Warning: Hand Sanitizer Left In Sunlight Could Start Fire

Mike Krauser
May 21, 2020 - 4:32 pm

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A fire department in Wisconsin has a warning about hand sanitizer, left exposed to sunlight in cars.

The Western Lakes Fire District in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin posted a picture on social media showing the interior of a driver's side door burned and melted. The department said hand sanitizer was the cause. 

The Facebook post reads, "Let’s start today with a little education! We’ve chatted in the past about clear water bottles being kept in your vehicle when the weather is warm. That still holds true and so does hand sanitizer! By its nature, most hand sanitizer is alcohol-based and therefore flammable. Keeping it in your car during hot weather, exposing it to sun causing magnification of light through the bottle, and particularly being next to open flame while smoking in vehicles or grilling while enjoying this weekend can lead to disaster. Please respect the possibilities and be fire safe."

Hand sanitizer ignited, apparently as the sun hit the bottle, creating an effect like a magnifying glass. 

The department directs people to a video with warnings on hand sanitizer made by the National Fire Protection Association. 

In the case of the car fire, it appears to be a freak thing. Typically, it would take an open flame to ignite sanitizer.