Experts warn why you should never leave hand sanitiser in your car

Experts warn people not to leave hand sanitisers in cars during hot weather, as the substance, which has been used to slow the spread of Covid-19, can be potentially flammable if left in warm vehicles.

By Lizzie Day
Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 9:56 am

With temperatures set to soar to 34°C in some parts of the country today, people have been alerted to the potential fire risk caused by leaving alcohol-based hand sanitisers in their cars.

Experts at CE Safety have warned that with the upcoming heatwave, rising temperatures can cause the alcohol in the sanitiser to evaporate and result in flammable vapours being released.

This could cause your car to set on fire as the vapours react to their ‘flashpoint’ – they can then ignite in normal air conditions and set flammable components within the vehicle alight.

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Experts warn people to not leave hand sanitisers in their car during the heatwave.

During a heatwave with particularly hot weather, signifcant pressure could build up inside the sanitiser, causing it to rupture and potentially explode when opened.

It comes after similar incidents were reported and NHS staff were instructed to remove all alcohol-based hand sanitisers from their cars in case of fire.

A spokesperson from CE Safety said: “Our advice is to remove alcohol-based hand sanitisers when the British public leave their cars.

“If it is 25°C outside, the estimated vehicle interior air temperature can reach up to 50°C if left for a couple of hours.

“So, it is no surprise to see pictures circulating on social media showing severely damaged vehicles due to hand sanitiser bottles that had ignited inside a vehicle sitting in direct sunlight.”

The organisation, which provides health and safety courses advised the public to use soap and water or wear disposable gloves instead of hand gel.

“As hand hygiene is one of the most effective methods of tackling coronavirus, we recommend continuing to use hand sanitiser as part of your hygiene routine where soap and water can’t be used”, a spokesperson added.

“But please bear in mind that there may be a fire risk if the alcohol-based hand sanitiser is left in the car.

“One alternative solution might be to use disposable gloves whilst in the car which may remove the need for hand sanitiser.

“Just remember to throw them away immediately after use.”

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