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Liquid Bandage vs. Band-Aids: Which Is Cheaper?

Dr. Penny Pincher founded the popular personal finance blog Penny Pincher Journal in 2013 and has published two books about saving money.

How Do Regular Band-Aids Compare With Liquid Bandage?

  • They both work well, but you will probably re-apply liquid bandage fewer times than you would a standard band-aid.
  • A single application of liquid bandage is cheaper than a band-aid.
  • Liquid bandage provides good value and is effective for treating wounds.
  • Liquid bandage can save you money compared with using band-aids.

The Trouble With Band-Aids

Band-Aids, or bandages in general, have several issues:

  1. Band-aids trap moisture under the adhesive material, causing your skin to get wrinkly. Mesh bands are better, but this is still an issue.
  2. Every time you wash your hands or get your hands wet (washing a car, watering grass, etc.) the gauze part absorbs water and stays wet for a long time. Seems like a good place for germs to grow...
  3. The exterior surface of the band-aid gets dirty. The longer you wear it, the dirtier it gets. Normal hand washing does not seem to get the surface of the band-aid clean as it has lots of pores and places to hold germs.
  4. The band-aid can come off while preparing food, creating a situation that can range from bad to worse...
  5. Some places are difficult to apply a bandage, such as between your fingers. Bandages on the fingertips are bulky and can make it difficult to type or do other tasks.
  6. Swimming and band-aids go together like oil and water. The band-aids do not stay on long while swimming unless you use the REALLY sticky "sport" ones that hurt when you take them off. Plus the band-aid could come loose in the water and create a choking hazard.
  7. Band-aids don't stay on during exercise or even in hot weather if your skin is sweating. The super sticky ones are better but still come off.
  8. Band-aids tend to come off when you need them most- when you are doing dirt work such as gardening, cleaning a chicken coop, working on a car engine, etc. The time you need to protect your wound from dirt the most is when the band-aid is likely to come off

There must be a better way to protect a wound and promote healing!

Liquid bandage

Liquid bandage

Liquid Bandages: A Better Way

Liquid bandages can be applied to almost any area. It is a sort of glue based on polymer dissolved in a solvent. The solvent evaporates, leaving a thin polymer layer to protect the wound. Once cured, the liquid bandage becomes hard and can get wet without any problem. I have used liquid bandages while swimming and exercising- work much better than band-aids because it does not come off. Also, it can be washed thoroughly since the surface is smooth. You can actually wash your hands with a liquid bandage.

Another advantage is that you can use only the amount of liquid bandage that you need to cover the wound. It is liquid when it is applied, so it is easy to use just the right amount. There is no easy way to use a fractional band-aid. You need to use a whole band-aid even to cover the smallest of cuts.

So liquid bandage works great and stays on well. Occasional re-application is required as the thin film does gradually wear away. But it does not come off suddenly like a band-aid on a hot day.

Is Liquid Bandage Cheaper Than Band-Aids?

Yes, it is. Below, you'll find the cost per band-aid vs. cost per application of liquid bandage.

Table of Band-aid cost

Table of Band-aid cost

Table of Liquid Bandage cost

Table of Liquid Bandage cost

As you can see, liquid bandage is only about as expensive as generic band-aids. Any of the brands of liquid bandage is a good deal compared with band-aids. The cost of liquid bandage is 8 cents or less per application. This cost is based on getting 100 applications from a 1 fl. oz bottle. The number of applications you get from a bottle will depend on the size of the area you cover. I have had my bottle of liquid bandage for several years- I would expect to get more than 100 applications if you mainly treat small cuts and wounds.

Some brands of liquid bandage have antiseptic built-in. Another advantage!

Should You Glue Yourself Together With Liquid Bandage?

I first encountered the concept of a bandage alternative in Dr. Jerri Nielsen's book Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole. As a physician, she described the body's reaction to the extreme environment at the South Pole station and described using superglue to treat cuts that would not heal otherwise. But superglue is somewhat toxic. If only there was something very sticky like super glue, but less toxic to tissue... something that people less adventurous than Jerri Nielsen could handle!

© 2013 Dr Penny Pincher


C on October 06, 2018:

We have a drawer full of expired bandages of different sizes. As you said, you can't use a "fraction" of a band-aid, and I'd rather stock a liquid bandage then go to the drugstore for the right-sized band-aid, then keep a drawerful of bandages of different sizes in stock! Also, of course liquid bandages are better for cuts on fingers and the hand, where you can get quite a few cuts when working in the garage!

Dr Penny Pincher (author) from Iowa, USA on June 03, 2013:

Patti Inglish, MS- Your comment reminded me that I have made temporary band-aids using scotch tape and a bit of Kleenex or paper napkin. That works for a while...

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on June 02, 2013:

I find that New Skin works better than band-aids. Of course, in times of thee lack of either, scotch tape works for a little while.

Dr Penny Pincher (author) from Iowa, USA on June 02, 2013:

MJennifer, thanks for your comment and ideas for using New Skin. I liked liquid bandage a lot when I had a farm because band aids get dirty so fast and fall off easily while you are doing farm work. New Skin is good stuff, certainly worth a try for anyone who hasn't tried it yet.

Marcy J. Miller from Arizona on June 02, 2013:

I'm not only pretty accident-prone, but it seems that all my favorite activities end up drawing blood. I'm a leather crafter and a horse trainer and if the sharp tools don't get me, the horses do. I depend on New Skin and ought to buy the stuff by the gallon. For particularly nasty cuts, I use New Skin topped by a Band-aid and then transition just to New Skin as they heal.

By the way, not only is New Skin great stuff for injuries, I also use it to remove skin tags and warts. Apply it to a skin tag daily for a couple of weeks and it will completely and permanently remove it with no scarring. That is quite a savings over a trip to the dermatologist!

I hope your hub introduces many others to liquid bandage -- I agree that it's far superior to a band aid!

Dr Penny Pincher (author) from Iowa, USA on May 06, 2013:

tmbridgeland- agree about the smell, but still really prefer liquid bandage over regular band aids. DubstepMaker- I don't think I have used a regular band aid since I got liquid bandage.

Paul Jenkins from Earth on May 06, 2013:

Liquid bandages are awesome! Once you use these you will never go back, there is no doubt about that indeedlio!

tmbridgeland from Small Town, Illinois on January 12, 2013:

I have used this product, and was surprised by how well it works. Smells kind of bad, like nail polish.