Can Perfume be Used as Hand Sanitizer? [Read and Find Out!]

Written By Nazia Haque

When you hear the word perfume, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? 

As for me, I would automatically imagine a wonderful aroma on my skin.

However, a scent can have multipurpose. So the ways you can use a fragrance will blow your mind. For instance, a perfume has essential oil and alcohol, which you can use for sanitization.

Therefore, keep reading to know more about perfumes and it’s relation to hand sanitizer.


Is Perfume a Hand Sanitizer?

Yes, as a last resort, you can use perfume as a hand sanitizer. However, the actual hand sanitizer or soap and water works best for getting rid of germs.

In other words, hand sanitizers have 60% alcohol to eliminate bacteria. And a fragrance is said to have 70% alcohol– if they are Eau de Toilette or Eau de Cologne. Therefore, since such scents have high alcohol levels, it’s usable as hand sanitizers.

Follow our guide to know the Basic Mistakes that RUIN Your Perfume

Here is a list of oil concentrations available in fragrances:

  • Eau de Cologne

It has the highest alcohol content of about 80-90%, 2-5% oil, and 10-15% water. Therefore, it doesn’t last long.

  • Eau de Toilette

It has the second highest alcohol content of about 60-80%, 5-15% oil, and 10-20% water. So in terms of longevity, it comes in second last.

  • Eau de Parfum

It has about 15-20% perfume oil; the rest is alcohol and a bit of water.

  • Parfum

It has a high perfume oil content of 20-30%, and the rest is alcohol.

As a result, all fragrances generally have enough alcohol to work as a hand sanitizer.

Although it can work as a substitute for a hand sanitizer, it would be a costly one. So a fragrance bottle is pretty expensive to use for disinfection.

Nonetheless, it’s cool to know that your favorite scent can do much more than just make you smell fabulous.

Also, due to COVID-19, it has become essential to maintain proper hygiene. For instance, washing our hands thoroughly and often is vital now. After that, spray one or two spritzes of your favorite perfume for the extra aroma and protection.

On the other hand, you must have noticed that hand sanitizers don’t have an aroma and work just fine.

Moreover, many people are allergic to fragrances because they may also contain synthetic elements. And too much scent can also be overwhelming and suffocating for people around you.

Here are some issues caused by perfumes if used as hand sanitizers:

#1 Shortness of breath

#2 Watery eyes

#3 Headaches

#4 Stomachaches

For example, many of us are sensitive to fragrances, so using them in high quantities can lead to disastrous results. Similarly, if you use perfume as hand sanitizer, you must apply a lot, which means a strong aroma will linger on your skin. As a result, a constant intense aroma can be irritating, frustrating, and cause anxiety.

And imagine rubbing your eyes with those hands– it stings just thinking about it!

Firstly, perfume is not created to work as a hand sanitizer; alcohol is used as a solvent. Secondly, a fragrance is made to give you unique aromatic experiences– like invoking a memory, boosting your confidence, and such.

So if you plan on using your fragrance instead of hand sanitizer, keep the above facts in mind.

In short, perfumes can be used as hand sanitizer because it got the same properties. But it wasn’t meant to replace the regular sanitizers.

Also, you can check out How Do Perfume Notes Work?

Can Perfume be Used as Disinfect?

Yes, you can use perfumes for disinfecting. For instance, fragrances contain around 70% of ethyl alcohol, which works like magic for disinfecting.

Here are 13 properties a perfume has that make it a disinfect:

  • It has a broad spectrum.

Perfumes can act against microorganisms. Thus it has a broad antibacterial spectrum.

  • It is fast acting.

A fragrance can act quickly and rapidly kill micro-organisms.

  • It is non-toxic

A scent is meant for skin, so it’s not harmful if we apply it to ourselves.

  1. It doesn’t react to environmental factors.

Fragrances are compatible with soaps or detergents, not reactive with blood, etc.

  • It has surface compatibility.

Perfumes aren’t corrosive. So there is no harm even if it’s in contact with any material.

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  • It has a residual effect on treated surfaces.

Perfumes leave a bacteria-blocking effect on treated surfaces.

  • It is easy to use

Fragrances are very easy to use since you only have to spray them.

  • It doesn’t have a disturbing odor.

A disinfectant should have a pleasant odor or none at all. And we all know perfumes have a beautiful smell.

  • It can be economical.

Although perfumes are expensive items, you can find many good-quality fragrances for cheap.

  • It has solubility

All fragrances are soluble in water.

  • It has stability

A scent is stable in concentrate and can be diluted.

  • It can clean

Fragrances have good cleaning properties due to alcohol in them.

  • It is environmentally friendly.

