precautions, you will never get stains on your clothes when you use hand sanitizer.

We all know accidents happen! It’s easy to spill hand sanitizer today since we use it so often. Though accidents can’t be prevented, being careful when using sanitizer can help.

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