Written by Devon Delaney (last updated June 2, 2021)
Cleaning your home often seems never-ending, and it's easy to accumulate a lot of household cleaning products. Storing cleaners and chemicals can take up a lot of room, but it's important they're stored properly. From laundry detergent to carpet cleaning products, these everyday substances can harm children and adults alike.
Read and Keep Labels
Look for these signs: "caution", "warning", "toxic" and "danger." If a cleaning product or chemical could be harmful or you need to be careful using it, it will likely have one or more of these words on the label. It might seem obvious, but taking a product's labeling seriously and acting accordingly can help keep your family safe from its potentially dangerous effects.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is to remove labels from cleaner bottles if they get torn or otherwise damaged, leaving hazardous substances without directions, emergency treatment information or safety guidelines. Cleaning products also shouldn't be put in food or drink containers, since this not only separates the product from important information about it, but anyone could mistake clear or even colored liquids as drinkable, and some household chemicals can cause serious injury or even death if swallowed.
Choose a Safe Location
There are a few things to consider when deciding where to store your products. All chemicals and cleaning products should, of course, be out of reach for children. We all have a linen or storage closet that we tend to keep our products in, so make sure that they're up high enough that children can't possibly get to them. The storage door should also close tightly so pets can't get in there. If possible, it's safest to lock up hazardous products.
Another important thing to think about is the temperature of the storage location. Most cleaners and chemicals should be stored at room temperature. Some products are flammable, so don't keep them near vents or other sources of heat.
Check Your Products Regularly
While we all use certain products on a regular basis, there are some products that are used only every few months. You should check these products to make sure you can't smell them, and that the containers are a normal shape and aren't leaking. If you can smell your cleaning and chemical products, you probably haven't got the lid or cap on tightly. When containers change shape, such as by expanding, it could mean that where you're storing them doesn't have enough ventilation or is too hot. Besides the serious safety concerns associated with old or overheated cleaners, these products can damage other household items if they leak.
When in Doubt, Choose the Safer Route
If you're unsure about the possible harmful effects of a household cleaner or chemical, treat it as if it's hazardous waste. Keep it in its original packaging with the labels, store it in a safe place, and check that storage area regularly.
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