In this time of the pandemic, many people have stocked up hand sanitizers to guard themselves against the deadly COVID-19. As beaches reopen, many people are likely to bring hand sanitizers with them, but an expert warns that hot temperatures could make the alcohol in hand sanitizers evaporate, leaving them less effective.
The warning came from Dr. Greg Boyce, a professor at Florida Gold Coast University, who said that it might not be a good idea to leave hand sanitizers inside the car indefinitely. Ford engineers also warned that ethanol alcohol is likely to damage the interior of a vehicle. Just recently, exploding sanitizers have also made the rounds on the internet after a mother from Baxaden, Lancashire, revealed its "hidden damages."
Alcohol Content will Evaporate
According to Daily Mail, thousands of Britons went out to the beaches on Wednesday to bask in the 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius) sunshine on the hottest day of the year so far. According to some reports, traffic wardens had even run out of tickets because there are so many of them.
Of course, those people who took advantage of the weather are likely to have taken hand sanitizers with them. However, Associate Professor Dr. Greg Boyce of the Florida Gold Coast University's Department of Chemistry and Physics, warned that leaving bottles of the product inside the cars would not be a good idea.
Boyce told ABC News that if someone is just running errands and want to keep hand sanitizer in the car would be fine, but leaving it indefinitely is another thing. According to heatkills.org, a car parked in direct sunlight can get as hot as 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) inside, while its outside temperatures reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).
Dr. Bryce added that when exposed to hot temperatures, the hand sanitizers could be less effective as it loses its alcohol content, therefore diminishing its effectiveness. Additionally, car mechanics also warned that this product could damage the interiors of the vehicles.
Damage to the Car's Interior
Ford engineers noticed a 'particularly high wear' on cars tested in Turkey after conducting tests on cars at extreme temperatures to replicate when they are left outside during hot weather days.
They traced the cause of the damage and found that it was ethanol, the type of alcohol present in hand sanitizers. According to Mark Montgomery, Ford's Material Technology Centre senior engineer, there were some instances where a particularly high wear in Turkey is seen.
"We managed to trace it back to ethanol potentially being a contributing factor, and most likely a popular hand sanitizer that contained 80 percent ethanol. That's far higher than anything we'd seen before," he added.
They found that even hand sanitizers, the most innocuous-seeming product, can cause problems when it touches with surfaces hundreds of times a year.
Recently, a mother from Baxenden, Lancashire, warned of the hidden harmful damages of hand gels after a bottle of the product left in a hot car exploded.
Alex Chadwick, who was just picking up a prescription from the pharmacy, narrated that when her daughter opened its cap, the bottle of hand gel exploded, showering her daughter's left eye.
This is another example of why people should not leave hand sanitizers for too long inside a hot car. Nonetheless, its benefits still outweigh its "harmful effects" as long as it is used properly.