Is hand sanitiser… dangerous?

Hand sanitiser is alcohol-based. Some contain up to 70% alcohol by volume or more. This makes it flammable and easily ignited by a naked flame or even excessive temperature. It should be treated with care.

With sales of this product currently through the roof due to Covid-19, there is a greater need for awareness.

Hand sanitiser burns at a lower temperature to cellulose fibres, fuel or plastic. It has a flash point of just 21•C and a peak flame temperature of between 250 – 500•C. Therefore, bottles of hand sanitiser can easily ignite around naked flame, cigarettes, exposure to the sun, a barbecue, or even in hot cars.

More and more companies are providing, manufacturing or storing hand sanitiser. Potential hazards should be considered and steps should be taken to minimise risks. When used as directed and stored properly, the risks of a fire involving it are minimal. However, it should be treated as the flammable liquid that it is.

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