Risks Associated with Refilling Hand Sanitiser Dispensers

The need for hand sanitiser dispensers has exponentially grown since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Care is needed though when refilling to avoid contamination and mixing of different types of sanitisers. Read on to learn more about the risks of refilling hand sanitiser dispensers.

Sanitiser Dispenser
Sanitiser is now considered essential, but are there risks in refilling sanitiser dispensers?

Sanitiser mixing

Time and again we have heard customers testify of experiences of mixing sanitisers. It is never really a good idea to do this when hand sanitiser dispenser refilling. The process of “topping off” involves topping the sanitiser reservoir with new sanitiser. The danger here is mixing one brand of sanitiser with another due to their chemical characteristics, this creates issues such as:

  • Mixing alcohol-based with alcohol-free sanitisers – this is especially dangerous. To be effective alcohol-based sanitisers need 60%+ alcohol content, this will become diluted if the two sanitiser types are mixed. The UK government has guidelines for alcohol-based sanitiser production here
  • Reduced efficacy – When two or more hand sanitisers are mixed it creates danger of reduced efficacy. For example, as we said above, the alcohol level may be too low to effectively kill bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Just because sanitiser A and sanitiser B are both effective it does not mean when mixed together, they will be
  • Unknown chemical reaction – sanitisers are effectively “chemicals”. When mixing sanitisers together an unknown chemical reaction arises. This could cause multiple issues such as skin irritation, quicker expiry, etc.
  • Odours – it is possible that mixed sanitisers create a negative odour. They make for a poor experience for users of the sanitiser
  • Dispensing issues – different sanitiser formulas when mixed may cause issues with dispensing. Problems include blocking the pump or impacting sanitiser level dispensed (e.g., too much or too little dispensed)

Our advice is NEVER to mix sanitiser. Always, ensure the sanitiser reservoir is empty before “topping up”. If you do use a different sanitiser the results will be much less if the reservoir was dry/empty when it was refilled.


Another issue related to refilling can be evapouration. Many dispensers are deliberately designed to be especially easy to open and then refill. The ease of opening often means operators fail to fully seal the dispenser and evapouration occurs (particularly in hot weather). Alcohol evapourates disproportionately and if the alcohol % level falls below 60% the sanitiser may not be effective anymore at combating microorganisms.

Note: all Coler Medical PPE dispensers and sanitisers are based on hypochlorous acid, this is a sanitiser that has no alcohol content at all.

Always choose top-quality hand sanitiser

This perhaps sounds obvious now, but the solution to prevent the risks associated with hand sanitiser dispenser refilling is to always choose a top-quality hand sanitiser. This will dramatically reduce the number of issues that arise. MIST-IFY instant sanitiser is an excellent all-round choice.

Mist–ify Instant Sanitizer Dispenser Refill 2.5L | Coler Medical PPE

MIST-IFY instant sanitiser is a top-quality hand sanitiser to rely on

We are here to help – contacting Coler Medical PPE

To discuss our range of hand sanitiser dispensers and hypochlorous acid why not contact Coler Medical PPE? Our products are manufactured to the highest standards and can be bought online through our shop. Please feel free to contact us in any of the following ways:

Image Credit: biNxWiz