Is Perfume Flammable? Can All Perfumes Catch Fire?

Yes, perfume is highly flammable. Find out more about how to safely store perfume to prevent fires.
flammable perfume on fire
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Yes, perfume is flammable and combustible. After all, fragrances usually contain alcohol, which can easily catch fire if they come into contact with a spark, flame or overheat. 

Unfortunately, creating perfumes without alcohol isn’t particularly straightforward, as the substance plays a crucial role in blending the fragrance’s ingredients. While there are alcohol-free perfumes available, they still pose a fire risk because they use essential oils as substitutes, which are also flammable.

Keep reading if you want to find out how to safely store your perfume to prevent a fire and more about just how flammable perfumes are. 

Can All Perfumes Catch Fire?

Most perfumes can catch fire because they contain alcohol, which is highly flammable. If they’re exposed to a heat source or open flame, they’ll ignite. 

Perfumes vary in alcohol content, meaning some fragrances can fire more easily than others. Yet, all alcohol-based perfumes are flammable liquids and have the potential to catch fire. 

However, there are some non-flammable alcohol-free options. Solid perfumes isn’t flammable because they’re usually made with beeswax, which doesn’t contain any flammable solvents. This makes them much each to travel with and safely store. 

It’s always wise to check the label of every perfume bottle, even if you’re using an alcohol-free perfume, to make sure it’s not flammable.

At What Temperature Does Perfume Ignite?

On average, perfume ignites when it reaches 78°C (172°F). Every perfume has a different flashpoint (the lowest temperatures at which it will ignite) though, so your perfumes may catch fire at lower or higher temperatures. 

Why Is Alcohol Needed In Perfume?

There are several reasons that alcohol is a key ingredient in most perfumes, including to:

Blend Fragrances

Alcohol facilitates the blending of fragrances, breaking down ingredients that are otherwise difficult to meld. 

In other words, alcohol is the figurative glue holding your favourite scents together. 

Spread Aromas

Alcohol is a valuable ingredient in perfumes because it ensures even diffusion of scents on your skin. 

When you apply perfume, the alcohol it contains evaporates quickly, carrying the scents along with it. This rapid evaporation helps the fragrances lift upwards and spread through the air.

In more expensive perfumes, the amount of alcohol used is carefully considered. The right amount is crucial. Too much alcohol can make the perfume too strong and overpowering, while too little may result in a shorter-lasting scent. 

Create Art

Just as a musician uses musical notes to create a masterpiece, perfumers use fragrance notes to deliver an aromatic experience. 

Getting the alcohol measurement right is important to make sure the perfume elegantly unravels across three key notes: 

  • Top note, the first fragrance that you smell which evaporates quickly
  • Medium note (or heart note), the second scent which lingers for a few hours
  • Base note, the long-lasting scent that you can smell for many hours

Each note adds to the complexity and depth of the fragrance, which is why alcohol is so integral to most perfumes. 

In fact, alcohol enables some perfumes to spread out across as many as six notes. 

How Can I Safely Store Perfume?

If you want to find out about the safe storage of perfumes, the first thing you should know is that most manufacturers are one step ahead of you. Perfume is usually stored in fire-resistant containers that are hard to break, meaning they’re unlikely to catch alight unless spilled. 

It may seem like common sense but all it takes is one accident for your perfume to catch fire.

To safely store perfume, we recommend that you don’t:

  • Keep it in the kitchen, near open flames or hot surfaces
  • Store it near electrical outlets that could spark and ignite it
  • Put fragrances in unpolished wooden cabinets or shelves because any spills can sink into the porous wood and increase the likelihood of fires in the future
  • Leave perfume bottles in direct sunlight as will both reduce the fragrance’s longevity and potentially cause a fire

FAQS About Perfume Flammability

Below, we’ve answered any questions you might have about perfumes catching fire. 

Do Perfumes Explode?

Yes, perfumes can explodeif they’re exposed to extreme heat and changes in air pressure, but this is very rare. Alcohol-based perfume is a flammable liquid and should be treated as such.

Can I Leave Perfume In The Car?

Typically, it is not okay to leave perfume or any other fragrance products in a car, especially when the vehicle is exposed to high temperatures or direct sunlight. Extreme heat can reduce your fragrance’s longevity, but more importantly, cause it to overheat and ignite. 

If you need to transport perfume by car, be sure to keep it in a shaded and cold area, like the glove compartment or car boot. 

Is Perfume Allowed On Flights?

Yes, perfume is allowed on flights. After all, their cabin is temperature controlled so the fire risk is insignificant. 

You’re usually allowed to pack up to 100 ml bottles of perfume in resealable bags in your carry-on. For checked luggage, airlines often allow you to take up to 2 L. 

Does Perfume Release Toxic Fumes When Burning?

Perfume does release toxic fumes when burning which can be harmful to your health. They can also cause respiratory problems, such as coughing and shortness of breath.

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