Is Coconut Oil Flammable?

Recently, coconut oil has garnered attention, especially after receiving lots of endorsements from celebrities. Coconut oil can be used as either essential oil or cooking oil.

Some of the attention coconut oil has received as of late stems from its purported health benefits. It has been claimed that the oil has special qualities that can help blast away belly fat, curb appetite and strengthen the immune system.

However, this post is primarily concerned with quite a pertinent question, is coconut oil flammable? Can coconut oil burn on fire?

Yes! Coconut is highly flammable! In fact, coconut is considered the most flammable among all the essential oils. Also, as cooking oil, it is still considered the most flammable, with a Flashpoint of about 295 Celsius and a smoke point of 196 Celsius.

Read on as we explore some interesting facts about coconut oil and its level of flammability.

What is Coconut Oil Made Of?

Is Coconut Oil Flammable

This might seem like a question with an obvious answer. Of course, as the name suggests, coconut oil is made from coconut. Coconut oil is made by compressing fresh coconut meat or dried coconut meat.

Coconut made from the fresh coconut meat is called Virgin coconut oil. In contrast, coconut oil from dried coconut meat is termed refined coconut oil.

Virgin coconut oil is obtained using two methods: the wet and dry method. The dry method involves dry matured coconut meat with a small amount of heat then using a machine to extract the oil.

The wet method involves using a machine to press the coconut to give out milk and oil. A fermentation method is then used to separate the oil from the milk.

For refined coconut oil, a machine is used on the cobra (dried coconut meat) to release oil. The oil is then steamed to deodorize the oil and “bleached” by filtering through clays to remove impurities and any remaining bacteria.

Is Coconut Oil Flammable?

Yes! Coconut is very flammable. In fact, it is one of the most flammable cooking and essential oil there is. When compared to other cooking oils like olive oil and vegetable oil, we realize that coconut oil is the most flammable of them all.

Their flashpoints and smoke points determine the flammability of liquids. Coconut oil has a Flashpoint of about 295 Celsius and a smoke point of 196 Celsius.

Specifically, refined coconut oil has a smoke point of 232 C, while unrefined virgin coconut oil has 177 C.

The term smoke point might seem a bit alien to you; the smoke point of a liquid is the maximum temperature at which it can be cooked before starting to smoke or burn.

Thus, it is important that you always check the smoke point of oils before using them to cook.

While we have established that coconut oil is flammable, that doesn’t automatically mean that we shouldn’t use coconut oil for cooking.

It means that we need to exercise some level of caution while using them. Thus, when frying, always ensure that the heat is at medium temperature.

How To Put Off Fire Caused by Coconut Oil

Since coconut oil is highly flammable, you have to be a bit cautious when using it. Coconut oil in the kitchen won’t just catch fire abruptly; something must have led to it, like maybe leaving the stove or oven on for too long.

Cooking-related fires are quite common in the US. Statistic shows that two of every five home fires start in the kitchen while cooking.

Averagely, they cause 44 percent of home fires. Thus, you need to be extra cautious to prevent incidents like this from happening.

Coconut oil causes grease fires when it is left on a heat source long enough to ignite spontaneously. When dealing with fire caused by coconut oil, never try to extinguish it with water.

As a thumb rule, water and grease fire don’t work well together. Water won’t put off the fire but will help the fire to spread and splash.

If the fire is still contained in the pot or pan, cover it with a metal lid or cookie sheet, then turn off the stove. Lack of oxygen and heat will subside the fire.

Baking soda or salt can also be used to put off the fire if it is still manageable. Do not attempt other cooking agents apart from baking soda or salt, as this can worsen the fire.

Class B fire extinguisher is the recommended fire extinguisher for putting off grease fire. If you don’t know the type of extinguisher you have at your disposal, it’s best not to use it, as the wrong extinguisher can make things worse.

If the fire becomes unmanageable, leave your home immediately and call the fire department.

Is Coconut Oil Hazardous?

While we are not health officials, thus we can’t emphatically state that coconut oil constitutes a health hazard.

However, according to the safety data sheet for refined coconut oil, it can cause irritation and allergy to the skin and eye when it comes in contact with these body parts.

Inhalation can cause difficulty in breathing, while ingestion can cause stomach upset.

Always consult a physician if the symptoms are severe and persistent.

Can Coconut Oil Be Used to Start a Fire?

Yes, coconut oil can be used in starting a fire since it is highly flammable. If you love to camp or barbeque, at one point, you must have needed a Firestarter.

You can easily soak cotton balls, cotton pads, or small bunches of cedar chips in melted coconut oil and use it to start a fire.

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