Why You Should Never Leave Your Hand Sanitisers in Your Car

Hand sanitisers have never been more popular.

Sure, you may have purchased a couple of bottles in the past to make your hands smell like grapefruit before meeting your Tinder date, but it’s now become something of a necessity due to the coronavirus outbreak.

You probably have one or two bottles in your bag, a few in your car, and a thousand in your house.

But did you know that improper storage of these sanitisers can be bad for you? Here are several reasons why you shouldn’t leave them in your car:

1. It May Become Less Effective

According to Florida Gold Coast University Associate Professor Dr Greg Boyce, leaving hand sanitiser in your car for an extended period of time at high temperatures could cause it to lose its effectiveness.


Because the active ingredient – alcohol – which kills bacteria and viruses, could evaporate.

Reader: How the hell does it evaporate when it’s in a bottle?

I’m glad you asked, dear reader.

While these bottles protect the hand sanitiser from being exposed to air, evaporation is still possible as the lid may not be airtight, according to AsiaOne.

And since warmer temperatures lead to more evaporation, your hand sanitiser might lose its efficacy quicker.

This means, after a certain point, you may as well rub beer all over your hands because the sanitiser won’t kill bacteria and viruses as effectively.

2. Warm Sanitiser Can Irritate Your Skin

High temperatures and hand sanitiser don’t go well together for another reason.

As any driver would know, especially owners of black vehicles, cars left out under the Singapore Sun can become an oven in less than an hour.

It’s hard to drive while your ass is being cooked.

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But if you leave hand sanitiser in your oven of a car, it could also irritate your skin when you use it later because of its higher temperature.

The heat may have nothing to do with it though, as some argue that hand sanitiser is bad for your skin in general.

According to Shape, overuse of the product can compromise the skin barrier, resulting in irritation and dryness.

And because your skin tends to tear and crack more when it’s dry, bacteria and viruses can enter more easily, said dermatologist Lynn Chiam.

3. It Can Damage Your Car’s Interior

There are some people out there who love their cars more than some of their family members, and treat it like a newborn baby.

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If you are one of these people, you may not want to leave hand sanitiser in your beloved car anymore.

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Research conducted by Ford Engineers found that certain ingredients in hand sanitiser can cause interior surfaces to wear prematurely.


An experiment determined that the culprit is ethanol, an alcohol commonly used in hand sanitisers.

So, if you want your car to look as new as the day you bought it, keep hand sanitiser far, far away from it.

4. They Are Flammable, But They Probably Won’t Start A Fire In Your Car

You may have come across stories of cars exploding or bursting into flames because a bottle of hand sanitiser inside the car caught fire.

Image: Mirror
Image: NY Post

This, however, may not be true.

While hand sanitiser is flammable, Brazilian fact-checkers Aos Fatos and Estadão Verifica ascertained that a car would need to reach temperatures of above 300 degrees Celsius for hand sanitisers to catch fire.


So unless you’ve parked your car inside an air-fryer, you should be fine.

However, if a bottle of hand sanitiser is in close proximity to an open flame, then a fire could technically start.

The chances of your car catching fire due to a tiny bottle of hand sanitiser are low, but hey, why risk it?

Pop It In Your Bag

Since hand sanitiser bottles are so small, it’s easy to keep it in a bag or even your pocket because it hardly takes up any space.

While it may not start fires, it’s bad for you and even your car, so take it along with you like you would a personal possession.


It’s not as effective as hand washing, though. So, always wash your hands instead, if there’s an opportunity to do so.

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