In another example of stupid people forwarding stupid information, much of the Hudson Valley is now convinced that their cars will explode if they keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in the cupholder.

Even without researching this gem of information it was pretty clear to me that this was bogus. But, for the sake of science, I decided to investigate this claim myself. The original posting came from a Wisconson fire department's Facebook page, which shared a photo of a burned-out car interior. It turns out that the picture was not taken from a hand sanitizer explosion, but as many commenters pointed out, found on an Internet image search. The picture was actually taken in a different country and has not been connected to any supposed hand sanitizer explosions.

The thought that a bottle of hand sanitizer can get so hot in your car that it could ignite and explode is pretty ridiculous, but that hasn't stopped people from thinking that it "kinda makes sense." MythBusters tested similar rumors, debunking the claim that a butane lighter left on the dashboard will ignite in a hot car. Even under the most extreme situations, it just wouldn't happen. According to mythresults.com,  It wasn't until the car was heated up to 350 degrees that the lighter eventually did ignite, a temperature much higher than any vehicle could ever possibly get.

Hand sanitizer is much more diluted than butane fuel, so the chance of it igniting in a hot car is almost non-existent. The real danger comes from the hand sanitizer becoming less effective. An open container of hand sanitizer left in a warm car could get hot enough for the alcohol to evaporate, making the hand sanitizer unknowingly ineffective.

So please, don't waste your time warning people about exploding hand sanitizer containers. Instead, why not use the opportunity to remind your loved ones to follow proven things that can really keep them safe this summer? Wearing a mask has been shown to reduce the chance of infections of the coronavirus by up to 75%. If you're not wearing a mask but worried about explosive bottles of hand sanitizer, you may want to reexamine your priorities. Facts, now more than ever, are really important.

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