Forum Index » Multiple Use Gear » Hand sanitizer as a fire starter


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Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
Hand sanitizer as a fire starter on 05/03/2009 17:35:07 MDT Print View

A hiker recently caught out overnight in the White Mts. of NH, used hand sanitizer to get a fire going. I carry hand sanitizer as an easy way to clean hands after bathroom use, etc. No water, soap or towel is needed. It is alcohol based and apparently can be used as a fire starter.

JJ Mathes
(JMathes) - F

Locale: Southeast US
Hand sanitizer as a fire starter on 05/03/2009 18:08:12 MDT Print View

I've used it for fire starter, put a few drops on a cotton ball or tinder, works great.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Hand sanitizer as a fire starter on 05/03/2009 20:10:23 MDT Print View

Frank -
"I carry hand sanitizer as an easy way to clean hands after bathroom use, etc. No water, soap or towel is needed."



From a March 21, 2006 article in the New York Times -

"Since 2002, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that health care workers routinely use high quality alcohol-based gels instead of soap and water on their hands when moving from patient to patient — as long the worker's hands aren't visibly soiled.

“Alcohol doesn't cut through grime well, so dirt, blood, f.e.c.e.s or other body fluids or soil must be wiped or washed away first, if the alcohol in the sanitizer is to be effective. In such cases, hand washing with soap and water is advised.

“How much goop should you use? Vigorously rub all sides of your hands with enough gel or foam to get them wet, and rub them together until they are dry. If your hands are dry within 10 or 15 seconds, according to the C.D.C. guidelines for health care workers, you haven't used enough.”

Also noted was the fact that there are sanitizers out there that are less the 60% alcohol -

"I used to work in a virology lab," Dr. Aiello said, "and we knew — it has been known for decades — that an alcohol concentration under 60 percent won't kill the microbes. It's really frightening to think that there are products out there that contain levels lower than that."

So, just in case a critical point was missed -
Scrub with soap and water. Rinse. Then use a good sanitizer.

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Hand sanitizer as a fire starter on 05/04/2009 07:56:57 MDT Print View

==================== Posting ====================
Re: Hand sanitizer as a fire starter on 05/03/2009 20:10:23 MDT Reply Report Post Print View

Frank -
"I carry hand sanitizer as an easy way to clean hands after bathroom use, etc. No water, soap or towel is needed."



From a March 21, 2006 article in the New York Times -

"Since 2002, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that health care workers routinely use high quality alcohol-based gels instead of soap and water on their hands when moving from patient to patient — as long the worker's hands aren't visibly soiled.

“Alcohol doesn't cut through grime well, so dirt, blood, f.e.c.e.s or other body fluids or soil must be wiped or washed away first, if the alcohol in the sanitizer is to be effective. In such cases, hand washing with soap and water is advised.

“How much goop should you use? Vigorously rub all sides of your hands with enough gel or foam to get them wet, and rub them together until they are dry. If your hands are dry within 10 or 15 seconds, according to the C.D.C. guidelines for health care workers, you haven't used enough.”

Also noted was the fact that there are sanitizers out there that are less the 60% alcohol -

"I used to work in a virology lab," Dr. Aiello said, "and we knew — it has been known for decades — that an alcohol concentration under 60 percent won't kill the microbes. It's really frightening to think that there are products out there that contain levels lower than that."

So, just in case a critical point was missed -
Scrub with soap and water. Rinse. Then use a good sanitizer.

===================== REPLY ============

I found that the fires are just as easy to start whether or not you first wash your hands with soap and water. But 40% alcohol is a poorer fire starter.

Michael Reagan
(MichaelReagan) - F

Locale: Southern California
Bug dope works too on 05/04/2009 09:13:09 MDT Print View

Certain types of liquid bug dope--like Jungle Juice for example--also make a good firestarter. A squirt on your tinder bundle and a touch of a flame is all that it takes.

