How to store chemicals safely at home
How are you storing your household chemicals in your home? Maybe you have some sitting side by side under the kitchen sink, a few bottles in the shower or even on your bedside table?
Many of us don’t really think about storing our chemicals safely and some of us are guilty of using these hazardous household chemicals incorrectly without thinking about the implications to our health and homes.
We want to make safe chemical storage at home as easy and safe as possible by putting together our best tips for storing and handling hazardous chemicals and how to dispose of these substances correctly to protect the environment.
WHAT ARE HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS?
It may seem like a silly question but it’s important that we know what products around our home are actually defined as “hazardous household chemicals”. Substances are seen as harmful when they fall within one of the following categories:
Corrosive: They eat or wear away at many materials.
Flammable: They easily ignite when they come into contact with a naked flame.
Reactive: They can easily explode and react in other ways such as producing toxic gases when mixed.
Toxic: They are poisonous to humans and animals if used incorrectly. You can identify these products with the skull and crossbones label.
Some examples include antifreeze, batteries, brake fluid, chemical strippers, chlorine bleach, drain cleaners, insecticides, lawn chemicals, nail polish remover, spot remover, bathroom cleaner, oven cleaner, motor oil, air freshener, and carpet deodorizer.
Are you surprised by any of these?
We potentially have hundreds of hazardous household chemicals lying around the house in need of safe chemical storage. Don’t fret! We have a chemical storage guide for you that explains how you can store chemicals correctly at home.
HOW TO STORE CHEMICALS CORRECTLY AT HOME
READ THE LABEL
Even before you think about purchasing a product, you should always read the label thoroughly. It’s just common sense. On the label, you’ll find instructions on how to use the product safely, how to store the chemical correctly, and how to protect yourself when using it. Don’t skip out on this first and most important step of using hazardous chemicals!
KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN AND PETS
This one is also common sense, but one we tend to neglect the most. Do you keep your household cleaners under the sink? Yes. Does it have a cupboard lock? Thought not.
Store your household products in a dry, well-ventilated cupboard that meets your eye level. This will not only keep them away from curious children and pets, but you can see what chemicals you have and reduce the risk of any problems such as unscrewed tops and leakages.
CHECK FOR LEAKS
Talking about leaks, always check bottles and containers for leaks – especially products you haven’t used in years as the chemicals instead may have worn down the material, making it weak and brittle.
KEEP AWAY FROM FOOD
That dry, well-ventilated cupboard you’re thinking about storing your products, is it next to the condiments cupboard or snack jar? Don’t do it! Never store hazardous chemicals next to food or food products and don’t even think about using these substances to wash your pots, pans, utensils or anything else you may use to cook or eat food.
KEEP AWAY FROM SUNLIGHT
This cupboard we’re talking about for storing your household chemicals safely – make sure it has doors and isn’t an open space that is directly facing your kitchen window. Sunlight can cause damage to your products and make them practically useless and more harmful. Keep them locked away in the dark until they need to be used.
ONLY KEEP THE MINIMUM IN THE HOME
Now we’ve established that you need an eye-level, dry, well-ventilated cupboard with doors (and preferably a lock), that doesn’t mean you can go stuffing everything and anything in there. Try and keep the chemicals you keep in the home to a minimum.
As a cleaning service, we tend to buy our products in bulk and keep them locked away in storage outside of the home such as a garage and only put what we need in self-sealing, air-tight containers. Less is more in this case and it reduces the risk of spillages and waste.
If using your own containers, make sure you label EVERYTHING. The last thing you want is your husband mistaking the insect-killing powder for sugar! Labels should not only identify the chemical but state the major hazard (toxic? flammable?) so the user is fully aware.
We know this is a lot to take in, so our friends from SolvChem has designed a Household Chemical Storage Guide that you can download, print and stick onto your chemical cupboard so you and your household members can store and use your household products safely and correctly.
HOW TO USE HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS CORRECTLY
Having harmful products in the home doesn’t stop at safe chemical storage. ASSE states that if toxic substances are used incorrectly, it can be extremely harmful. These guidelines should be followed when handling dangerous chemicals:
- Use proper personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks, and goggles – depending on how much protection you need. We’re not saying you should get kitted up with a jumpsuit when painting your nails, but if you’re tackling MOLD, then maybe take a necessary precaution or two.
- Mixing or combining hazardous chemicals can cause them to become even more hazardous. Violent reactions can occur such as poisonous gases or even explosions.
- Make sure you clear the area of any materials that can be damaged by corrosive chemicals and resist putting products on the floor when there are crawling babies or hyper puppies around.
- Ventilate freshly clean areas by opening windows, doors or turning on the fans.
- Wash your hands and any other parts of your body that have come into contact with the chemicals immediately with warm soapy water.
You can also reduce your risk of coming into contact with harmful, toxic chemicals by swapping them out for natural, eco-friendly cleaners such as baking soda and biodegradable cleaner that is just as tough as your normal bleach cleaner and less dangerous for you, your home and the environment.
Find this hard to believe? Check out our post on how you can keep a greener home HERE.
HOW TO DISPOSE OF HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS
Thought safety guidelines stopped there? Oh no!
Let’s talk about the proper disposal of harmful chemicals. Due to their dangerous nature, pouring chemicals down sewers and drains are a big no-no. Throwing batteries, aerosol cans, and other harmful household cleaners straight in the trash will give you a big thumbs down from mother nature.
Many people don’t know what the heck to do with their harmful household waste so they just throw it in the garage and forget about it. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average household generates 20 pounds of household hazardous waste per year and stores up to 100 pounds of hazardous waste.
Get those toxins out of your home and dispose of them properly at drop off points around Boston. Check out Boston’s government waste management website HERE for information on drop off dates, what you can dispose of, what they won’t take and other resources related to safe disposal.
Swapping your harmful, toxic chemicals out for natural, eco-friendly cleaners such as baking soda and biodegradable cleaner can significantly reduce risk and harm when it comes to being exposed to hazardous chemicals.
And guess what? It is just as tough as your normal bleach cleaner and less dangerous for you, your home and the environment!
At, House Bliss Cleaning, we are all about green cleaning and using natural, environmental friendly products so you and your family aren’t exposed to toxic cleaning products.
Are you ready to make the switch to a more toxic-free, cleaner home without all those nasty chemicals? Get in touch with the team to receive a free instant quote and book in you cleaning service today!