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Safe Storage and Use of Hazardous Household Products

Safe storage of hazardous household products is important to prevent accidental poisonings and spills. Cleaning products and other hazardous household products are among the most dangerous poisons. Hazardous household products are stored for months or even years before they are used up or transported to a collection site. It is important to follow the use and storage guidelines below. Improper storage can be a safety hazard or turn usable products into waste.

  • Follow all directions on the container. If the directions appear out of date, call the manufacturer.
  • Store all products out of reach of children and pets.
  • Lock poisons and medicines out of reach and sight of small children.
  • Return hazardous household products to safe storage immediately after use.
  • Always keep products in their original containers. If the product is removed from its original container, label it with the name of the product and the date you first stored the product in that container. Also include the name and phone number of the manufacturer and directions for safe use, storage and disposal. Never use food or beverage containers as replacement containers. Ensure the container is child-resistant.
  • Never mix different household chemicals. Doing so could be dangerous. For example, mixing chlorine bleach with ammonia or vinegar can create toxic fumes.
  • Store all hazardous products out of the sun, in tightly sealed containers, and away from heat, sparks and flames, including pilot lights.
  • Never smoke or eat while handling hazardous materials.
  • Never store products with hazardous ingredients in food or beverage containers. Also, never store these products in the same area as food.
  • Keep containers dry to avoid rusting.
  • Keep products from freezing. Never store in an unheated garage during the winter. An exception to this is products labeled "Flammable" or "Combustible." They may be stored in an unheated garage during the winter.
  • Never store gasoline or other fuels indoors.
  • If the product container is deteriorating, place the entire container in a plastic bucket. Surround it with a nonflammable absorbent, such as kitty litter, vermiculite or floor dry, to absorb spills. Label the outside of the container as indicated above.

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