Fire safety is something that everyone should practice. That’s because house fire and other accidental fires are one of the most common disasters that can happen, costing hundreds of millions of dollars every year and claiming many lives.
Turns out there are many things in our homes that can start or fuel a fire. You want to know what they are so you can practice better mitigation and also react appropriately if that faithful day ever comes.
How about dish soap? Is it dish soap flammable?
No, dish soap is typically not flammable. Most kinds of have very high flash points of around 1,000°F. You should be cautious with dry, powdered soap however because it could potentially catch fire as a dust in the air.
For all practical purposes you really don’t have anything to worry about concerning the fire hazard of dish soap; except in the most extraordinary circumstances it will not catch fire.
Nonetheless, there is more you should know, so keep reading I’ll tell you all about it.
Is Dish Soap Combustible?
No. Dish soap doesn’t fall into the category of combustible materials. It cannot catch fire or burn easily, even when very hot or exposed to direct, intense flames. However, this does not entirely rule out the possibility of ignition under certain circumstances.
In a very specific scenario where powdered soap comes into close proximity with an intense heat source, there is a slight chance it could ignite. But this is highly unlikely.
Does Dish Soap Ignite at Any Temperature?
Yes, it can, but it must be extremely hot. Dish soap isn’t readily flammable and doesn’t ignite easily.
But do note that most dish soaps do have a flashpoint; the temperature at which they could potentially ignite if exposed to an open flame or similar heat source.
This flashpoint is typically around 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature which is far beyond what you would encounter in a standard household setting that isn’t already on fire!
While theoretically possible, it’s highly unlikely you’d ever encounter a situation where your dish soap ignites due to high temperature.
Does Dish Soap React with High Temps?
Despite being non-flammable, dish soap does still react when exposed to high temperatures. These chemical processes involved are quite complex: When heated, the molecules within the soap begin to move faster and eventually break down.
This breakdown can lead to the production of new substances. For instance, glycerin, a common ingredient in many soaps, can decompose into acrolein, a compound with a strong, unpleasant odor.
Also, the fatty acids within the soap can potentially break apart and form various hydrocarbons.
These reactions, though, typically happen only at extremely high temperatures as mentioned above, all much greater than those to be found in an average household.
Is Liquid Dish Soap Flammable?
No, liquid dish soap is not considered flammable. It’s composed mostly of water and detergents, neither of which are known for their flammability.
There’s no need whatsoever to worry about your liquid dish soap catching fire under normal circumstances.
However, it’s still good practice to store all cleaning products, including dish soap, in a cool and dry place to maintain their effectiveness and safety.
Is Dawn Dish Soap Flammable?
No, it isn’t. Dawn is just another kind of liquid dish soap, and totally not flammable.
Is Powdered Dish Soap Flammable?
No, not as a rule of thumb. But, it isn’t completely impossible either. Due to its fine particulate nature, powdered soap can ignite more easily than its liquid counterparts.
This can occur if a sufficient quantity of powder is dispersed in the air and exposed to a heat source. Despite this, under normal conditions, the risk of ignition is quite minimal.
Caution: Different Soaps Have Wildly Varying Flashpoints!
When it comes to soap, not all are created equal, both in terms of performance and in terms of ingredients and formulation.
Different soap formulations, and even different forms of the same formulation, can have significantly varying flash points. This means that the temperature at which they can ignite may differ substantially!
Therefore, it’s essential not to make blanket assumptions about the flammability of soaps. If you have any doubts or concerns, check for warning labels on the packaging.
Furthermore, don’t hesitate to seek out the safety data sheet, known as an SDS, provided by the manufacturer for your preferred brand. These sheets contain detailed information about the product’s properties, including its flammability.
Warning: Soap Bubbles Can Trap Combustible Gas!
An unusual yet potentially serious hazard related to soap involves the fact that soap bubbles can potentially trap combustible gases. When soap is agitated, it produces suds or bubbles.
We all know that, but what you might not know is that these bubbles can encapsulate pockets of gas. Should they come into contact with a heat source or flame they could ignite if they are flammable or combustible, causing a fire.
This is particularly pertinent in environments where flammable gases are present. While this scenario is highly unlikely in everyday settings, it’s always important to use caution when using soap for any purpose in areas where combustible gases may be present.
Will Dish Soap Make a Fire Worse?
No. Predominantly made of water and detergents, dish soap doesn’t possess properties that would fuel a fire. There is one rare exception as discussed in the form of powdered dish soaps.
These soaps, due to their low ignition temperature and tendency to form small dust particles, could potentially ignite if they come into contact with a heat source.
Just remember, safety first! If there’s any accidental fire that might threaten a large supply of fire: don’t assume that the soap won’t intensify the flames!
Is Dish Soap Reactive with Other Substances?
Generally, dish soap doesn’t react significantly with other chemicals, or at least, not in a way that is hazardous to human health or a way that could exacerbate existing fire risks.
Dish soaps are formulated to be safe for household use and are typically non-reactive under normal conditions.
However, it’s always important to use products as directed: think twice before mixing cleaning products unless specified by the manufacturer, as it could lead to unwanted chemical reactions.
How Should You Deal with Dish Soap Exposed to Fire?
In the event of a fire involving dish soap, common fire extinguishing methods can be used. This includes using fire extinguishers and smothering the flames.
Water can also be used as normal, but with caution: It may seem absurd, but spraying large quantities of soap with water could create a sudsy mess that could potentially transport flammable material that won’t mix with water.
This could inadvertently spread the fire further. Water can be used, but be careful to ensure it’s done strategically and without causing additional hazards.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.