Fact Finders: Will hand sanitizer, masks hold up in your hot car?

Fact Finders: COVID-19 supplies in your hot car

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - You have probably added more germ-fighting items to your car during the coronavirus outbreak.

As temperatures heat up into the triple-digits for Southern Arizona, there are steps you may want to take with your hand sanitizer, gloves, masks and more in the heat.

Arizona State University Sustainability Professor Ariane Middel says hand sanitizer can lose its effectiveness if it’s sitting in the heat, inside your car.

“It is true that the alcohol as it becomes hot evaporates much quicker than water for example," said Middel.

[ Can hand sanitizer spontaneously ignite in a hot car? ]

While alcohol-based hand sanitizers are considered flammable liquids, the NFPA says there would still need an ignition source, like a flame from a candle or a lighter.

“The ignition temperature for the alcohols are going to be in excess of 700-degrees Fahrenheit or approximately 300-degrees Celsius," said Guy Colonna, director of Technical Services at NFPA.

“You certainly should be aware of this material being flammable and handle it appropriately, keep it away form known ignition sources but I don’t think the contents sitting in a car is what we should be concerned about," said Colonna.

To keep your hand sanitizer from losing it’s effectiveness, it’s suggested you store your hand sanitizer under a car seat or a blanket, to get it out of the direct sunlight. The best option would be to take it with you when you get home or out of the car for a long period of time.

An item that can be a risk, depending on where it is in the car, is your water bottle.

“Since the bottle has this round shape, that makes it essentially act like magnifying glass, so the water inside concentrates the light and it’s being refracted through the bottle," said Middel.

Fire officials say aerosol cans, like hairspray or deodorant, can explode if your car gets hot enough.

If you have wearing gloves inside businesses, the heat won’t melt them, but officials say they could be damaged by sunlight.

Recent research from the University of Georgia suggests the heat in your car could help kill the virus that causes COVID-19, since heat dramatically shortens the amount of time it takes to disinfect against it. Researchers say the sun might be enough to significantly reduce the risk of transmission.

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