HOUSTON – Hand sanitizer has become an essential part of life.
Many people keep bottles stashed in all kinds of places, including their vehicles, but an image that has been recirculating on social media is serving as a reminder to be careful.
In the past, stories about damage being caused by water bottles left in hot cars have circulated the internet causing experts to weigh in on safe practices.
According to the Western Lakes Fire District, leaving an exposed hand sanitizer in your vehicle can also cause similar issues.
“We’ve chatted in the past about clear water bottles being kept in your vehicle when the weather is warm,” the district wrote on Facebook. “That still holds true and so does hand sanitizer. By its nature, most hand sanitizer is alcohol-based and therefore flammable. Keeping it in your car during hot weather, exposing it to sun causing magnification of light through the bottle … can lead to disaster.”
Guy Colonna, Sr. Director of the National Fire Protection Association’s technical services division said that most hand sanitizers tend to have a flashpoint in the range of 60 to 70 degrees.
“That puts (the flashpoint) right at room temperature, which means (sanitizers) don’t need any external heat source to cause them to give off those vapors,” Colonna said in a video on the NFPA YouTube. “Once those vapors concentrate in those right proportions of fuel vapors with the oxygen in the air, then the only thing that is missing in order to make them ignitable is a viable ignition source.”
According to the WLFD, this ignition source can be something as simple as smoking a cigarette in your car. The NFPA says that while hand sanitizer is unlikely to spontaneously combust, incorrect storage could cause issues.
Click here to learn more about the warning associated with hand sanitizers.