In 2020, no household product loomed as large in the public consciousness as hand sanitiser. Back in March of that year — before we knew COVID-19 is mostly spread through the air rather than by you touching your face — the stuff was practically liquid gold. Shelves were emptied. Prices skyrocketed. Some people tried to make their own.
The most likely result of all that madness is that, two+ years later, you have a large reserve of hand sanitiser sitting in your home, gathering dust. After all, your hands can only get so clean. But did you know hand sanitiser has a number of other household uses that have nothing to do with cleaning your palms? Here are 10 ways to use up your hand sanitiser stockpile around the house.
Erase permanent marker from a white board
Look, accidents happen. Sometimes you’ll unknowingly take a permanent marker to the white board, leaving behind scribbles that a standard white board eraser can’t touch. When this happens, grab the nearest bottle of hand sanitiser and a paper towel. Spread a bit of the stuff across your white board and then use the paper towel to wipe away any and all residue.
Remove residue from stickers
If you’ve ever peeled the sticker off of a new product (like a fancy water bottle or any other glassware) and been disappointed to see it left behind a translucent, noticeable film, fret not. One of the best ways to remove this gunk is to take a bit of hand sanitiser, mix it with water, and gently run it over the afflicted area. You should have a presentable, residue-free product in no time.
Treat mosquito bites
Bothered by the itchiness of a pesky mosquito bite? A little bit of hand sanitiser can go a long way to providing you some relief. As assistant clinical professor of dermatology at University of Southern California in Los Angeles Dr. Wu explained to Healthline, hand sanitiser’s antiseptic qualities could help prevent your bites from getting infected, and the stinging sensation it creates “helps distract you from the itch.”
If you accidentally left your home without putting deodorant on, there is hope. In a pinch, hand sanitiser can be used to keep your armpits fresher than they would be otherwise, as the alcohol in it will kill the bacteria that causes body odor. Will it leave you smelling like lavender or sea mist or whatever dumb scent is listed on your Speed Stick? No. But beggars can’t be choosers. (Though maybe think twice before trying this on freshly shaved ‘pits.)
Here’s a ritzy use for your COVID-era stockpile. According to the New York Times, hand sanitiser is useful when polishing silver. “Before polishing,” the paper notes, “always clean your silver with aloe-free, alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Often it will remove a significant amount of tarnish.” Apply a little bit of hand sanitiser to a cotton ball, pad, or swab, and gently rub your silver until clean, then polish as normal.
Use in place of a dry shampoo
If your hair has seen better days but you don’t have access to any dry shampoo (or better yet, a shower), hand sanitiser will do the trick of removing excess grease. Home Upward writes, “the alcohol in hand sanitiser can absorb moisture, which in turn removes the excess oils from your hair. And if there are any germs or bacteria in your hair, the hand sanitiser helps eliminate those as well.” This is isn’t exactly a long-term solution however, as prolonged exposure to alcohol isn’t going to do your hair or scalp any favours.
Clean make-up brushes
Turns out hand sanitiser is a big help in cleaning used makeup brushes, because the alcohol will kill any bacteria that’s built up in the brush head. Make-up artist Tom Pecheux is a fan; as he told Into The Gloss, “for synthetic brushes, like lip and concealer brushes, I use hand sanitiser on them after each use.”
Easily remove a bandage
As luck would have it, it turns out you have alternatives other than “just ripping off the band-aid.” As with sticker residue removal, putting a dollop of hand sanitiser on a cotton swab and slowly working it underneath the sticky side of the band-aid will release the adhesive. After a minute or two, you should be able to painlessly remove the bandage.
Clean your keyboard/mouse
If you don’t stay on top of it, your keyboard and mouse can get grimy pretty quickly, but hand sanitiser can help. Apply some to a paper towel (or a microfiber cloth, if you have one) and run it in between the crevasses of the keyboard to kill bacteria and pick up any loose dirt and grit.
Remove nail polish
If you find yourself in a fashion emergency with no nail polish remover in sight, not all hope is lost, provided you can get your hands on some sanitiser. The alcohol in it will act as a solvent to soften nail polish, making it easier to remove. First, soak your nails in lukewarm water to soften them, and then wet a cotton ball with hand sanitiser and use it to rub your nails until the polish comes away. It will take a lot more effort than using a more powerful chemical, but in a fashion emergency, you make do.