Does Aftershave Kill Germs?

The purpose of this blog is to look at the various benefits and disadvantages that come with using aftershave. Ultimately, you should decide which way to go based on your own personal preferences.

Aftershave contains alcohol, which has been shown to kill germs. The alcohol in the aftershave is also a disinfectant that kills bacteria and viruses on skin. Aftershave also contains other ingredients like glycerin, water, and fragrance oils that make it feel good on your skin.

A surprising amount of things we use on a daily basis have many functions. Aftershave is one example of such a product.

I say’might’ because it depends – some aren’t suitable for a certain purpose, while others are. In this post, I’ll show you how to tell whether your aftershave can destroy germs and how effective it is.

Is it true that aftershave kills germs? Yes, aftershave has the ability to destroy bacteria. However, in order to be really effective, the aftershave must contain more than 70% alcohol. In this post, you’ll learn how to determine the alcohol concentration and why it works.

What is the mechanism through which aftershave kills germs?

It’s actually fairly simple: aftershave eliminates germs due to the alcohol concentration. 30 seconds after application, a product containing more than 70% alcohol will destroy over 99.9% of germs (bacteria, fungus, and certain viruses) (source).

Alcohol’s ability to destroy germs is due to a process known as denaturation (source). Both water and fat are attracted to the characteristics of alcohol molecules.

The membrane of a bacterium cell contains both a fat and a water side, which allows the alcohol molecules to connect with them and tear down the protective barrier.

When this occurs, the bacterium’s core is exposed and will disintegrate, preventing them from operating and, as a result, the bacteria will die.

In conclusion, aftershave may kill germs since it includes alcohol, which has the power to dissolve the bacteria’s membrane, killing it.

The alcohol, not the aftershave, is what kills the germs, therefore anything with a high alcohol level will have the same effect.

How long does aftershave take to destroy germs?

If the alcohol percentage of the aftershave is more than 70%, it can kill 99.9% of germs in 30 seconds and 99.99 percent to 99.999 percent in 60 seconds.

This is why, while disinfecting a kitchen surface, you should leave the solution on it for a short period of time.

Its efficiency will be reduced if you wipe it down and dry it shortly after spraying. Unfortunately, this typically leaves a sticky residue, but this is easily removed with soapy water.

Does-Aftershave-Kill-GermsIt’s not an aftershave…

But, come to think of it, does anybody who applies aftershave to their face actually wash it off in less than 30 seconds?

That, I believe, would be quite a challenge to do. The great majority of individuals use aftershave because they want to smell nice.

It is typically much too expensive to apply it just to have it erased a few seconds later!

Is it true that aftershave is a disinfectant?

To begin with, the difference between a sanitizer and a disinfectant is often misunderstood. So, let’s just get this out of the way right now.

  • Sanitizer – if left on the surface for 30 seconds or more, this will kill 99.9% of germs.
  • Disinfectant — unlike sanitizers, this will kill a far wider spectrum of bacteria.

Because a disinfectant often has a bigger number of components that kill a broader spectrum of germs, I believe it’s fair to state that aftershave isn’t a disinfectant (as we know it). As a result, it’s correct to claim that aftershave should not be used in the same manner as disinfection!

How can we determine the alcohol content in aftershave?

Looking at the package of aftershave (or perfume) is the simplest method to figure out how much alcohol is in it. Take a look at the picture below for an example from one of our clients:


You can see from the above that it says ’85 percent vol.’ (I circled it in yellow). It makes no mention of the amount of alcohol in the beverage.

It’s incredible to believe that so much of the perfume and aftershave we use contains alcohol.

As a result, we may deduce that it contains enough alcohol to act as a sanitizer.

The issue is that, in the vast majority of situations, the alcohol concentration is not mentioned on the bottle or package. So, how can we know for sure? That’s where things get complicated, since the manufacturer isn’t required to share this information.

1653802972_268_Does-Aftershave-Kill-GermsIs it a sanitizer or an aftershave?

You may sometimes find out by clicking on the product link on Amazon. Occasionally, the scent may be listed as a percentage (for example, 5%), in which case the alcohol content will account for a large portion of what’s left.

You may also try the manufacturer’s website, although I’ve found that this is hit or miss as well.

So, in conclusion, you may not be able to tell how much alcohol is in your aftershave! It will almost certainly be high, but you won’t know for sure.

What makes you think we’d use aftershave as a sanitizer?

This is an excellent question. I suppose it depends on what they were hoping to achieve. If the goal is to disinfect the kitchen surface, there are better (and less expensive) options.

I suppose that’s similar to taking a bath in Champagne — you can do it, but there are better methods to get the same objective, right?

Aftershave may also be used to sanitize your face. After all, here is where it would be administered after a shave.

Any infections that may have been present during the shaving process may be virtually removed by using an aftershave with a high alcohol content.


Hopefully, this has shown that aftershave may be used as a sanitizer, but the alcohol concentration must be sufficient for it to be effective. It’s just not going to work if it’s alcohol-free or low-alcohol.

Let’s take a look at things from the other side. Have you ever wondered whether hand sanitizer may be used as an aftershave? You may be astonished when you learn the solution!

Aftershave lotion is a liquid that is applied to the face after shaving. It prevents razor burn and helps prevent ingrown hairs. Other uses for after shave lotion include using it as a moisturizer, or even as a hair conditioner. Reference: other uses of after shave lotion.

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