What Happens To Your Body When You Drink Hand Sanitizer?

Blindness. Brain damage. Renal failure. All of this and more can be yours if you Redbox Tom Hooper's 2019 opus Cats. You'll probably want a drink first.

That said, if you find yourself watching Cats and suddenly realize that there isn't any booze in the house, you might get desperate and start acting rashly. Panicking, you'll rummage through the cupboards trying to find a suitable alternative potable. Mouthwash? Probably not a good idea. Hydrogen peroxide? It's the champagne of antiseptics, but again, ill-advised. You could always siphon a little bit of gasoline out of the tank of your Corolla and give it the old over-the-teeth-and-past-the-gums treatment, but you're pretty sure that if drinking unleaded was a viable option, an Irish Car Bomb would be an entirely different cocktail.

Then it hits you. Of course! Hand sanitizer. It's a hit with the teens at parties, right? You're pretty sure you read that somewhere. Maybe after a couple of sani-tinis, you'll feel loose and youthful enough to plank or Dougie or go to one of those flapper clubs the kids are always talking about.

But before you grab that Purell bottle and start pumping your way to chemical bliss, you should know about the possible side effects: blindness, brain damage, and renal failure. In other words, hand sanitizer is the Cats of drinks.

Drinking hand saniziter can really mess you up

In an article from The New York Times helpfully titled "Don't Drink Hand Sanitizer" (and presumably written up by the newspaper's "don't bury the lede" department), the Gray Lady points out that hand sanitizer consumption seems to be on the rise. Most of the gel-sipping thrill seekers in question are kids, either looking for a good time or too young to understand that you shouldn't do shots of disinfectant out of mommy's purse.

The dangers are twofold. First, the gunk has more alcohol in it than your aunt who tells it like it is at Thanksgiving every year. That makes the risk of an accidental overdose pretty severe for a practiced drinker, let alone a teenager who just wants to have fun while Kevin's parents are out of town. Also, depending on what kind of alcohol is used in the product, it might be poisonous to begin with. Isopropyl alcohol, according to the NCBI, is especially notable for its ability to make you dead, or at least cause those "blindness, brain damage, renal failure" problems we mentioned earlier. Then, according to the National Poison Control Center, there's the risk that the imbiber's blood sugar will tank, which can lead to seizures or, in serious cases, a coma.

The long and short of it is this: Opening your mouth under the hand sanitizer dispenser at the mall like a brat at a frozen yogurt shop will get you, to use the medical terminology, "stanky dranky." It also has the capacity to drop you faster than your safety school once your RA finds out what you're doing. If you wind up with a mess of the stuff in your gut, call Poison Control at (800) 222-1222.