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21 Genius Uses for Hand Sanitizer You’ll Wish You Knew Before

You won't believe how many ways you can put that bottle of hand sanitizer gel to use. Here's what the experts recommend.

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Hand It To Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizers can come in handy during cold and flu season and in extremely germy places like hospitals, medical clinics and doctors’ offices. And while dermatologists caution against overusing the gel on your hands — it can really dry them out — there are plenty of other uses that you may never have thought of. Pandemic or not, keeping hand sanitizer around the house is a great idea.

Plus, here’s how to make a quick and simple hand sanitizer with common household ingredients.

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Polish Silver

Hand sanitizer cuts right through tarnish on silver, according to Taste of Home. “Squirt a few drops on a soft cloth and rub away the tarnish,” they advise.

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Clean Your Eyeglasses

You could spend close to $20 on special herb-infused “eyeglass cleaner” fluid. But if you have hand sanitizer in your reach, use that instead. It helps eliminate fingerprints and even hairspray from your eyeglasses.

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Clean Hairspray off Your Mirror

When you’re spritzing with hairspray, it’s easy for the mirror to be caught in the crossfire. Removing it from your mirror can take a little effort, but it’s easier with some hand sanitizer.

Simply place some hand sanitizer on a microfiber cloth or paper towel, wipe, and your mirror will sparkle again. Also, make sure to check out these household uses for vinegar you never knew, either.

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Remove Permanent Marker From a Whiteboard

If your kids — or you — accidentally wrote on your whiteboard with a Sharpie or other permanent marker, here’s an easy remedy. First, write over the permanent marker with a dry erase pen. Then wipe it all off using hand sanitizer. You may need to do this a few times to remove all traces.

Learn how to remove stains from absolutely anything.

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Get Permanent Marker off Clothing

Yep, you can use hand sanitizer to remove permanent ink from clothing. too. Just be sure to dab at the stain, rather than rub, and place a piece of newspaper between layers so that the ink doesn’t bleed from one layer to the other.

If the cleaning label says “dry clean only,” check out what that really means.

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Pre-Treat Stains Before Laundering

Even the makers of Tide detergent acknowledge that a bit of hand sanitizer can effectively pre-treat stains on clothing. Rub some in, let it sit for one to three minutes, blot it away and apply liquid Tide. Then wash as directed on the garment’s label.

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Remove a Sticky Label

Just like hairspray, adhesive residue is tough to remove with just soap and water. Whether you’re removing adhesive residue from your skin, furniture, wall, new dishes or a handbag, hand sanitizer will make the job easier.

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Take the Ouch Out of Removing a Bandaid

Instead of ripping off an adhesive bandage, rub some hand sanitizer over the sticky ends to release the adhesive. Wait a minute, then painlessly remove the strip.

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Clean Your Keyboard

Did you realize that your keyboard can be just as dirty as a toilet seat? To address the keyboard problem, keep your hands clean and wipe your keyboard with hand sanitizer on a cloth — preferably microfiber. Be sure to unplug the computer or turn it off first.

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Clean Your Mouse

Thanks to its location and similar use, your computer mouse is every bit as grimy as your keyboard, according to CNET. Again, give it a little wipe down with a microfiber cloth and hand sanitizer. If you use a touchpad, give it the same treatment. Again, always remember to shut everything down first.

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Clean Your Touchscreen

The fact that it’s called a “touchscreen” indicates that it needs cleaning from time to time. The best way, according to PC Tablet, is to squirt some hand sanitizer on that microfiber cloth you’ve been using and wipe gently.

Learn how to clean your cell phone and exactly how often you should be doing it.

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Wipe Down a Public Toilet Seat

Before you sit down on a public toilet seat, squirt some hand sanitizer on a wad of toilet paper and wipe down the surface. This may help you overcome any squeamishness you have about sharing the seat with strangers.

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Remove Nail Polish

Out of nail polish remover? Clean up your nails with hand sanitizer, advises Bustle. Apply some and let it sit for one minute. Using a cotton pad or tissue, wipe away, then repeat until your nails are clean.

When you do have nail polish remover on hand, consider using it in one of these extraordinary ways.

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Eliminate Fingerprints on Stainless Steel

Fingerprints can ruin the look of your stainless steel appliances, but you don’t need to buy special stainless steel cleaner if you have hand sanitizer. On a cloth, the gel will remove fingerprints, spattered oil and other grease marks.

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Clean Your Diamond Ring

While not all gemstones are candidates for cleaning by hand sanitizer, diamonds can withstand the process and the results will be sparkling. Avoid using sanitizer if the setting is gold or silver-plated, though, as the cleaner can disturb the plating.

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Use It in Place of Deodorant

The reason armpits start to smell is bacteria. So it makes sense that if you’re out of your roll-on, rubbing a little hand sanitizer in your armpits will keep you smelling fresh.

Make sure you aren’t using one of these potentially dangerous hand sanitizers according to the Food and Drug Administration.

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Quick Acne Relief

Inflammation from a pimple is caused in part by bacteria on your skin, so dab a bit of hand sanitizer on that spot and feel immediate relief. Try it on bug bites, too!

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As a Dry Shampoo

With the advent of dry shampoos, you can spray a little on to make your hair look fresh-washed when you don’t have time for washing and blow-drying.

But if you’re out of dry shampoo, try some hand sanitizer. Simply squeeze a bit out onto your fingertips and massage lightly into your roots, and your hair will look just as good.

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Spruce up Your Makeup Brushes

Who cleans their makeup brushes? We all should, because there are at least 10 gross things that can happen when you don’t. Get your makeup brushes extra clean by rubbing them with hand sanitizer after you wash them. Then allow them to air dry fully.

Check out the shelf life of these common cleaning products and what happens after they expire.

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Clean Your Flat Iron

If you haven’t cleaned the surface of your flat iron in a while, grab your hand sanitizer and get to work. The iron can be coated not only with hair products, but bacteria. After the iron cools down, smear on some hand sanitizer, wait a few minutes, then wipe it clean.

Up next, make sure to clean the 22 dirtiest things in your home.

Sources:

  • Taste of Home: “How to Polish Silver: 13 Weird Tricks That Really Work.”
  • Catchy Freebies: “5 Hand Sanitizer Hacks You Need in Your Life.”
  • Epiphany Dermatology: “Why Are Some Pimples So Painful? (And How to Stop the Pain!).”
  • POPxo: “Try This The Next Time You Have Oily Hair And No Access To Dry Shampoo.”
  • The Krazy Coupon Lady: “8 Alternative Uses for Hand Sanitizer.”
  • Housewife How-Tos: “17 Surprising Uses For Hand Sanitizer.”
  • WikiHow: “How to Remove Permanent Marker from a White Board.”
  • One Good Thing: “How to Get Sharpie Off Anything (Plastic, Clothes, Wood, & More!).”
  • Tide: “How to Remove Ink Stains.”
  • CNET: “Laptop keyboard an icky mess? How to clean off the dust, crumbs and goo.”
  • Apartment Therapy: “The Cleaning Workhorse You Already Carry in Your Purse.”
  • Bustle: “Sneaky Ways to Easily Remove Nail Polish.”
  • Lauren B Jewelry: “PROPER RING CARE AND PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE.”
Originally Published on Reader's Digest

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly in The Huffington Post as well as a variety of other publications since 2008 on such topics as life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. She is also a writer of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.