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Can You Use Hand Sanitizer as Deodorant?

Two canisters of deodorant sit on a wooden surface.
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Let’s face it, we all deal with body odor. Usually, we roll on some deodorant in the mornings to stop it. But what happens if you didn’t toss some into your bag before heading to the gym or accidentally forgot to apply before leaving for work? Hand sanitizer is the answer.

You can use hand sanitizer as a deodorant, and while it’s a temporary fix, it works in a pinch.

So why does this work? Body odor happens when our sweat mixes with the bacteria found on our skin. One of hand sanitizer’s main jobs is to kill bacteria, so if your sweat has nothing to mix with, you can keep your less-than-pleasant scent at bay until you find your deodorant.

The hack is also simple to use. Squeeze of pump some hand sanitizer onto your fingers or into your palm. Then, instead of rubbing it into your hands, apply it to your under arms and allow it to dry, and you’re done. Of course, you won’t smell like roses and bergamot or another classic deodorant scent, but you also won’t smell like body odor.

PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer Naturals with Plant Based Alcohol

Out of hand sanitizer? Grab this pack of 4 citrus scent hand sanitizers.

Obviously, you don’t want to use this method every day. The strong concentration of alcohol in hand sanitizer could irritate sensitive skin or dry out normal skin over time. However, if you’re ever in a pinch, the hand sanitizer in your bag (or in the public restroom) will save you until you get home.

If you’d like more BO-banishing options, check out our guide on the best natural deodorants that kick smelly pits to the curb.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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