Safe Chemical Storage of Household Items | Garage Cabinets San Diego Residents Trust

Did you know that everyday household items such as cleaners, beauty products, medicines, paint, and automotive fluids can be dangerous if stored improperly? It’s a good thing, then, that Garage Vision Co. has a variety of garage cabinets San Diegoresidents trust to keep their hazardous products safe and out of reach from children.

Even relatively harmless products like laundry detergent can pose a huge risk if kept within reach of children. Similarly, pesticides and paints need sufficient ventilation and should also be stored safely and kept out of reach from children.

A worst-case example of what could happen to you if you are exposed to hazardous household materials over a prolonged period of time: your genes may become vulnerable to DNA mutations (which can then be passed onto future generations).

Prolonged exposure to hazardous items may also put you at risk of developing cancer.

As a preventative measure, consider the following information and safety tips when storing hazardous materials in your home:

Increase your awareness of hazardous materials

The term “hazardous material” refers to any chemical that has the potential to cause harm to people, pets, and the environment when they are released, incorrectly used, or incorrectly disposed of.

Although they may fall under more than one category, hazardous materials are generally divided into three main groups:

  • Flammable chemicals that easily ignite or catch on fire;
  • Corrosive chemicals that burn or destroy the skin;
  • Poisonous or toxic chemicals that cause injury, illness, or even death.

Note: Any hazardous substance can become poisonous or toxic if a sufficient amount is inhaled or ingested.

It is also important to take note of the physical properties that your chemicals possess. For example, if a chemical transforms from a liquid to a gas at a certain temperature, it is critical to ensure that the bottles are closed tightly (since chemical vapors are often difficult to detect).

If hazardous materials are ingested by your pet or carried away by rainwater or wind, they could also pose a threat to your family, your neighbors, and even the environment. For this reason, it is important to read the label of every chemical product carefully in order to better understand the possible scenarios and consequences.

Only purchase those hazardous products that you’re sure you need

Before going out to purchase a hazardous chemical, ask yourself if it’s something you really need. If it is, check to see if you own something similar. If you don’t have anything similar, purchase only as much of the product that you absolutely need. Keeping an excess amount of hazardous materials will pose as an unnecessary risk to you and your family.

However, if you are left with an excess amount of any hazardous material, consider giving the remainder of the product to someone who may be able to make use of it right away, or dispose of it properly at your closest collection depot.

Store Your Chemicals Properly | Garage Cabinets by Garage Vision Co.

Depending on which materials you own, your storage method will vary:

How to store fuels and oils

Fuels and oils include chemicals such as gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, and petroleum-based oils. Follow these steps when storing fuels and oils:

  • Purchase only the necessary amount required for your project.
  • Use an approved container for flammable liquids.
  • Leave 2 inches at the top of the container (empty) for the vapors to expand.
  • Close openings tightly to prevent vapors from escaping.
  • Store away from the home in a separate building (i.e. a garage or shed) and in a locked cabinet.
  • If purchasing multiple types of fuel, use different colored containers to differentiate them.

How to store pool and spa products

Pool chemicals are especially dangerous since they are readily oxidized (and can cause other things to burn easily). These also react violently to flammables and other pool chemicals, so:

  • Replace caps and lids tightly after use.
  • Keep out of direct sunlight, and in a cool, dry place.
  • Keep away from all flammable products or sources of open flame.
  • Do not put containers on top of each other.
  • Do not combine old containers with new ones, even if they are the same brand. If the wrong chemicals mix, violent reactions resulting in fire may occur.

How to store compressed gases

Compressed gases include propane, oxy-acetylene, argon, and helium. If you own a cylinder of non-flammable gas (like argon or helium, usually for different types of welding), there are a few rules to keep in mind:

  • All cylinders are under intense pressure, and therefore must be kept away from open flames and sources of heat. An increase in the gas temperature will cause it to expand and rupture its container.
  • Chain cylinders, regardless of whether or not they are in use, are in storage, or if they are being transported.
  • If not in use, cylinders must be capped. Oxygen must be kept at least 20 feet away from all other flammable materials and cylinders.
  • Cylinders must be kept upright at all times. If they are rolled or dragged, they may take off like a rocket.

Follow these general storage methods:

  • Chemicals must be kept in their original containers.
  • Labels should be readable and fixed to the container.
  • Products should be kept out of sight and reach of children and pets.
  • Products should be kept in a cool, dry place.
  • Reactive products such as acids and bases must be kept apart to prevent accidental mixing.
  • Store flammable products in a locked metal cabinet.
  • Always read product labels.
  • Always keep chemical products away from food products.

To learn more about handling, storing, and disposing hazardous materials, refer to the information (PDF) provided by the L.A. County Department of Public Works.

For more in-depth information, read this online course (PDF) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Check out our portfolio of garage cabinets San Diego area families say is ‘above all the other contractors.’

Consult the Experts

For this and all other related advice, consult the home project experts at Garage Vision Co. today.

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