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I’ve been tasked with distributing hand sanitizer to public safety staff from a bulk supply in gallon jugs. I need a portable squeeze bottle, but I’m having trouble determining what type of plastic (PET, HDPE etc.) is best to store this alcohol based product. I want to make sure to buy a squeeze bottle that will hold up. I read a product review that said silicone leak-proof travel bottles will break down with alcohol. Am I safe with anything but silicone? Researching with Google has not provided much in the way of answers for this scientific lay person.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to chemistry.se! I'm afraid these types of questions are not on topic for our site, please consult your (local) expert(s). Also please do not use slang and/or abbreviations in your posts. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Apr 14 at 22:39
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There are quite a few chemical compatibility lists available from reputable sources, e.g. https://www.hmcpolymers.com/uploads/files/resources/hmc-pp-chemical-resistance.PDF (for PP), https://www.calpaclab.com/chemical-compatibility-charts (for HDPE/LDPE and a summary for others) and https://www.plasticsintl.com/chemical-resistance-chart (large summary table including PET). I know links aren't sufficient, but there's far too much data to reproduce here.

In short, PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP, PPS and PTFE are all suitable for storage of ethanol or isopropanol, the two most common hand sanitizing agents. Most travel cosmetics bottles or reused cosmetic/household bottles will be one of these. You should be able to check at least what the main active component of your hand sanitiser is and what the material of your bottles is, even if you're reusing bottles, and look them up in one of these lists. Check for synonyms and categories (ethanol/ethyl alcohol/aliphatic alcohols) if you can't see what you're looking for. If there are more ingredients listed on the label or SDS, you could check them, too, but I don't think it's likely that they would present other compatibility problems.

You may need to give slight consideration to factors besides chemical compatibility, such as temperature (esp. for LDPE) and possibly UV (for PET). However, for indoor room-temperature storage, again, almost anything will do.

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