What Happens If You Swallow Hand Sanitizer? [Toxic Results]

what happens if you swallow hand sanitizer

During the pandemic, the world order of hygienic change completely. Many new products gained popularity within a short period of time. No one was aware of the name hand sanitizer before the spread of coronavirus. If we see the sale volume of this product in the previous 5 years, it really peaked.

It is a transparent, gelly antiseptic active against pathogens. With the inclusion of alcohol as the main content it is not advised or good for oral use, ingestion, swallowing, and drinking.

What happens if you swallow hand sanitizer? It’s Ok to have a small amount accidentally. However, if consumed orally in large amounts, it is likely to show intoxicating effects of alcohol. The common side effects of overdosing are abdominal pain, headache, speech difficulty, dizziness, nausea, and blurry vision. It’s for External Application Only.

If taken regularly it may have life-threatening results. In this article, you will read how three people died after drinking this product in large amounts. The good tip is to try to buy it in small size packing, not in big size containers.

Keep going for more tips!

What Is Hand Sanitizer & Ingredient In It?

Hand sanitizer(BAC) is an extra active cleaning product for external use. It contains ingredients that kill pathogens, especially viruses. It is available in gel or liquid form. It is more effective than soap against a few pathogens. It is widely used when soap and water are not available. Unlike soap, you need not rinse your hands immediately when applying sanitizer. 

There are two types of hand sanitizers based on ingredients:

  1. Alcohol-Based Hand sanitizer
  2. Alcohol- Free Hand sanitizer

The main ingredient of Alchohol based product is 60%alchohol or alcohol variants such as:

  • Ethanol
  • Isopropanol
  • N-propanol
  • Methanol

The main ingredients of alcohol-free are cleaning agents such as:

  • Benzalkonium chloride (BAC)
  • Antimicrobial agents 
  • Triclosan

All of the ingredients mentioned above are toxic. They are safe for external use only not for oral intake.

Why You Should Not Swallow Hand sanitizer: 5 Reasons

There are many reasons that stop you from ingesting hygienic products like sanitizer. Without reading the labels on any bottle, it is not recommended tgo drink or swallow it. If somehow the label is torn or you cant read it, it is important to inquire properly before drinking.

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Below are a few reasons for not swallowing this product:

  1. This Product s not for oral use drinking and swallowing
  2. It contains toxic cleaning agents harmful to digest
  3. Its main ingredient alcohol is not safe for too much drinking
  4. Other ingredients like glycerine are also not good if taken in a large amount
  5. It’s prescribed for external use only

Symptoms After Swallowing Hand Sanitizer

The symptoms of swallowing may vary depending on age, health condition, and quantity of ingested amount. If it is taken in a minimal amount it is likely to show no symptoms at all. If taken too much it has the same effect as drinking alcohol. Below are a few common symptoms reported after swallowing or drinking a large amount of sanitizer:

  • Intoxication
  • Vomit
  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Abdomen pain
  • Blurry Vision
  • Gastrointestinal pain
  • Stomach distress

In many cases, symptoms will go away after one or two days. In few cases, it will require immediate medical aid 

Is It Safe To Swallow Hand sanitizer

What makes hand sanitizer unsafe for swallowing? Its alcohol variants and cleaning agents like benzalkonium chloride make this product harmful for ingestion. If taken in large amounts it may have the same effect as taking alcohol.

Is it safe to swallow hand sanitizer? This product is not intended to be drunk or swallowed. It is unsafe for oral intake. It contains toxic harsh cleaning agents that can cause gastrointestinal issues. You can see the label “recommended for external use only”

Cases Reported In the USA About Accidental Swallowing Of Hand sanitizer

The US Food and Drug Authority issues a report regarding 160 hand sanitizers as poisonous. Most cases of swallowing this product are reported among children. The total number of accidental swallowing cases in the USA was 1674 cases in February and 2465 cases in March. The number declined in April of 1877. In July  the cases rise again with covid and reach 2308

The chances of deliberate drinking of this product can’t be ignored due to the high percentage of alcohol. In Mexico, the Department of Health confirmed three deaths due to ingesting hand sanitizer. There were three other severe cases reported in alcohol abused patients.

What Happens If You Accidently Swallow Hand sanitizer

The cases of accidental swallowing are very common because this product has now become essential for every house, school and institution, and hospital.

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What happens if you accidentally swallow hand sanitizer? No need to get panic if you swallow a small amount. You may even not experience any symptoms consuming one or two drops accidentally. However, the situation may get worse if you swallow too much.

