Noder's note: This is for informative purposes only. I don't actually recommend trying it.

Hand sanitizer is a supposedly effective means of cleansing one's hands of bacteria. In fact, most manufacturers claim that using hand sanitizer kills 99.9% of germs. This does not interest me in the least bit. What does interest me is the alcohol content. No, not for drinking silly; that's just gross. For burning. When one lights hand sanitizer it burns with a nice, clean, bright blue flame. It also burns for a rather long time. I'm not sure why it does this, though I've heard people claim that hand sanitizer has just the right mix of alcohol and water with a nice, gellish consistency, but that is not important. Odds are, you're just interested in watching it burn.

For effective hand sanitizer burning, you will need a lighter of some sort and a lot of hand sanitizer. That's it. No need to shell out big bucks on well known brands either; they all work. You just need to squirt the sanitizer into whatever pattern you want to burn and then light it! The flame is hot, so don't get too close and make sure you're lighting it in a safe area. Lots of cement is good. An area with lots of dead leaves on the dirty ground is bad. The stuff will burn for about three to five minutes depending on how much you put down in one spot. The sanitizer also doesn't light particularly quickly or explode so you're not likely to lose a finger. It is safer than playing with fireworks.

The beauty of the sanitizer is that you can write out lots of nice messages for people. Need a romantic way to ask someone to prom? Let hand sanitizer do the talking! You can also draw interesting patterns. Imagine how freaked out that mean neighbor will be if he finds a burning pentagram in his driveway. The trick to making designs or letters is to make nice, even lines and make sure you make them plenty big. If the lines are too close the flames will all blend together and you'll get a burning circle without any distinguishable internal structure. Also, if you're making a disjointed design or something like the letter "i" with a dot above it, you will have to light the dot separately or draw a very small line to carry the flame for just a second to the dot.

Now let's say you have figured out exactly what you want to do. You're going to want to record your masterpiece, right? Well, a video camera would be ideal and will work fine, but not everyone has one. For those who don't have one and will end up using a regular camera, turn the flash off! If you take a picture of your flaming art and the flash is on the flames will not show up in the photograph. All you'll see is the original design you made with the sanitizer. It's sort of a cool effect to take a picture with the flash on and then one with it off, but make sure you get at least a couple with the flash off. And since most hand sanitizers have various other chemicals, some residue will remain after the flame burns out. The residue will not burn and is harmless; it just looks like someone wet the cement in the exact same places you put the sanitizer. The residue will fade in a day or so.

Now that you know the secret of the hand sanitizer, it is up to you to put your knowledge to use. I wish you luck and remember, be safe.


Back to the node on pyrotechnics.
Please read the disclaimer. Also, make sure you have read the Pyrotechnics safety tips. SAFETY FIRST

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