WebMD BlogsPublic Health

'Can I Leave Hand Sanitizer in a Hot Car?'

hand santizer car
August 12, 2020
From the WebMD Archives

Thanks to the COVID-19 epidemic, people today seem to be preoccupied with killing germs, on everything from the kitchen countertop to their own hands. And our current obsession with hand sanitizer means people carry it everywhere – including leaving a jug of it inside their hot cars.

Is that safe?

Short answer: Yup.

You mean, it won’t explode? Nope.

While these products are flammable – most of them consist of 60-90% alcohol – your car would need to heat up to around 700 degrees Fahrenheit before a container of hand sanitizer would explode or burn on its own, and nobody’s car gets that hot inside. Not even in the hottest regions of the U.S. in the middle of August.

But leaving hand sanitizer in your car could possibly make it less effective.

That’s because exposing your hand sanitizer to sunlight and heat can cause the alcohol in the product to evaporate. If the alcohol evaporates, the percentage of alcohol in the product goes down, and the hand sanitizer may become less effective – which means you may not be killing as many germs on your hands as you thought you were each time you slather it on.

Frequently using hand sanitizer can help stop the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, so it’s a great idea to carry some with you everywhere. If you do leave a bottle of hand sanitizer in your car, don’t worry that it might explode. Just store it out of direct sunlight (like in the side pocket of the door), make sure it’s tightly capped (air makes alcohol evaporate too!), and be aware that the product may lose some of its effectiveness over time due to alcohol evaporation – so you probably should replace that bottle more frequently.




WebMD Blog
© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Blog Topics:

More from the Public Health Blog

  • vitamin d supplement

    'What's the Best Time of Day to Take Vitamins?'

    Knowing what time of day to take your vitamin and mineral supplements can help you maximize their effectiveness and avoid dangerous interactions.

  • man sore throat

    'Does a Sore Throat Mean I'm Sick?'

    If your only symptom is a sore throat, it may not be anything to get worked up about. But, how do you know if you need to call a doctor?

View all posts on Public Health

Latest Blog Posts on WebMD

View all blog posts

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Read More