Do Hand Sanitizers Remove Fingerprints?

This sounds pretty far-fetched to me, but a friend of mine claimed that hand sanitizers (specifically those with alcohol in them) can, over time, wear down your finger prints to the point that a crime scene investigator would be unable to identify the individual by dusting/computer technology.

It seems to me that if this were true, not only would I have heard all about it, but hand sanitizers would be banned because of a security risk. So, what’s the dope?

Unfortunately I can’t answer your primary question but I can guarantee you that this wouldn’t happen.

Total bullshit.

It’s skin oils and bits of dead skin that leave finger prints behind. You can remove those from your skin using various solvents (and I’d guess that alcohol would do a decent job at that). That’s only a very temporary solution, since your skin is constantly producing oil and shedding dead cells.

But hand sanitizer wouldn’t even accomplish that much. Instead you’d just dissolve and spread around all the skin oils, but they’re still on your skin so once the hand sanitizer evaporates you’re right back where you started.

Hand sanitizers certainly won’t remove the ridges from your skin.

This sounds like a really easy experiment to try at home. Wash your hands with soap and water, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, or engine degreaser and see what it takes to stop you from leaving a fingerprint on a clean glass. Then see how long that lasts.

I use hand sanitizer all the time and my prints are pretty clear. The technological world is too advanced today to depend on something so elementary. I’d be afraid some new device would see the ghost of a print I could not see.

In the old movies, crooks would sometimes remove their prints temporarily with acid. Gloves were just not as exciting I guess.

Hand sanitizers wouldn’t do the job-but paper does.
According to the nice ladies down at the security office, the hardest people to fingerprint (we get our fingerprints taken/checked on a regular basis) are the secretaries or anyone handling large amounts of paper. Seems the abrasives in paper wear off the fingerprints.

Somewhat related, some cancer chemo has a side-effect of changing fingerprints. Makes for awkward moments at the security office when someone everyone knows shows up as different all of a sudden.

Those stories about fingerprints and DNA being proof positive-well they are proof that nothing is ever 100%…

Yeah, you can definitely develop smooth calluses that obscure your fingerprints. When I was playing my viola 4+ hours a day I didn’t have any fingerprint on the top third of the first digits of my left hand. Harpists have even bigger calluses that cover most of their fingertips.

Thanks for all of the responses!

The paper story is wild, but it does make sense. And I’m not at all surprised about the violin calluses. I’ve got calluses on the inside of my middle and ring knuckle just from playing sax!

New plan: Rob a bank, leaving prints everywhere. Then go into hiding and emerge a virtuoso harpist! They’ll never find the true crook! Mwahahahaha!

Also nurses, due to constant hand-washing and surgical scrubbing. My wife is a nurse, and she has hardly any fingerprints left. When they recently took her fingerprints digitally at her government job, they could not get a valid reading on any of her fingers. Her fingers are basically worn smooth.