Michael

Lance Ruth
(kingnp2n) - F
Hand sanitizer as a fire starter on 05/16/2009 18:50:41 MDT Print View

You may be thinking of the chem reaction from mixing glycerin (which is an ingredient in hand sanitizer) with potassium permanganate. When added together, the combination is combustible. Seen it done before and it is brilliant - windproof, strong flame that lasts long enough to pile on some kindling. If you can find the potassium permanganate give it a shot in the backyard.

Justin Chaussee
(judach) - F

Locale: Earth
Re: Hand sanitizer as a fire starter on 06/23/2009 09:06:50 MDT Print View

Take a bottle of gel hand sanitizer, add a little bit of salt (bout a teaspoon, maybe a little less), shake it up, and you'll end up with pure alcohol that will ignite with the smallest of sparks. The salt separates the gel compounds from the alcohol which is highly flamable. Spray it on cotton balls or directly on your tinder.

sheila o
(bumpass) - F

Locale: The Far Left Coast? : /
"Hand sanitizer as a fire starter" on 06/27/2009 16:36:05 MDT Print View

The alcohol sprays on the market flame up pretty well too.

John Fry
(m6amba) - F
Re: Re: Hand sanitizer as a fire starter on 07/12/2009 03:49:43 MDT Print View

HOT DIGGITY DAWG!


i just put some salt in a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer we had laying around at work.........then sprayed it on a napkin (outside of course!) and hit it with some sparks off my flint-n-steel.....(yes i carry this at work, i carry a daypack with 1st aid, flashlight, firestarters, gps, etc, in case i get the opportunity to leave right from work on a quick day trip)
and VIOLA! fire!
i was amazed at how fast the salt turned the gel into a liquid, almost as soon as i started to shake it, and i found it best to open the dispenser nozzle to squirt just a little bit onto what you need to light, be careful of the gel "chunks" that try to come out.

I'm thinking that, if you could filter them out, and put the pure liquid back into the bottle, you would have a 2oz bottle of pure alcohol for starting emergency fires......

Justin Chaussee
(judach) - F

Locale: Earth
filtering the "gel chunks" on 07/12/2009 10:21:30 MDT Print View

You can buy a small plastic vial like the ones they sell at REI, remove the screen from inside a sink faucet, and place the screen over the the opening of the new vial; that way, when you transfer the alcohol to your new vial, the "gel chunks" get filtered out. At least, that's how I do it.

mark swarbrick
(markswarbrick) - F
Hand Sanitizer on 08/20/2009 19:03:22 MDT Print View

That was a "survival situation" and many items including the blue sleeping pad can be cut up to get a wet wood fire going with bushels of tinder. He used the sanatizer because he knew it would catch, you can't cook with it.

There isn't a good reason to filter out the "chunks" it's still wood alcohol - if you want it in liquid form, just take heat.

Edited by markswarbrick on 08/20/2009 19:05:28 MDT.

KYLE PARKER
(swiggydig@gmail.com) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Everclear as hand sanitizer on 08/20/2009 21:21:51 MDT Print View

works great, relatively cheap if it's sold in your state, and multi-use (antiseptic, pain killer, cocktails, fuel, and firestarter)

Carl Umland
(chumland) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Crest Trail, mostly
"Hand sanitizer as a fire starter" on 09/21/2009 12:23:36 MDT Print View

I add a little denatured alky to the gel so I can use it to clean my hands and light my esbit tabs.

Johann kuester
(whirlpool) - F
"Hand sanitizer as a fire starter" on 01/12/2010 18:31:16 MST Print View

I didn't know it was flamable. Great idea. Thanks.

Coin Page
(Page0018) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern USA
Hand sanitizer is usually ethyl alcohol on 01/18/2010 11:35:40 MST Print View

My generic - Kroger - hand sanitizer is 62% "ethyl" alcohol. Thats the kind in beer, wine and spirits. I'd be concerned about using "wood" alcohol, or "denatured" alcohol - methanol - as a hand sanitizer.

wouter tas
(joopiii) - F
UL cocktail party on 04/29/2010 20:43:19 MDT Print View

I used my "pop can stove" ethanol as a hand sterilizer. You can even mix your own cocktails on the trail with it. talking about multi-use!