Can I Leave Hand Sanitizer In My Car?

by Joshua Matzkin

These days everyone is trying to keep clean with the threat of Covid-19 still looming. As such, hand sanitizer has been a must-have and since everyone is trying to keep their sanitizer in easy reach, a common question is whether or not you can leave it in your car.

Short answer, you can, if properly stored. There are some precautions you should take in order to stay safe and keep your hand sanitizer effective. The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid infection and minimize the spread of bacteria and viruses if water and soap are not readily available. 

Here we'll discuss everything you need to know about how to store your alcohol-based sanitizers to keep them safe and effective. 

Leaving Hand Sanitizer In Your Car

If you are like me, you keep your hand sanitizer in your bag or in your car at all times. But is it safe?

Since most hand sanitizer is highly flammable due to the predominant alcohol content, can high heat temperatures like those inside a car on a sunny summer day make your hand sanitizer ignite?

The Western Lakes Fire District (WLFD) in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, posted a photo of a burnt car door on Facebook, cautioning people not to leave hand sanitizer in a vehicle on hot summer days because it may contain alcohol and be flammable.

This screenshot of a Facebook post by the Western Lakes Fire District in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, raised concerns about the risk of keeping hand sanitizer in your car on a hot day

Their intention was to increase awareness and public safety, however, the post proved to be controversial. Facebook users commented on WLFD's post and many expressed their disbelief of ignitable hand sanitizer calling it "TOTALLY irresponsible..."

After posting the controversial photo, a fire official with Western Lakes said the image they shared was taken in Brazil after the hand sanitizer came in contact with an open flame.

However, do not be alarmed and go running to your car to retrieve your hand sanitizer! The chances of your car going up in flames are low, and here is why.

Can High Temperature Cause My Hand Sanitizer To Ignite?

Studies show that it takes no less than 700 degrees Fahrenheit for hand sanitizer to ignite, while car temperatures only reach a maximum of about 160 degrees on hot summer days. 

The key, however, is to make sure your sanitizer is stored away from anything that could produce a flame, like a car's cigarette lighter since sanitizers are highly flammable. 

Also keep in mind that alcohol, the main component of sanitizers, is very volatile. This means it evaporates very quickly when exposed to heat/air. For this reason, keeping your sanitizers in a cool place away from direct sunlight is essential in making sure your sanitizer stays effective. 


Bottom Line

Keeping hand sanitizers within easy reach wherever you go has become a rule to live by in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak. For many people, this means keeping a bottle in your car. If stored correctly and keeping key factors in mind, this can be a convenient and safe storage location. 




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