Psst, Did You Know Hand Sanitizer Is Also a Super Effective Stain Remover?

hand sanitizer stain remover 400

At this point in 2020, we’re going to go ahead and assume that you (and everyone you know) is sitting on a stockpile of hand sanitizer. Or, at the very least, you’ve got a bottle or two floating around your home. Well, did you know that aside from doing a really solid job at cleaning your hands on the go, hand sanitizer doubles as a stain remover? 

Yup, it’s true. And it’s pretty effective, too. I learned this the hard way after dropping my entire breakfast on a pair of pale green leggings a few weeks back. With a not-so-delightful mix of avocado, egg and sriracha smooshed onto my pants, I assumed they were headed straight for the trash. But after a little sleuthing, I decided to put this wild suggestion from the internet to the test and grabbed a spray bottle of hand sanitizer. And I’m pleased to share that my leggings were spared a fateful trip to the garbage shoot; they now look as good as new.

Curious? Here’s everything you need to know about using hand sanitizer as a stain remover—especially while you’re on-the-go.

First of all, what type of stains does hand sanitizer work on?

Because the main ingredient in most hand sanitizers is alcohol, you can use it to treat anything that rubbing alcohol can typically tackle. That means you can trust it to get rid of pen marks, hot sauce stains, grease, grass stains and makeup of almost every kind—including lipstick.

However, you should know that this stain-removing hack will be most effective if you treat the spot as soon as possible. So, if you’re out running errands or eating lunch when an ‘oops’ moment occurs, don’t wait before whipping out your hand sanitizer and getting at it. 

And what fabrics can I use it on?

This alcohol-heavy substance will work safely on quite a few fabrics, but you’ll want to avoid using it on anything that includes rayon, wool, acetate or silk. Go ahead and use it on cotton T-shirts, most carpets and even leather—just be sure to spot test it first before going all-in on your precious pieces. 

Will all hand sanitizer work?

In my experience, both liquid and gel hand sanitizer work equally as well. That said, you’ll want to stay away from anything with super powerful scents or additional dyes, to avoid staining your item even further.

Now, without further ado, here’s how to remove stains using hand sanitizer:

1. Liberally apply the hand sanitizer to the stain and let it sit for five to 10 minutes.

2. Rub the area with a cloth or clean toothbrush.

3. Repeat steps one and two until the stain starts to fade.

4. Once the stain is barely perceptible, toss your item in the wash as soon as you can.

5. Voilà, your stain should be gone!

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Fashion Editor

From 2019-2021 Dena Silver held the role of Fashion Editor covering product recommendations, trends, and what you should be shopping this season.