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Mar 20

How To Properly Store Household Hazardous Waste

What is Hazardous Waste?

Household hazardous waste can be categorized in four ways: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity. Defined by the EPA as leftover household products that can catch fire, react, corrode or explode, homeowners are encouraged to store these products in safe spaces properly.

Since most people are not familiar with potentially hazardous waste products, much less how to properly store them, read our post detailing a comprehensive breakdown of what constitutes hazardous waste.


How to Store: Ignitible Products

Products with ignitable properties are varied and can be found all around your home. With most ignitable products, storing them in specific environments will ensure that the product is not in a volatile state.


Products with Ignitable Properties

Rubbing Alcohol

  • Must be kept in a tightly sealed container
  • Keep in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area
  • Kept away from all ignition sources that can spark or flame

Nail Polish & Nail Polish Remover

  • Store in a cold & dark cabinet with a stable temperature
  • Do not leave in direct sunlight
  • Ensure that all containers are in an upright position

Extension Cords

  • Use the over-under coil method and use velcro strips to hold coils together
  • Store in a cool, dry, and dark environment

Aerosol Cans

  • Store in cupboards or cabinets with stable temperatures
  • Avoid placing near direct sunlight

Gasoline, Turpentine, and Paint Thinner

  • Place in a dark & cold environment away from the reach of children
  • Usually placed in a garage
  • Away from electrical equipment
  • Away from sunlight

Hand Sanitizer

  • Any room-temperature environment
  • Away from open fires or ignition sources


How to Store Corrosive Products

Most corrosive products are either going to hold a high pH (base) or a low pH (acid). To give a frame of reference, the average pH level of a bar of soap is 9-10. On the other hand, battery acid holds a pH of 1-2. Dependent on the product, you can usually determine the pH by its uses. Here are a few ways to properly store corrosive household products.

Products with Corrosive Properties

Oven Cleaners

  • Keeping Oven cleaners in a controlled environment such as sink cabinet is ideal

Drain Cleaners

  • Place in a cabinet with other cleaning supplies
  • Away from temperature extremes

Toilet Bowl Cleaners

  • Bathroom cabinet
  • Place in a cool environment or room temperature

Automotive Batteries

  • Place in a dry environment¬†
  • Adequate ventilation


How to Store Reactive Products

Reactive products are often products that contain metal oxides that can react violently under certain conditions. Keep in mind, most everyday uses for reactive metals such as Lithium, Sodium, and Potassium are ionized and pose no threat. Most reactive household items come in the form of lithium-ion batteries found in electronics. To ensure these products do not react violently, be sure to unplug your device from its power source if it starts getting hot to the touch.

How to Store Toxic Products

Most toxic substances, both organic and inorganic, are found in liquid, gaseous and solid forms. Here are a few examples of the toxic household materials found in varying states of matter and how to properly store them.

Products with Toxic Properties

Methoxychlor (Gas/Insecticide)

  • Store in a well-ventilated utility area
  • Do not store it anywhere close to consumables or medical supplies

Lead (Solid/Batteries)

  • Storing spare batteries in room temperature or colder rooms will preserve any battery life left in them

Trichloroethylene (Liquid/Solvent)

  • Room temperature environment
  • Dry and cool compartments
  • Away from any ignition sources


Hazardous Waste Disposal Services

 Alpha Environmental provides hazardous waste disposal consulting that includes an assessment of the waste, sampling, inventory, hazardous product disposal, packaging, transportation, and ultimately the proper disposal of the commercial or household waste. We take care of every aspect with affordable pricing while eliminating all of the guesswork.

While hazardous waste disposal is mostly for commercial properties, there are instances where household hazardous waste needs to be managed and disposed of. Proper disposal ensures that there is little to no chance of hazardous exposure. 

If you have questions or require removal of your hazardous chemical waste, call Alpha Environmental at 503-406-6686.

Contact Alpha Environmental
Matthew Micheletty

About The Author

Matthew has been Alpha's Director of Operations for over four years. He works directly with our clients in effort to provide exceptional customer service as well as managing the day to day of the company. When he's not at the office, you can find him at Red Tail Golf Club or cruising PDX in one of his project cars.