Can Hand Sanitizer Stain Clothes? How to Avoid It?

boy using sanitizer

Hand sanitizers have become a part and parcel of our lives. With the increased use of sanitizers, some concerns have also cropped up. One of then being “Does hand sanitizer stain clothes?”

Yes!! You really can end up with a blemish on your favorite dress if you aren’t alert. Irrespective of whether you are using an alcohol-based or non-alcoholic sanitizer, the different elements present in the composition have a bleaching effect on the fabric. This causes the color of the fabric to fade in whichever portion, small or large, the sanitizer has come in contact with.

Thus, it is recommended that you keep your hands away from your clothes till they have fully dried out after the application of hand sanitizer.

Does hand sanitizer stain? How?

  • The alcohol present in alcohol based sanitizers is a natural stain remover that discolors the area of the garment that it comes in contact with.
  • Even the alcohol-free hand sanitizers do not relieve you from getting faded blemishes on the dress, if you are not that cautious with your hand movements. The benzalkonium chloride present in the solution has a bleaching property which discolors the clothes.
  • Thus, it is clear that hand sanitizers can stain clothes and we need to be cautious after its use.

Can hand sanitizer stain all clothes?

Hand sanitizers can create stain on different varieties of clothes. But it has a greater impact on some and mild to nil on others.

Sensitive Varity of Clothes

  1. Keep off from dark-colored clothing since the bleached specs caused by hand sanitizers easily strike the eye.
  2. A jacket made of dyed leather is a fashion trend during the chilly season but at the same time is prone to the bleaching effect of hand sanitizer. A tiny portion of the attire with the original leather color will destroy the appearance of the dyed surface. Therefore, it would be wise to wear dresses with natural-looking leather embellishments.
  3. Hand sanitizing gels and liquids tend to affect the porous suede fabric other than making its color fade through its bleaching trait. Try to resist wearing fancy suede tops or blouses if you are not alert enough of your sanitizer-rubbed hands.
  4. Whether sarees or dresses, silks, and chiffons need to be avoided since the hand sanitizer is too harsh on such delicate fabrics and causes immediate discoloration even at the slightest contact.
Sanitizer bottle

Stain Resistant Clothes

  1. Cotton clothes, especially light colored garments do not stain easily.
  2. Polyester and like garments are also stain resistant.

Does Hand Sanitizer Stain Clothes Permanently?

The bleached spots on fabrics caused by coming in contact with hand sanitizers are hard to remove. The more the outfit’s color fades out in the affected portions or spots, the more these become noticeable thereby, destroying the look of the entire garment.


You are warned not to rub these areas vehemently since these are no ordinary food stains. They will not come off by rubbing them rather they are permanent stains. In case, the hand sanitizer is of the gel type and a small drop of it has fallen on your cloth then quickly wipe it off before the fabric gets smeared any further. It would be wise to avoid the above-mentioned fabrics and cautiously handle the hand sanitizer since the damage caused by it is irreparable.

Check the Hand Sanitizers which FDA has cautioned not to use.

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