Safety Tips for Storing Chemicals

Safety Tips for Storing Chemicals
February 24, 2022

Whether storing gasoline to power a lawnmower, or chlorine to keep your pool clean, there are plenty of reasons to keep chemicals tucked away inside a chemical storage shed. Storing these products in an outdoor building offers convenience and additional safety so you don’t have to keep them inside your home where children or pets may have easy access. But before finding a safe spot to stow chemicals, it’s important to know the dangers involved if stored improperly. Here are garage chemical storage ideas to keep your home and environment safe.

What Chemicals Can You Store in a Shed?

While the list is certainly more exhaustive than this, here are some common chemicals you may have on hand for any number of DIY projects around the house.

  • Lawn and garden chemicals: There are a variety of chemicals you may use to keep your yard looking great year-round. Fertilizer, herbicide, and pesticides are all products to keep inside a chemical storage shed for your safety and for their effectiveness. In addition, you may need to store gasoline in order to power lawn care tools like a lawn mower.
  • Pool chemicals: If you’re looking to save money on hiring a pool service, you can balance your own pool by purchasing chemicals like chlorine, oxidizers, and cyanuric acid among others.
  • Car maintenance chemicals: Many people choose to service their own cars by changing the oil, cleaning brakes, or just ensuring the engine is in top shape. Products like motor oil, degreasers, and even common cleaners can be kept in a chemical storage shed.
Person with HerbicidePerson with Herbicide

Lawn Chemical Storage Options

The key to keeping a yard looking beautiful season after season is consistent treatment and upkeep. In most cases, that involves utilizing chemicals to keep pests away in order to create the perfect environment for plants to grow and for grass to stay green. But these chemicals can have adverse impact on not only humans, but animals and the environment. Here are some simple ways to make sure lawn chemicals are stored properly to keep everyone safe.

  • Keep in a safe space: Dangerous chemicals should not be stored out in the open where children or pets can have access. Every day, over 300 children are treated in an emergency room due to chemical ingestion. A simple way to keep anyone from coming into contact with dangerous chemicals is to utilize a chemical storage shed. For an extra layer of safety, keep them in a locked cabinet that has plenty of ventilation.
  • Store in original container: A curious child can easily try to drink a dangerous chemical if it is stored in a familiar container such as a soft drink bottle. Make sure to store chemicals in their original containers so they are clearly labeled and aren’t mistaken for drinkable liquids.
  • Store off the ground: Never store chemicals on the ground. Not only will they be accessible to children or animals, it could also cause environmental harm in the case of heavy rain, flooding, or spillage.
  • Avoid storing near animal feed: When contemplating lawn chemical storage, always keep in mind what you are storing alongside the chemicals. Animal feed or any other type of food should never be in close proximity where it could become contaminated.
Gas Cans in ShedGas Cans in Shed

Pool Chemical Storage Tips

Professional pool chemical management can cost hundreds of dollars a month, which is why many people decide to take on the task themselves. It can be complicated, but well worth the money if you know what you’re doing. Keeping your pool water clean and safe to swim in requires weekly use of chemicals. Here are tips on how to safely stow away these items in your chemical storage shed.

  • Store chemicals separately: You should never store chemicals in the same container for your own safety and also for the effectiveness of the chemicals. They could be incompatible and cause an unwanted and dangerous reaction. Acids and chlorine should always be stored apart from each other. No chemicals should be stacked on top of one another.
  • Store in a locked cabinet: Aside from the obvious safety hazards of having chemicals near children, keeping pool chemicals in a locked cabinet will also help to maintain your steel or fabric shed. These products can corrode your shed and cause damage if you’re not careful.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures: Certain chemicals can have adverse reactions to heat and even cause explosions or spills as they expand. Storing pool chemicals in temperatures that are too cold can also make them unusable if they freeze.

How to Store Chemicals for Car Maintenance

Whether you are storing car cleaning products, motor oil, or gasoline, there are important safety precautions to take in order to avoid dangerous reactions. Here are tips to safely store these products inside a chemical storage shed.

  • Keep all containers tightly sealed: Make sure to keep gasoline and motor oil in an approved container with the lids shut. Many chemicals used for car maintenance are flammable or combustible, and can pose a threat if spilled near a heat source.
  • Store at a safe distance: Make sure to keep these types of chemicals a minimum of 50 feet away from heat sources to avoid fire hazards.
  • Keep tabs on gasoline: Know when you purchased and when you began to store something like gasoline. A good rule of thumb is to use it within a month, but you should not store gasoline longer than 6 months. Motor oil and car cleaners have a long shelf life and you don’t have to worry about keeping them longer if they are stored properly.
Gas Cans in ShedGas Cans in Shed

Important Chemical Storage Shed Tips

  • Keep the area clean: Don’t let debris accumulate near any stored chemicals. Keep your chemical storage shed free of any material that might contribute to a fire or explosion, or anything that may encourage pest infiltration.
  • Only buy what you need: You should never store a large amount of chemicals in your outdoor building. Buy what you need, and make note of when it was purchased. Safely dispose of any unused products by calling your local government entity for drop-off locations.
  • Plan for an emergency: Everyone knows to call 9-1-1 in an emergency, but you should also have the Poison Control Hotline number available if you think a family member or pet ingested a chemical, or if it came into contact with skin or eyes.

Of course, common sense is important when learning about how to store chemicals in a safe manner. Always read the labels and follow instructions based on manufacturer’s suggestions. Keep an inventory of the chemicals you have, and it will also help to have the Material Safety Data Sheets on hand to take an in-depth look at the hazards and specific uses of each chemical.

When choosing the right outdoor building to store chemicals, make sure to have a well-ventilated shed for better temperature control. Chemicals should never be exposed to either extreme heat or cold temperatures for your safety as well as the effectiveness of the chemicals. By following safe procedures and having a plan in case of emergency, chemical storage can be a convenient and cost-effective way to take DIY projects to the next level at home.

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