Hand Sanitizer in Hot Car

Will it maintain its effectiveness? Google shows a variety of answers.

Its going to depend on the type of sanitizer and its container. For the WHO recipe it’s effectiveness if driven by its alcohol content once it drops below 60% it is not doing its job. Ethanol can volitize at fairly low temperatures so it wouldn’t surprise me if the first time you opened it hot you would lose a blast of ethanol. If the container wasn’t vapor tight to begin with it, I would expect it to constantly lose ethanol when hot.

Its going to depend on temperature and relative humidity too much to give specifics.

It will vary by product, of course. The hand sanitizer that I just got in a big supply of is a thick gel with 62% alcohol and a long list of other ingredients (primarily moisturizers, I think) and contains a lot of information on the label, including recommended storage between 15 and 30°C (60°F to 86°F) – so IOW, more or less room temperature. I also have some thin distillery-made hand sanitizer with 70% alcohol that has no storage instructions, but both types state the obvious “keep away from sources of heat” due to the alcohol content.

Leaving it in a hot car is a bad idea, IMO. It’s unlikely to catch fire, but it may pressurize a closed bottle and/or cause it to lose alcohol on opening. We aren’t quite into the really hot season here yet, but the car can get pretty warm sitting in direct sunlight and it can still can cold at night, so I always bring the bottle of hand sanitizer into the house with me. I would follow the general rule to try to keep it at around room temperature if at all possible.

Yeah, that’s what I figured. It’s kind of a pain, but will have to bring the bottle in.

I’m a photographer, and years ago I started to carry a Styrofoam six-pack cooler in the van for the camera’s protection. Even several hours in the sun with interior temps climbing way over a hundred left the Canon cool to the touch, as well as out of sight and cushioned against sharp turns and panic stops.

Not a bad place to store your mask, either.


Oh, yeah - my sanitizer is in a pump spray bottle, so absent a loose pump-cap, I don’t see vapor escaping.

That’s interesting. This is without an ice pack inside?

I keep one of those little flip top squeeze bottles, maybe a few ounces, in the car.
Last week, we had a very warm day and the little bottle was clearly bulging from the pressure.
I burped it and made a point to make sure it stays right side up when not in use in case it blows.
It would probably be better to keep it closer to full, too.

Can confirm, does happen.

To make it worse, when all this started I grabbed some hand sanitizer out of my daughters room. She had tons of those little tiny bottles, the kind you see on keychains. The one I grabbed, on top of being pumpkins spice has little microbeads in it. They’re getting all over the place. I’m not concerned with it transferring from my hands to the steerwheel/stick/seatbelt, but those beads get dried onto everything too.

J.J., yes, no ice pack.


I realize that it probably won’t happen, but I will not be that surprised if some car in Texas catches fire this summer from hand sanitizer

Thanks. Will try it out!

the small cooler is a great idea.

I had a cigarette lighter explode in a car (but not ignite) from direct exposure to the sun. It was one of those hard plastic kind you can easily see the fluid in. I couldn’t figure out why there were all these tiny pieces of plastic in the car until I found the flint wheel.

I also had a quart of isopropyl alcohol in the car away from direct sunlight and the heat of the car caused it to expand and leak to the point I could smell it.

Back in mid-February I bought several bottles of Purell, a week or two before they disappeared off the shelves completely. I put a bottle in my car, my wife’s car, and the entryway to our house so we could sanitize our hands before touching anything inside the house/cars.

I finally had to replace the bottle I had in my car. I compared the unopened bottle with the one that had been sitting in my car for the past 6 months and the alcohol scent was about the same. I also happened to have several small cuts/scrapes on my hands and the contents of both bottles “stung” equally, which I assume is due to the alcohol content. Crude, I know, but I get the impression that hand sanitizer remains effective even if stored in a hot car for long periods of time.