We’ve heard a lot about hand hygiene during the COVID-19 outbreak. Along with other disease prevention strategies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations you wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
To meet Food and Drug Administration and CDC approval, hand sanitizers must be greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol alcohol. This makes alcohol hand sanitizers highly flammable, and if an ignition source is present, hand sanitizer will ignite at room temperature.
Recently, a UPS distribution center in Plainfield, Indiana experienced extensive damage and loss of product when an employee ignited hand sanitizer in a semi trailer at the facility.
Everyone should exercise caution when using/applying alcohol-based hand sanitizers near potential ignition sources, like cigarette lighters.
For more info on hand sanitizer flammability and the importance of proper storage, check out this five-minute video by the National Fire Protection Association.