Does hand sanitizer explode in a hot car? Experts say no

How to make your own hand sanitizer at home

Hand sanitizer left in a hot car exploded leaving a smoldering mess, prompting a Wisconsin fire department to issue a warning on social media.

“By its nature, most hand sanitizer is alcohol-based and therefore flammable,” the Western Lakes Fire Department said. “Keeping it in your car during hot weather, exposing it to sun, and particularly being next to open flame while smoking in vehicles or grilling while enjoying this weekend can lead to disaster.”

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Experts dispute this.

Versions of this hoax first appeared in Thailand before spreading to Brazil and Costa Rica, Poynter.org reported.

A car would need to reach 572 degrees Fahrenheit to cause hand sanitizer to explode, Poynter reported. Researchers at Arizona State University found that the hottest the inside of cars get is about 160 degrees.

Hand sanitizer left in a hot car exploded, leaving a smoldering mess, prompting a Wisconsin fire department to issue a warning on social media. Experts dispute this.
Hand sanitizer left in a hot car exploded, leaving a smoldering mess, prompting a Wisconsin fire department to issue a warning on social media. Experts dispute this. (Western Lakes Fire Department/Western Lakes Fire Department)