Is Baby Powder Flammable: Can It Catch Fire?

Baby powder is a common product that many parents use on their babies and toddlers. It is supposed to help prevent diaper rash, chafing, and odor. However, some people wonder, is baby powder flammable, can it catch fire, or explode?

The answer is: it depends.

Let’s find out why.

Is Baby Powder Flammable?

Yes, baby powder is flammable under certain circumstances. While not spontaneously combusting, baby powder possesses properties that can ignite under specific conditions, posing potential safety risks.

Can Baby Powder Catch Fire?

Baby powder can catch fire if exposed to a direct flame or high heat source. The fine, dust-like particles create a large surface area, readily igniting when exposed to sufficient heat. This risk is particularly high when the powder is airborne, creating a dust cloud more susceptible to combustion.

Is Baby Powder Explosive?

No, baby powder itself isn’t considered an explosive. Explosives require specific chemical properties to rapidly combust and generate a powerful pressure wave. While flammable, baby powder lacks these characteristics and won’t detonate like explosives under normal circumstances.

Baby powder dust on table

What Is Baby Powder Made Of?

Baby powder typically contains two main ingredients:

  • Talcum powder: A naturally occurring mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate.
  • Cornstarch: A type of carbohydrate extracted from corn.

Some formulations of baby powder may also include fragrances or other additives that are combustible or flammable, contributing to the potential fire hazard of baby powder.

However, talc itself is not combustible. Talc is a stable inorganic solid that can be used as a fire-extinguishing agent when doused on a flame. Talc has strong flame-retardant properties but can burn when blown into the air as fine dust and ignited.

Cornstarch is an ST1 combustible dust, and it will ignite due to the fine particle size. If cornstarch forms a high-concentration dust cloud, it may become explosive from the rapid expansion of gas from chemical reactions, creating a baby powder explosion.

Fortunately, when formed together, the flammability and explosive properties of talcum powder and cornstarch are lower than if the two substances were separate. The flame-retardant property of talcum powder helps reduce the combustion of many baby powders.

Note: Baby powder is made up of different ingredients than baby oil. If you are using baby oil, then see this related guide about its combustible properties: is baby oil flammable?

What Happens If You Burn Baby Powder?

Burning baby powder releases smoke and fumes that can irritate the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. Inhaling these fumes can be harmful, particularly for individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions. Additionally, the fire itself can pose risks of burns and property damage.

Safety Precautions for Using Baby Powder

To minimize the risk of fire or inhalation hazards:

  • Never use baby powder near open flames or heat sources.
  • Avoid creating dust clouds when applying the powder. Sprinkle it directly onto your hands or a cloth before applying, minimizing the amount airborne.
  • Store baby powder in a cool, dry place away from heat and open flames.
  • Keep baby powder out of reach of children and pets.
  • Consider alternative products with less flammable ingredients for infants and sensitive individuals.


While not as volatile as gasoline or other flammable liquids, baby powder is flammable and can ignite under the right circumstances. Understanding its combustible properties and implementing safe handling practices is essential to prevent accidents and protect yourself and others from baby powder catching fire.

Consider alternative products with less flammable ingredients if concerned about fire risks or have individuals with respiratory sensitivities in your household. By prioritizing safety and awareness, you can ensure baby powder remains a helpful tool for hygiene without compromising safety.