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Will hand sanitizer explode if it gets too hot? Expert answers top questions
A news reporter holds a bottle of hand sanitizer on Friday, June 12, 2009 in Regina, Sask. (Troy Fleece / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
TORONTO -- As more people use hand sanitizer to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the warmer weather arrives, some people have expressed concerns about whether the liquid can explode if left in a hot vehicle.
That has prompted the office of the Ontario Fire Marshal to offer advice on how to safely use and store hand sanitizer.
In a statement sent to CTV News Toronto, an acting manager with the office, Ryan D. Betts, wrote that there are some “general precautions” that need to be taken to safely handle the flammable product.
Here are the tips:
- As the weather warms up, fire marshal engineers say that hand sanitizer will not spontaneously combust, catch fire or explode if left in a hot vehicle.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is flammable and could give off flammable vapours, which could ignite if “exposed to open flame or an ignition source.”
- Caution must be exercised to keep the hand sanitizer away from open flames and sources of heat.
- After using sanitizer, hands should be rubbed together until they are dry.
- One should be careful if attempting to smoke, light candles or use a gas stove “immediately after applying hand sanitizer.”
- Containers should be kept in an upright position and properly sealed to avoid leakage.
- Containers should “not be left in direct sunlight, as an added precaution, to avoid spillage or leakage from pressurization of the container.”
- The product’s labels should be read carefully and followed.