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The History of Hand Sanitizer

The History of Hand Sanitizer

Who invented hand sanitizer? When was hand sanitizer invented? Read though a brief history of one of the most game-changing sanitation hygiene discoveries of mantime. 

The Early Roots of Hand Sanitizer

Ancient Hand Sanitizer - B.C

Before hand sanitizer, also known as hand sanitiser, was even around, people knew that alcohol could sterilize. Alcohol, is actually derived from al kohl, a term for the antimony ancient Egyptians used to treat eye infections 5,000 years ago. Later, you can find references of using alcohol for wound treatment by physicians like from Claudius Galen (131- 201 AD), and over a thousand years later  Guy de Chauliac (1363). [1]

image of alcohol being used as medicine

Alcohol as a Modern Antiseptic - 1800 -1900s

While it has been used throughout history, actual scientific evidence for the antimicrobial properties of alcohol did not come until 1875. At this point, it was a widely debated topic, as sanitizer would kill bacteria, but not spores. [2] This continued, though alcohol's introduction into surgical procedure began with multiple well-known physicians recommending alcohol for pre-surgery hand and surface disinfection in 1888. By 1930's ethanol was the preferred skin antiseptic in hospitals. [3]

The Invention of Hand Sanitizer - 1996

By this time, it was no secret that alcohol killed germs - but there was no real way to apply it on the go, and at home. In 1966 however, a nursing student named Lupe Hernandez from Bakersfield, California, found out that alcohol could be delivered in a gel - thus discovering hand sanitizer. Originally it was only used in hospital settings, until it became commercialized by companies like Purell and Gojo in 1988. Below, you can see a Purell ad from the 1990s

old purell ad from the early 1990s

The 2000s of Hand Sanitizer

Stuff can always be better - and that's what we've tried to do. Hand sanitizer has really picked up speed within only the last 30 years, and we made some change to try and give customers our version of a better smelling, better feeling hand sanitizer.


  1. Block, Seymour Stanton (2001). Disinfection, Sterilization, and PreservationSoil Science124. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 14. Bibcode:1977SoilS.124..378Bdoi:10.1097/00010694-197712000-00013ISBN 9780683307405Archived from the original on 2017-09-18.
  2. Falkiner Nuttall, George Henry. The Journal of Hygiene. Vol. 8, University Press, 1908.
  3. Ascenzi, Joeseph M. Handbook of Disinfectants and Antiseptics. CRC Press, 1995.
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