I love a sweet fragrance, and so do many people – it just makes you feel good. Perfumes and colognes are a personal choice, especially when it comes to finding the right scent. Not surprisingly, people don’t mind importing perfumes from across the world, meaning the market is large and worth billions.
But have you ever wondered if perfume is flammable? Is it 100% safe to apply and free from fire hazards? This article will cover more about fragrance and its flammability.
Is Perfume Flammable?
Yes. Perfume is made up of various ingredients, and most contain flammable alcohol, so when perfume comes into contact with flames/sparks, it can easily catch fire. Other components, such as artificial or natural fragrances, are concentrated with chemicals that can easily burn by heat and electrical sparks.
What Is Perfume?
Perfume is a volatile and sweet-smelling fluid/deodorant stored in glass containers to spray on our clothes and body. It contains ethyl alcohol and other essentials that spread evenly once sprayed out. Since perfumes are personal items, some people love applying them to strategic body areas like armpits, wrists, shoulders, and necks.
Thanks to perfumes, you don’t have to panic about body odor, especially when you invest in a good and quality brand, as the scent will be long-lasting and strong enough to carry you through the day.
How Flammable Is Perfume?
As stated, perfume is flammable and contains different levels of alcohol content and hence classified as a Hazard Class 3. The liquid ignites easily in certain conditions, such as being in contact with open flames and other ignition sources.
So when it comes to shipping, perfumes are shipped under specific regulations (UN 1266 classification). To ensure secure shipping, the liquid is safely packaged, marked, and well-documented as per required regulations. This eliminates risks such as breakage and spillage, which can harm other goods in transit.
Do All Perfumes Catch Fire?
Perfumes, as previously stated, contain alcoholic ingredients that make them explosive. The alcohol content varies from scent to scent, which makes the colognes long-lasting. It's common to go for alcohol-free perfumes, but their alternative ingredients, such as ketones, terpenes, aldehydes, esters, and hydrocarbons, may still catch fire by electric spark and heat.
Other ingredients, such as natural paraffin, oils, and fragrance chemicals, are known to burn easily. The compounds react to form a volatile substance known as pyrolysis, where it breaks down into gas.
This gas ignites and explodes when in contact with a hot spark surface or when exposed to heat for an extended time. So it is good to maintain your perfumes by keeping them away from any open flame/spark.
At What Temperature Does Perfume Ignite?
Perfumes fall under the Hazard Class 3 category of liquid flammability. Flash points differ, but perfume will ignite at 150-180 degrees Fahrenheit (or higher). Temperature also affects the chemical ingredients in perfumes and makes them lose the appealing smell.
Placing your perfume at high temperatures produces an adverse chemical reaction that degrades the perfume, causes evaporation, and increases the explosion hazard. The alcohol vapor at a flash point or when in contact with a flame ignites the scent.
It's best to ensure the storage temperatures are proper to preserve it. I always check my colognes flash points, but some brands don’t label them. An alcohol thermometer may help indicate the temperature levels of perfume.
Can Perfume Be Explosive?
Yes. But it's rare for perfumes to explode, though that does not imply that intentionally exposing them to open flame and hot temperatures is a good idea. The ethyl alcohol catches fire with gasoline flames and other ignition sources and causes an explosion.
The packaging matters, too, as a low-quality bottle will break down quickly compared to a high-quality one. The heat from flames and sunlight increases the air pressure in the bottle, and when fully stretched, it pops and explodes. The heat causes plastic containers to melt, and the vapor escapes, making it a fire hazard.
Can You Leave Perfume In A Car?
It's common for people to leave their colognes in the car. It makes it easier to reapply before a date after a long day. But imagine a combination of car heat and UV rays.
The heat messes up the chemical ingredients of perfumes, making them lose their scent, causing discoloration, and increasing their flammability when in contact with an open spark. So, leaving your favorite perfume in the car is not advisable, especially when it’s very hot for a long time.
Is Alcohol Good For Perfumes?
As stated, ethyl alcohol makes perfumes flammable, and you may wonder why the content is essential for fragrances. However, I love long-last scents, and since I’m not allergic to alcoholic ingredients, I don’t mind using colognes with the component.
Below are reasons why ethyl alcohol as an ingredient is essential in perfumes:
- Alcohol helps blend fragrances by breaking down the aroma ingredients to make a unique scent.
- It helps fragrances spread out quickly and effortlessly.
- Alcohol preserves the cologne’s blend, which helps the bottle last longer.
What Will Happen If I Leave My Perfume Open?
Sometimes we can be in a rush and leave our perfumes open, and even stalls that sell perfumes contain opened bottles. But perfumes don’t go rancid quickly, and opened perfumes can last for years with proper storage. Also, most perfume bottles have a stopper to prevent air lock and keep the liquid safe.
But ingredients from opened perfumes mix with the outdoor air, which increases the evaporation process. So the noticeable sign of an opened bottle is the scent diffusing to other parts of the room.
However, exposed scents suffer negative impacts from heat and light. These conditions destroy the scented oils, cause discoloration, and shorten the length of the cologne's shelf life. Leaving a perfume open will make the scent spread to the surrounding space but will not make it expire.
Expired perfumes are easily noticeable; for instance, you may notice the color change, the off or diluted scent, and the residue at the bottom of the bottle.
How Do I Store My Perfume?
Storage of flammable items such as perfumes matters when safety is concerned. And now that you know that your favorite perfume can be explosive, you must ensure safe storage to prevent fire hazards and preserve its effectiveness.
Below are a few things you can do:
- Store perfumes far from electric outlets. Electrical heat/sparks from the outlets may make perfume catch fire.
- Avoid storing it in or near your kitchen, as many heating activities may cause the perfume to catch fire.
- Avoid bathroom storage because the humidity and temperature changes drastically affect the scent.
- Ensure your perfume bottle is not coming into contact with direct UV rays as it may affect and damage the lifespan and increase flammability.
- Store the perfume in a dry, dark, and cool place to prolong its lifespan and minimize fire hazard mishaps. Drawers and cabinets are suitable and safe places to store your perfume collection.
Perfumes are unique, wonderful scents that can be a big part of people's lives. Most folks have a collection of scents to wear for different occasions. But is perfume flammable? Yes, perfumes contain fragrance oils and alcohol contents that make them flammable.
Once they come close to any ignition and heat, the perfume will quickly catch fire. So it's best to store perfume in safe places such as drawers to extend the shelf life and prevent the probability of fire hazards.