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Is It Okay to Put Hand Sanitizer on Cuts and Wounds? 

Can you apply hand sanitizer on cuts & wounds?

hand sanitizer on cuts

Cuts & wounds surely trouble our routine. People want them to heal quickly, so they can work freely. After the pandemic ended, there were many habits that people picked up, and one of them was using hand sanitizers. They are easy to carry & use; hence, many may ponder that it comes in handy to tend wounds and cuts. Many people presume that rubbing alcohol is a great antiseptic and will help in healing cuts or wounds. As rubbing alcohol is a key ingredient in many hand sanitizers, many may think it is okay to put alcohol-based hand sanitizer on cuts & wounds. Is it true? Let’s find out.

Can you treat cuts & wounds using hand sanitizer?

One may think that a small cut or wound can be treated with first aid & home remedies. While it may be true, provided that the knowledge is factually correct. To treat minor cuts & wounds, one needs to aid the body in increasing the healing rate or killing the pathogens. Using substances that either slow down the healing rate or produce other cascading effects (opening up the wound, killing healthy cells, etc.) of the wound or cut can be dangerous. The answer to using hand sanitizer on cuts or wounds is neither yes nor no. Why? Because we need to understand the composition of hand sanitizer before concluding. 

hand sanitizer on cuts

If you check out our blog section, you will find various articles addressing hand sanitizers. Curious ones can check out our article on hand sanitizer dispensing ideas

Hand sanitizers come in direct contact with your skin. Skin is the protective barrier of the human body that restricts the entry of foreign organisms & particles. When you apply hand sanitizer to open cuts & wounds, it directly comes into direct contact with the blood & flesh. What do hand sanitizers contain?

Why the composition of hand sanitizer is vital before applying it on cuts & wounds?

hand sanitizer on cuts

Hand sanitizers can be classified based on their composition as alcohol-based & alcohol-free. While alcohol is a great antiseptic and will annihilate pathogenic cells, it doesn’t discriminate while doing the task. Alcohol causes dehydration and in the process, kills healthy cells, which slows down the natural healing process of the human body. So, technically the cut or wound is still an opening which is an open feast for pathogens. Alcohol-free hand sanitizers don’t have the detrimental effects of alcohol. They help in sanitizing the area around the cut or wound. Once you sanitize, ensure that a bandage is applied to help the body heal itself.

What are the pathogens? Check out a detailed blog on pathogens.

Did you know? A healthy human body is capable of healing minor cuts & wounds by itself. Bleeding helps in the removal of pathogens and contaminants like dust & dirt. A healthy immune system ensures that the healing process is not disturbed by pathogens. But by applying hand sanitizer, the cut or wound may get exposed again. Hence, the bandage is necessary. 

hand sanitizer on cuts

Note - One should be careful while using alcohol-free hand sanitizers, as there may be other constituents that may slow down the natural healing process of the body. Check out for other alternatives such as an antibiotic ointment. One needs to note that they can’t use an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin on every wound or cut. Check out the blog on Neosporin.

Why do people think alcohol-based sanitizers heals cuts & wounds?

hand sanitizer on cuts

The reason behind it is the nature of alcohol. The belief is that alcohol acts as an antiseptic that eradicates pathogens. But it is false, as it won’t be able to produce the effect intended. The primary reason has already been discussed, but even if the wound is fresh, one may presume using an alcohol-based sanitizer. But, alcohol is incapable of removing dirt, dust, and other debris, which may get stuck in the wound. These foreign particles not only slow down the healing process but may provide an opening for the entry of pathogens. It may increase the chance of infection. 

Check out our blog on Hand Sanitizer Vs Alcohol-Based Hand Rubs

Can you use soap & water to treat your cuts & wounds?

Soap & water help in rinsing the wound from contaminants, if the bleeding didn’t get rid of them. Using a mild soap will do the job. Soap doesn’t kill healthy cells as alcohol does. Instead, it just keeps the wound clean. But soap & water still don’t get rid of the pathogens. To ensure the wound is free from pathogens, you may use an alcohol-free hand sanitizer, but the best option is to use an antibiotic ointment. 

Which hand sanitizers can you apply?

hand sanitizer on cuts

It would be better if you avoid using hand sanitizers, and instead use soap & water. But, you can opt to use any alcohol-free hand sanitizer which has anti-bacterial properties. Well although it does eliminate the side effects, it may still not produce the required effects of soap & water (removal of dirt & other debris). Antibacterial hand sanitizer will aid in the quick healing of the cells too. Any alcohol-free sanitizer can do the trick. 

Note -

Always note that you must check & confirm other substances of the alcohol-free sanitizer. There may be some other substances that may damage the healthy cells by dehydrating them or cause hindrance to the natural healing process. If you feel discomfort or observe a slow healing rate, don’t re-apply with the alcohol-free hand sanitizer.


We recommend that you completely avoid the application of alcohol-based hand sanitizers as they cause dehydration of healthy cells, thus destroying them. It delays the natural healing process. Moreover, they don’t remove dust, dirt, and other debris from the cut or wound. So, their only positive (antiseptic properties) get easily overshadowed by their two vices.

hand sanitizer on cuts

One can surely apply anti-bacterial alcohol-free hand sanitizers on cuts & wounds. Being alcohol-free, the ill effects of alcohol don’t arise, while the pathogen annihilation still does happen. Yet one must be careful using them as there can be other constituents that may cause harm. Our recommendation would be a simple wash of mild soap & water on the cuts & wounds. It removes any foreign particles, cleans the cuts or wounds, and destroys any pathogens.