NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There’s a hidden risk with keeping hand sanitizer in your car, especially during the hot summer months.

Flammable liquids and direct sunlight can make it explode.

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“It’s flammable and it’s an irritant,” said retired Dallas firefighter Sherrie Wilson. “When it’s venting and if it’s venting in a small space like a car, and vapor is released, it can explode.”

Wilson said pump bottles pose a greater risk because vapors can leak into a hot car creating a combustible environment.

“What happens with flammables, is they turn to vapor, and they vaporize into a confined space which was a car. And then if there was any introduction of static electricity and that could simply be somebody getting in and pulling down on a sweater or jacket or anything like that,” explained Wilson.

There are also concerns that leaving hand sanitizer in a hot car could make it less effective.

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“If the alcohol evaporates, the hand sanitizer is less efficient. It is the alcohol that kills the germs,” said Dr. Mihaela C. Stefan with UTD’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The best advice experts have to offer, is simply carry the hand sanitizer with you.

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