There are many different types of hand sanitiser products, but the chemical formulations vary considerably. Here at Coler Medical PPE, we are often asked “Is hand sanitiser a fire risk?” We go on to explore this topic throughout this article.
What is being flammable or flammability?
According to Dictionary.com, a definition of flammability is:
“The quality of burning or igniting easily. The potential fire hazard depends on the flammability of the liquids being stored, their total quantity, and the type of container in which they are stored.”
Are hand sanitisers a fire risk?
The answer is that some hand sanitisers are flammable and therefore a fire risk and some are not. Flammability depends on its chemical formulation.
The majority of hand sanitiser products currently contain a high percentage of alcohol. This is added due to the anti-microbial qualities of alcohol. With the CDC and WHO recommending alcohol content of around 60%+, the fire risk is obvious.
This means hand sanitiser has a higher alcohol content than alcoholic drinks such as Scotch whisky 40-43%, Gin up to 40%, wine up to 16%, and fortified wine up to 25%. Although the alcohol used in sanitisers is different, usually (ethanol or propanol) the fact is alcohol is flammable, whatever type is used.
Can the alcohol percentage in hand sanitisers be safely reduced?
In a word, “No”. The primary reason to use hand sanitiser is to kill viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. A reduced alcohol percentage is against CDC/WHO advice and would not effectively enough counter the threat of microorganisms and would lead to increased growth of viruses and bacteria and infections.
How can I reduce the flammability risk of hand sanitisers?
The answer is simple, move away from alcohol (usually ethanol) based hand sanitisers and use a natural product such as MIST-IFY non-flammable hand sanitiser instead.
Here are some related reasons to buy MIST-IFY instant sanitiser:
- The product is entirely non-flammable and
- MIST-IFY is entirely natural, having an active ingredient of Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) to kill bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. HOCl is produced by the human body as a defence mechanism
Many people look for ways to reduce the risks of storing alcohol-based hand sanitiser products, instead of eliminate the risk entirely when you buy MIST-IFY instant sanitiser.
Related news stories
We have collected several hand sanitiser fire-related stories, which are summarised below:
- Experts in Texas warn that hand sanitiser can explode if left in a car on a hot day, this is due to the flammability of the alcohol in the hand sanitiser – Source: Independent Newspaper
- A school science experiment went wrong in Texas when a Teacher covered a student’s hands in hand sanitiser and then unwittingly set them alight, causing third-degree burns – Source: Independent Newspaper
- A drunk man in Catskill, New York covered himself in hand sanitiser and whilst in police custody was tasered. The taser ignition set the sanitiser alight and the man died six weeks later from burns-related injuries in hospital – Source: Fox News
- A devastating fire which destroyed a hand sanitiser warehouse fire in Hunter Valley, Australia was said by fire investigation experts to be due to “pallets of ethanol hand sanitiser which had caught fire” – Source: Daily Mail
Discussing sanitiser supplies with Coler Medical PPE
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