The covid-19 has dramatically expanded the use of hand sanitizers. Although the virus is thankfully gone, the anxiety in people doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
So, people are still using sanitizers, and meanwhile, a question has been bothering many: is hand sanitizer flammable?
Well, hand sanitizer is both flammable and explosive. This liquid contains a large amount of ethanol which is the primary element to blame for the flammability of sanitizers. Ethanol usually gets ignited by static electricity.
However, before you get into any trouble regarding the flammability of sanitizers, consider going through this blog without skipping any part.
We’ll be breaking down the lifesaving factors.
What Flammable Category Is Hand Sanitizer?
Most hand sanitizers are alcohol-based and thus contain a rich amount of alcohol.
So, it’s no rocket science that this substance is the main category that makes hand sanitizers flammable and even explosive if not stored following the appropriate method.
The sanitizers contain ethyl alcohol. It’s capable of evaporating in no time at room temperature. Therefore, it’s considered to be one of Class 1 flammable liquids (the liquids which have flashpoints under 23°C and boiling point under 35°C).
So, this simply means the maximum safe heat point for hand sanitizers would be less than 100°F. If you carry a bottle of sanitizer in your bag or store them at room temperature, it won’t cause any fire threat.
Hand Sanitizer Storage Property Risk Management Guide
Usually, hand sanitizers are found in plastic bottles. They will melt if they come in contact with fire radiant temperature or flames. Consequently, the flammable hand sanitizers will get easy access to cause a fire.
So, learning the proper ways of storing hand sanitizers is mandatory. Let us enlighten you.
1. First and Foremost Rule: The Fewer, The Better
Try not to store too many sanitizer bottles together. Keep the least possible amount that can meet your necessities. If it’s for business purposes, convince your supplier to be frequent and send sanitizers in small numbers at once.
2. Storing Tip
Ensure a place that is at most one pallet higher than the usual combustible places. Plus, the place shouldn’t be too hot (the temperature should be less than 100°F). Consider using skids that are non-combustible under the storage area.
3. Places You Shouldn’t Keep Your Sanitizers
You shouldn’t store sanitizers inside confined and warm places like lockers or cabinets unless you’re protecting the place with flammable protective formulas.
Next comes cars. It isn’t entirely safe to store sanitizers inside a car. The temperature can rise and cause dangerous mishaps.
A totally forbidden place for sanitizers is around the stove or oven. There’ll always be high risks of fire incidents since hand sanitizer is a volatile liquid.
The bottom line is you can’t store sanitizers in an area above 105° F. Thus, places that have access to direct sunlight are no-no as well.
Storing them inside a heated room won’t be wise either. You must keep the sanitizer bottles away from all ignition and heat sources.
Safety Tips for Storing Sanitizers
- Consider storing the sanitizers in a rack that is NFPA 30 protected and goes under the Scheme B design. This design will have barriers and sprinklers or racks to protect the bottles.
- The storage place should have a one-hour fire-rated door for emergencies.
- Keep the area closed and it would be best if you use an automatic closing system.
Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer and Fire Safety
As mentioned earlier, ABHS (alcohol-based hand sanitizer) contains ethyl alcohol. It is likely to cause a fire hazard if heated, crossing its flash point (around 77°F). Regular usage can’t trigger its flash point.
Yet, we have some safety laws for you that’ll keep you safe.
- Must reduce the potential sources of ignition
- Try to ensure ways of a quick exit from the storage room in fire emergencies
- Keep flammable liquids away from the sanitizers in a safe place
How Do You Extinguish a Sanitizer Fire? (Step-By-Step Guideline)
God forbid, if you ever face a hand sanitizer fire occurrence, you need to smartly extinguish it as soon as possible. So, here’s the guide −
- Arrange a small type B fire extinguisher and use it as the primary step.
- Once you get the fire in control, use a blanket to let down the flames. If your clothes have caught fire, consider handling those flames first.
- Lastly, submerge the burned parts of your body into cold water to treat the skin after extinguishing the fire.
Note: if the initial methods don't seem enough, consider calling the fire service as soon as possible. Once you get the situation in control, consult a doctor to treat your burned skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does alcohol in hand sanitizer evaporate?
Yes, it does. The alcohol in hand sanitizers is the active part and is a volatile formula. So, when exposed to air, it’ll evaporate quickly. The containers of them might slightly protect the liquid from the air. But let’s face it; those containers aren’t airtight. Therefore, evaporation would be a sure thing.
2. How long does it take for the alcohol in hand sanitizer to evaporate?
It takes around 15 minutes or so. The alcohol in hand sanitizers is harmless since it’s mixed with emollients. This is why kids are allowed to use this without any precautions or anything.
3. What temperature kills sanitizer?
Temperature above 200°F can kill sanitizer. At this temperature, the water in the sanitizer evaporates before it can even kill the bacteria. Thus, the sanitizing power goes away.
While ending the blog, we would like to remind you once again that hand sanitizers contain ethanol, a flammable liquid. So, the answer to is hand sanitizer flammable, is positive.
Now that you know the answer, don’t dare to miss out on the safety precautions. If you aren’t storing sanitizers for business purposes, there aren’t many risks except car restrictions.
Try not to skip any of the safety standards. Being on the safe side of the road should always be your concern.