Update: There is some discussion on the extent of this risk with some advising that the temperature the vapours can ignite with out a spark is much higher. We are still choosing to be cautious and asking customers to remove hand sanitiser from their car if they bring their vehicle into us for any workshop work.
With many people keeping hand sanitiser with them in response to Coronavirus, bottles of hand sanitiser are frequently being stored in vehicles. This creates a significant fire risk and these bottles should be removed from the vehicle if unoccupied.
In hot temperatures, the temperature inside the vehicle can rapidly increase. For example, at 25°C temperatures outside, the inside of the vehicle can reach 55°C. At high temperatures like this, alcohol hand sanitiser and other alcohol based cleaning products can release an easily flammable vapour.
This vapour has a low ‘flashpoint’ meaning they can ignite at these temperatures where the fire can then spread throughout the vehicle.
To prevent against these fires, you should remove all alcohol-based hand sanitiser products from vehicles when they are not occupied and do not leave hand sanitiser in un-attended vehicles.
It is still perfectly safe and, in the absence of soap and water, recommended to continue sanitising your hands and vehicle. Just when you leave your vehicle, take your sanitiser with you.