ZocdocAnswersI heard hand sanitizer stops working if you use it too much. How much is too much in a day?

Question

I heard hand sanitizer stops working if you use it too much. How much is too much in a day?

I heard hand sanitizer stops working if you use it too much. How much is too much in a day?

Answer

Thanks for your question and I recommend that you further discuss it with your doctor. Hand sanitizers work by killing a certain percentage of bacteria that are present. That is why you will often see comments on some products citing the percentage of "germs" that they kill. While I have not heard that these products become less effective with time, there is a general concern that too much of these products that kill "most" of the germs could cause the germs that survive to become resistant to these products. In other words, we could be raising resistant strains of bacteria and viruses by our overuse of these products. This is similar to the concern that people have about antibiotics, which is why your doctor is encouraged to prescribe antibiotics judiciously. With regards to your question, I don't know that there is an absolute amount that would be too much. The manufacturer of each product would likely give an answer that may differ from product to product, and they may be one of the best sources for this sort of information. In general, the act of washing your hands regularly will help to flush off bacteria, even resistant bacteria, and help to keep you safe in addition to sanitizer. Please speak with your doctor about this question.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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