Fragrances do not damage the environment if disposed of.

In addition, the ethyl alcohol used in perfume is a bacterial agent– meaning it can destroy various viruses.

Most importantly, ethyl alcohol plays a massive role in a fragrance. And that’s what makes a scent suitable for disinfection.

Can I Use Perfume Instead of Rubbing Alcohol?

The alcohol used in perfumes is different than the ones in rubbing alcohol. For instance, a fragrance has ethanol, and rubbing alcohol is isopropyl.

Moreover, rubbing alcohol isn’t used in perfume making because it evaporates faster and is diluted.

So it is pretty distinct that rubbing alcohol and perfumer’s alcohol is entirely different. As a result, you use your fragrance instead of rubbing alcohol or vice versa. Also, rubbing alcohol has some odor in it while ethanol doesn’t.

Meanwhile, if you are planning on making your fragrance– do not use rubbing alcohol; instead, use vodka if you (although ethanol is preferable).

Is Perfume Anti Bacterial?

Although all perfumes have anti-bacterial properties, they aren’t anti-bacterial.

That is to say, any sort of bacteria cannot survive inside a fragrance. As a result, since they cannot grow inside a scent, they eventually perish. Therefore, the perfume itself isn’t anti-bacterial.

Furthermore, a scent is oil based– the aromatic element comes from the essential oils used in a fragrance. And oil doesn’t provide an environment where bacteria can grow.

However, since perfumes also have a high amount of ethanol, you can regard them as a source of sanitization.

But that doesn’t mean you can rely on a fragrance to protect you from diseases. So you must adequately wash your hands to get the utmost protection from bacterial infestation.

Can You Use Perfume to Clean a Wound?

It is not recommended to use perfume to clean a wound. So you should not spritz fragrance on open wounds or cuts.

Firstly, if you spritz fragrance on a wound, it can damage the tissue on your skin. For example, ethanol can damage the tissues around your injury, which slows down the healing process.

Secondly, perfume oil can cause an infection in your cut. For instance, the oil is made from various ingredients that can react and further damage your skin. So you will be in more pain.

Finally, spraying a scent on a wound can make you feel a burning sensation, which can be unbearable.

Have some time to spare? Check out our latest post Are Made in India Perfumes Worth Trying?

What Fragrance is Used in Hand Sanitizer?

Sometimes essential oils are used in hand sanitizers to add the pleasant aromatic element.

On top of that, essential oils have tons of benefits along with providing beautiful smells. Firstly, it can help with mental, physical, and emotional conditions. Second, you can benefit psychologically and physically through aromatherapy.

Here are some essential oils used in hand sanitizers:

  • Cinnamon

It can help you reduce drowsiness and improve concentration.

  • Lavender 

It can help you with relaxation and make you feel calmer.

  • Rosemary 

It can help you with memory, alertness, and stimulating information retention.

  • Lemon 

It has a citrusy scent, which can help you with depression and increase your energy.

  • Peppermint 

It can help you soothe weakened nerves and improve your mental clarity.

To summarize, fragrances can work great if paired with hand sanitizers.

What Can I Use Instead of Hand Sanitizer?

Although you can use perfume as hand sanitizer, it won’t be the best substitute. So you can use soap and water, which works best for maintaining proper hygiene and killing bacteria.

However, you may look for some other alternatives. Here are 3 of them:

#1 Use antiseptic hand wipes.

Buy the anti-bacterial one for hand wipes, and don’t mix them with baby wipes.

#2 Use alcohol swabs.

Swabs are pads with 70% alcohol used for disinfection.

#3 Use antiseptic spray

You can use it to clean hands, and be sure to look for the ones with chlorhexidine gluconate or chlorhexidine.

Looking for something different? Then check out How To Find Out If a Perfume is Original or Fake?


It is impressive how perfumes work in various ways. And along with smelling wonderful, a fragrance can also be used as a hand sanitizer.

Moreover, it is because a perfume contains alcohol– ethanol, to be exact.

However, it doesn’t mean that you can use perfumes as a substitute for rubbing oil or consider them antibacterial. Furthermore, a fragrance costs a lot to be used as a hand sanitizer. And a scent also contains a lot of other materials that can be health hazards if not used properly.

In conclusion, perfumes can be used as hand sanitizers, and they can disinfect. But it’s best to use it for what it’s meant for– wearing it on your skin.

I hope all your confusion is cleared, and for any further queries share them in the comment section below.

About The Author
Nazia is passionate about perfumes. Her love for perfumes started with her father whom she lost in 2017. She’d often reminisce his memories with the help of his fragrances’. Writing about fragrances makes her happy as she can share its wonders with the world. She also loves reading sci-fi novels and traveling.

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