Is Perfume Flammable?

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Perfume is one of those products we love to coat ourselves in. After all, you don’t want to be on a night out with your friends and suddenly catch a whiff of yourself.

We’re not talking about a whiff of deodorant either, we mean full on body odor and if you can smell it, everyone else sure can as well.

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As such, many products exist to cover up unwanted smells and that leave us smelling like a field of daisies, like perfume. But the things is with deodorants is that they are incredibly flammable.

Everyone has seen a bunch of kinds take out a spray canister of deodorant and set it alight.

Considering that we put these products on our body, this is a little alarming. Considering we spray perfume all over our face and body, this is even more alarming if it turns out that perfume is also flammable. So, is perfume flammable?

Today, we seek to answer this question.

What is Perfume?

Perfume is an aromatic liquid of natural or synthetic substances, used to produce an attractive or pleasing odor, either to disguise or in the absence of a scent in one’s own body.

It is usually a mixture of fixatives, aromatic compounds, solvents, and other essential oils, to create an aromatic mist that can be sprayed around or on the person to give this aroma, and it can last normally for about a day.

The scent can be extracted from botanical ingredients, flowers, leaves, or wood, and natural essences, or synthetically created. This concept of creating pleasant and pleasing aromas is not new either.

It has existed since the dawn of civilization, with the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Indus Valley civilizations having perfumery as a trade, and possibly Ancient China as well.

While the perfumes of these times no longer exist, the art is still around with places like France, America, and Germany being the world leaders in the industry today.

Perfumery is now a global industry as well, not just a trade people go into, with multi-billion dollar companies sinking millions of dollars into their research and development teams to use organic chemistry to create new perfumes.

Is Perfume Flammable?

Yes, almost all perfumes in the world today are definitely flammable. You can cause an explosion simply by igniting a bottle of perfume, so don’t even try to attempt this. The reason it is flammable is because of the ingredients used, with one big, obvious one.

Alcohol is a necessary component to making perfume. This isn’t the type of alcohol like beer or cider with a miniscule amount of alcohol in it – at most 5 to 10% -, no this is pure ethanol. 100% pure alcohol with no by-products or impurities.

Since alcohol is incredibly flammable, perfume is too. There are some perfumes that don’t use alcohol. After all, there are many people who can touch alcohol or simply don’t want it in their perfume.

The problem is that the substitutes that are used instead of alcohol are normally just as flammable, which doesn’t help the situation.

The Alcohol free perfumes that are not flammable are actually surprisingly difficult to come by. You can search high and low through a supermarket aisle and never find one.

The reason for this is that making a perfume without alcohol or an alcohol like substance is difficult. Very difficult.

See, scent is hard to craft because it relies on our nasal receptors, which rely on molecules to smell things. The aromas in the perfume need to blend together and bind to these molecules to be able to be smelled.

Alcohol helps this happen and acts as a dissolving and preserving agent in the perfume.

This is a rare quality, and it makes it difficult to find another substance that can do it as well as alcohol. As such, most perfumes are flammable.

Is perfume flammable

What Does Alcohol Do in Perfume?

Alcohol does a couple of things within perfume products that make it so invaluable:

Merge Different Smells

Cohesive in smells is difficult. Perfumes are often made of completing different and competing aromas, sometimes ones that are natural and synthetic.

This is especially true for highly fragrant aromas. Alcohol breaks down these substances just enough, so the two can merge into one smell without competing.

It Diffuses Smells Easier

Alcohol is great at merging things, but it is also good at diffusing them into the air. This is because it evaporates quickly, so when it is outside a contained environment, it will evaporate into the air, creating the smell of the perfume.

It is the Canvas that Perfume is Made Off of

Alcohol breaks down substances at different rates and so by observing it, you can understand how different substances will break down in the alcohol together to create a fragrance.

It is a delicate art, but alcohol basically allows the perfumer to see how and when a substance will break down and use that to create the smell they want by timing it just right with other substances.

Maybe you want a strong smell at the beginning but a subtle smell at the end, then you can find a substance that smells subtle but breaks down very slowly and a strong smell that breaks down within seconds.

As you can see, alcohol is key to the perfume making method in a lot of instances. The industry is hooked on alcohol, and honestly, they are not going to change anytime soon.

Therefore, if you need an alcohol-free perfume, the only thing to do is to look thoroughly. However, if you are just a bit worried about alcohol based perfumes, then we may have some solutions for you in the next paragraph.

How to Store Perfume Safely?

Considering their flammable and alcoholic nature, perfumes need to be stored properly in order to make sure they don’t cause you worry or something worse. As such, we have some tips on how you should store your perfume and more importantly where not to store it.

First, do not store it in your kitchen or any place near an electrical outlet. This is not because it will cause a fire in these places, but if there is a fire that occurs the perfume, being near it, will make that fire 100 times worse.

Similarly, do not store in unpolished cupboards. This is not so much a fire risk, as a ‘if this perfume spills, it will ruin this cupboard completely’. The mixture will eat through the wood, and you don’t want that.

Finally, keep the perfume out of direct sunlight and in a relatively cold place. Direct sunlight may superheat your bottle or ruin the mixture inside, and a fairly cold place is a good way to not combust it in the heat.

With all this in mind, the best place to store your perfume is the bathroom.


So, yes, perfume is flammable, but by taking the proper precautions, you can still keep yourself smelling like roses, without putting yourself in any danger.