Alcohol wipes?

Since it is difficult to find alcohol wipes right now, I was wondering if we can do without them for the time being? What is the effect of not using a wipe before placing a pump or sensor? Is it a risk of infection? Or does it affect the working of the pump/sensor?

@vlpjohnson Hi Vanessa, and welcome to the JDRF TypeOneNation Forum! Thanks for joining and contributing to discussions important to people affected by TypeOne.

Very specifically, DexCom states that a sensor transmitter should be wiped with alcohol, and letting it dry completely, before inserting it into a sensor. Other than that, alcohol is not needed for cleaning our bodies before a BG Check finger-stick, a shot, and infusion-set ;placement, or glucose-sensor placement.

Soap and water is sufficient, when available, and in fact, probably better. For instance, instructions with BG Check-strips, say ‘wash with soap & water’; it is advised not to use alcohol for those checks.

During my first 20 or thirty years using insulin, I almost always used cotton dipped in alcohol before every shot, during the last 40 years I simply washed - unless I was not near clean water. Never got any infections from my many thousands of injections!


Thanks, Dennis. That is very helpful!

I have noticed in the last two years I have had type one that I desperately need alcohol wipes. If I don’t have the option to wash my hands I use an alcohol swap. I have noticed when I don’t do these things my meter will give me a very false reading. So for me not doing these things will give me a false reading on my meter. But it could be different for others. Hope this helps!

I’ve heard pharmacies might keep some alcohol wipes(/bottles) behind the counter for customers with a medical need. And I checked with the company where I get my pump/CGM supplies and found some there. I needed an rx from my doctor for insurance(!) but that could be an option.

Personally, I gave up on using alcohol swabs to clean my insulin vials/insulin injection sites/fingers years and years ago. I figure I’ve already come in contact with whatever would be on my insulin via or on my skinl; how much worse could one quick injection make it? But I’m more nervous when it comes to cannulas that will be poking through open wounds for up to two weeks. As a vet tech I’ve seen some pretty nasty infections from exposed surgical thread. If you can get your hands on alcohol swabs, I would continue to clean your CGM/pump sites with at least 1 if not the recommended 2 swabs. Alternatively, see if you can find bottled isopropyl alcohol and gauze pads. If alcohol’s definitely not an option, use soap and water like Dennis suggested.

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Very helpful—thanks!

Vanessa Johnson

Thank you, this is really useful for me!
It will sound ridiculous, but I still want to share this with I read a terrifying story. This group specializes in the rehabilitation of people after alcohol and drug addiction. Sometimes extremely lost people turn for help. Unfortunately, there are a lot of them. There was one guy who was heavily addicted to alcohol. He was quite young, and accordingly he had no money. He did not want to reveal his passion, so secretly from his mother (who was a medical worker), he stole alcohol wipes. He squeezed them out and drank this “alcohol”, if you can call it that. Isn’t that terrible?! He’s all right now, thank God

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