What Happen If You Drink Hand Sanitizer

It is very bad to think of hand sanitizer as a substitute for alcohol. The presence of alcohol variants makes it tempting for alcohol addicts. They try to drink every product in which they find alcohol. It’s safe if swallowed accidentally but unsafe if drunk deliberately in too much quantity.

What happens If you drink hand sanitizer? No need to worry if the amount is less than a few drops. If you drink too much or a full bottle it can cause gastric issues, diarrhea, intoxication, and in severe cases even death.

What To Do If You Swallow Hand Sanitizer

Mothers are worried about what should be the next step if their children have swallowed sanitizer. There are very small data available about the history of sanitizer swallowing on the medical record. Before covid, it was an uncommon product. 

What to do if you swallow hand sanitizer? Stay calm and wait for symptoms. If nothing happens everything is going to be OK. If you feel belly pain and nausea, it’s time to go to the doctor or poison control authorities. If you have already some health conditions, never ignore this accidental swallowing and consult a doctor as soon as possible.

How Much Hand Sanitizer Is Harmful If Swallowed

The toxic effect of consuming hand sanitizer is much more prominent when you take it in large quantities. It’s ok to have 2 to 3 pumps. The toxic effects depend on the quantity of overdosing mainly. It also depends on the age, weight, and overall health of children or people who swallow it.

How much hand sanitizer is harmful if swallowed? It is safe in a benign amount of about one or two pumps. It becomes unsafe when consumed too much to spike the blood alcohol level. This level after swallowing one pump or a few drops is expected to rise by 17mg/dl in 2 yr old child. The same alcohol level will rise to a toxic level of 80 to 100mg/dl if consumed in 4 to 5 squirts.

Warning Issued To Parents About Cautious Use of Hand sanitizer

Due to the pandemic, the use of antiseptic products became inevitable. Keeping this in mind several types of research were conducted to see its side effects on children. After observing its harmful effect warning is issued to parents not to use it as it is harmful to children. You can’t stop them from lcng and tasting hands. It is not possible to monitor them every time after applying sanitizer.

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It is necessary to store it out of the reach of the children. A good substitute is a soap. To avoid accidental swallowing the best tip is not to buy large containers or large bottles of sanitizers. Remember to consider safe packaging that is not easy to open for kids.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens If You Accidentally Swallow a Bit of Hand Sanitizer?

Many cases of accidental and deliberate swallowing are reported in a few states of the US during covid. The cases of accidental swallowing were common in kids. On the other hand, the cases of deliberate swallowing were reported in alcohol abuse or addicts. 

Hand sanitizer contains poisonous alcohol variant methanol. Swallowing 1 to 3 squirts accidently may have no toxic effects. However, swallowing more than 4 squirts is toxic and fatal. This is the reason to store it away from the reach of children.

What Happens If My Child Drinks Hand Sanitizer?

Although the taste of sanitizer is quite bad yet children never resist tasting new products. Many cases are reported inc children about accidental swallowing in the USA during covid. Nothing serious is going tgo happen if your child has swallowed a small amount.

The symptoms after swallowing sanitizer depend mainly on quantity. In case of drinking more than 4 to 5 squirts, your child is likely to complain of abdominal unrest, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and diarrhea. In many cases, the symptoms will disappear with time. In severe cases medical intervention is necessary.

Will Drinking Hand Sanitizer Get You Drunk?

It depends mainly on how much you have drunk. It’s true that the toxic effect of sanitizer cause intoxication. Its effect is the same as drinking alcohol. However, it’s wrong to think of it as a substitute for alcohol. It contains other cleaning agents as well not intended to be drunk.

Yes, it’s true that drinking too much sanitizer can have the same effect as alcohol. The person seems to be drunk and intimidated. It can also produce, unstable speech, blurry vision, headache, and other effects of alcohol.



Dont try to drink hand sanitizer. Store it out of the reach of children. Health is a precious gift, do care about it. No matter whether you swallow it accidentally or deliberately it is toxic. There is no such hand sanitizer made so far that you can claim 100% natural and toxin-free.

If you have children teach them to wash hands with soap properly instead of applying sanitizer. Stay happy, stay safe!

James Randolph

Hey, James is here with you. This blog is a powerful online resource to help you get instant answers to your superstitious beliefs, facts, and the reality of myths. Knowledge is your inner guidance system, and this blog empowers you to update, refine, reorganize and enhance your communication system. If you know well you can surely discuss facts with evidence. So, stay with us and be a master of what happens around you!

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