Exploding Hand Sanitizer? Fire Department Warns It Can Happen
If you’re like most people, you probably used to keep a bottle or two of water in your car for really hot days or roadside emergencies. And if you’re like most, you probably don’t do that anymore, at least not since news outlets filled us with fear when they shared stories of water bottles left in hot cars starting fires and wreaking all sorts of havoc.
Now that you've gotten out of the habit of leaving bottles of water in your car, it might be time to do the same with your hand sanitizer. Sure, it's convenient to leave a bottle in the cupholder for a quick grab after running into a store, but that little bottle of germ killer could explode if it gets hot enough.
The Western Lakes Fire District in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin issued a warning on its Facebook page reminding us of the dangers of leaving hand sanitizer in our cars when it's hot out explaining,
...most hand sanitizer is alcohol-based and therefore flammable...exposing it to sun causing magnification of light through the bottle, and particularly being next to open flame while smoking in vehicles or grilling...can lead to disaster."
The National Fire Protection Association released an in-depth video explaining how hand sanitizer can explode.
Think you can get around the issue of your hand sanitizer potentially exploding by tossing it your glovebox? That's the question Ken K asked on the video posted by the National Fire Protection Association and they explained that the vapors need an ignition source (think flame or super direct sunlight) otherwise,
For it to spontaneously combust with no other, external ignition source other than self-heating alone, you’d have to reach over 700 degrees F!"
The chances the inside of your glovebox will reach over 700 degrees Fahrenheit are pretty slim, but stranger things have happened, so is it even worth it? While the photo shared by the Western Lakes Fire District on social media may not actually be a photo of damage caused by exploding hand sanitizer (we haven't been able to confirm), it was jolting enough to make the department's plea to not leave hand sanitizer out in the open go viral and grab our attention. Mission accomplished.