Cleaning supplies contain chemicals that are harmful to both human beings and animals.
These household supplies can cause injury or death not only if swallowed, but also if improperly handled. You must store these cleaning supplies properly in your home to ensure the health and safety of your family. Though many cleaners sold today are called "green" because they are made from all-natural ingredients, this only lessens the chance of harm and does not completely eliminate it.
No matter which type of household cleaning supplies you keep in your home, you must store and dispose of these products in a safe manner. An added benefit is that proper storage will prolong the useful life of your cleaning supplies.
10 most useful tips for storing cleaning supplies in your home
Keep out of reach of children and pets
Always place cleaning supplies far out of reach of children by placing the containers in storage cabinets mounted high above the floor. Even though it is handy to do so, do not keep your dish washing liquids and dishwasher detergents in a cabinet under the sink.
Install child-safety locks and child-proof latches on all floor-level cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen, even if you've stopped storing cleaning supplies there (chemical traces may still linger from when you did store the supplies there). Don't forget about the cabinets under the island counter top.
I personally have the ones show in this photo on my kitchen and bathroom cabinets. It is easy enough to open them as an adult.
Store all cleaning supplies in their original containers
If the original container is ripped, broken, or otherwise compromised, throw the container and its contents away according to the dictates of your local trash disposal laws.
Never store cleaning supplies in other containers, especially any that were originally made for food or drink - a child may see a soda bottle full of bleach and think it's a bottle of soda!
If you are going to use a different container, make sure to clearly mark the bottle. I like to mix up diluted bleach for some things in the house in a spray bottle, but I clearly mark the contents on the bottle in large lettering.
Take extra caution with flammable cleaning supplies
Read the warnings on the labels of all cleaning supplies to determine which ones might be flammable. Keep flammable cleaning supplies in a cool dry location in your house, and never near a flame, an electrical ignition source, or in sunlight. Keep these flammable cleaning supplies in their marked original containers in a locked storage cabinet.
Store acid and base solutions away from each other.
Never ever store cleaning supplies made with a base solution (such as ammonium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide) next to cleaning supplies made with an acid solution (such as acetic acid (lemon or citrus cleaners), sulfuric acid, or hydrochloric acid). Acids and bases are substances that are totally incompatible with each other - if an acid solution comes in contact with a base solution, the disastrous result will be toxic fumes and, possibly, an explosion.
Make sure to not mix acids and bases when cleaning to avoid toxic fumes. Learn more about storing and handling cleaning solutions.
Use cleaning supplies only in a place that has proper ventilation.
If not stored properly, some cleaners may emit fumes that can overwhelm you when you open the container. Be sure that the place where you will be working is properly ventilated. If, while working, you begin to feel light-headed or faint, seal the container and go outside for some fresh air.
Make sure the storage space you are using to store your cleaning supplies is also ventilated. If you smell an overwhelming odor when opening such a storage space, move away and open doors and windows to ventilate the area. A container may have burst and might be leaking – check back later with breathing safeguards and dispose of the broken container properly.
Don't leave containers open
Never ever leave a bottle or container of cleaning supplies open and unattended while you're doing your cleaning. Always close and put away the cleaning supply if you are interrupted. You do not want any temptation sitting around that may harm your child out to explore what you had been doing.
Use proper protection
When cleaning, take only the proper amount that you need from the container, seal the container back up, and store the container away immediately. Use the proper equipment for handling the cleaning supply material, as recommended on the label.
Do not ignore any warning that says you should use such protective gear such as gloves or goggles.
When you are all done with cleaning, properly dispose of the materials that touched the cleaning chemicals. At this point, rags and paper towels may now be very flammable. Government safety standards (again, on the label) will tell you how to dispose of this waste material in the least dangerous manner.
Know what to do if a problem arises with human or animal contact with these cleaning supplies. Based on the information on the warning labels of the cleaning supplies, create and keep nearby a first-aid kit that includes any emergency-wash liquids.
Keep a list of telephone numbers in the kit for:
- National Poison Control (1-800-222-1222)
- Your doctor
- Your nearest hospital
- Your local ambulance service
By following these safety tips, you can ensure that your cleaning supplies are stored responsibly and prevent potential accidents, keeping your family and pets safe from harm.