Household Chemical Safety. Do you know what you’re storing together?

Podcast Episode 031021
Published on March 10th, 2021

A quiet evening is disturbed by your home beginning to “shimmy and shake”. Earthquake! You quickly gather your family members and duck under large study furniture while holding on to the legs. The home shakes pretty well, forcing loose things to fall from their perch’s on shelves and bookcases. Many things are falling as your home continues to absorb the energy of the earth buckling beneath it. Fifteen seconds elapsed and now even those items toward the rear of your shelves have found their way to the floor. Glass jars shatter when hitting the floor sending the contents splashing across the floor. Depending on the weight in the plastic jugs, and the height in which they are stored, they also may burst upon impacting the floor, releasing its contents flowing across the same floor other jars and jugs have dumped their contents. You now have the ingredients and conditions for a chemical reaction, or possibly even a chemical fire. You may find yourself, not only facing the structural challenges of an earthquake but now, you may have to face a chemical condition as well. Talk about going from bad to worse.

Greetings friends, family members, fellow Alaskans, and my fellow Americans, wherever you are. I hope you are well, and getting yourselves prepared for our future here in the US, as we stare down the bore of yet another wave of COVID-19 and its ugly relatives. Welcome to the Alaska Outlaw Podcast, I am the Alaska Outlaw, and today I hope to be your host on a journey of understanding the things that many Americans have in their homes which could cause a plethora of new situations that you may, or may not have had to deal with before. Possible never considered Chemical warfare within your own home caused by Mother Nature herself. The Chemical war I’m speaking of is not delivered by an enemy, but the very contents of our everyday lives.

What kind of chemicals are we talking about you ask? The many secret ingredients to keeping your home clean, or maintaining a level of hygiene, all of these products have some level of chemicals stored there that we need to be cognizant of. As an example, we need to be diligent that ammonia and chlorides don’t mix on a kitchen floor, however, there are many more. So, in addition to understanding a little more about our products, we will take a good look at what can be safely stored together. When your home turns into a blender due to an earthquake, tornado, or another natural disaster, we need to be sure that things don’t get mixed in an environment that we are trying to breathe in.

We’ll start our discussion about the number one bad boy when it comes to chemical warfare ingredients, cleaning supplies. Whether it be bleach, or acetone, or some other cleaning solvent, we need to be very cognizant of its ingredients, and its storage locations. I am reminded of a story passed to me from a fellow listener who informed me of a time when his home in Southern California was hit by a quake. He and his family dove under the kitchen table and held in as their home rocked in all directions. His kitchen table was located directly next to a laundry room, where a bottle of bleach vibrated off the top of the washing machine and fell to the floor. The top of the bottle wasn’t secured well enough, and the impact to the floor caused a powerful push of the liquid within, spraying him in the face and the eyes. Now, not only are you dealing with the quake but now he has chemical burns on most of his face and upper torso and is blind, fortunately in his case, it was temporary. This comes down to storage, had that jug been on the floor, he wouldn’t have had to endure the pain and agony of burning, particularly in the eyes. So, while some chemicals may be thought of as necessary, one must maintain a level of recognition when storing them. Think about your home being tossed into a giant blender, and determine how you can ensure that those chemicals do not mix.

Considering the collection within our homes, let’s break them down based on some general categories.

So our first category is Cleaning supplies. The unfortunate reality of many of our modern-day cleaners packs a pretty powerful punch, although quite a few idiots tested the chemical fatality of the tide-pod gang. Between toilet bowl cleaners and heavy-duty trap cleaners, these chemicals produce a substantial danger when mixed with other things. Storage for these types of cleaners should isolate them from almost everything else.

Our next category is personal hygiene items. While most of these are 100% safe with anything, there are a few that we can quickly isolate. Items like mouthwash, nail polish remover, hairsprays, as well as hydrogen peroxide can be quite dangerous when mixed with others, and especially dangerous when mixed with cleaning supplies. I’ve personally noticed that some jewelry cleaners can have some wicked stuff contained within them. Again, the best idea is to store them separately, and ensure their lids are secured.

Next is Outdoor chemicals. These are typically stored in a garage, or carport area, however, they are typically much more dangerous. Whether we are talking about gasoline or aerosols, paint stripper, or just starting fluid, there are tons of ignition sources that might be struck, or dropped, to create a substantial issue, particularly given the situation that has got us to this point. During an earthquake, garages have a tendency to become a smoothie following a shaker of any magnitude. Securing these chemicals is critical to be successfully prepared, ensuring that there exists no path between them. 

Finally is foodstuffs. While many people don’t consider foodstuff to be dangerous, I’m here to tell you that those Costco-sized cans of chili will rearrange your biological molecules when falling off a shelf onto your brain housing group. In addition, I’m not sure if you remember, but flour dust is flammable, although most of us do alright, given everything else going on, let’s not add any fuel to the fire so to speak. Oils and aerosol cooking sprays can add another level of danger to even the most mundane. These are things that we will want to be sure we are considering when planning for the storage of these materials. What about a lesson that the Texans just got about soda cans in extreme cold, yea, they explode. These are all things that we need to consider when storing the preps.

While the protection of little people is very important when it comes to chemicals, equally important is the consideration for the potential of a natural disaster. Floods could transport many of these chemicals down River possibly causing major problems, the raging waters could damage and burst the current containers. The scenario is found all too often during any level of disasters, I mentioned in a previous podcast about the building of a gaseous cloud at street level that could cause issues with your family and/or neighbors.

We all need to learn the differences between caustic, acidic, or vaporous dangers that lurk within any chemical combination. Ensuring that bottles, cans, jugs, or boxes are secured properly. If they are elevated, be sure that they are secured at that altitude. Ask yourself; what if it falls? Or what if we lose power and those plastic jugs get bitter cold before Mother Nature turns on the blender? I have found with decades of experience responding to natural disasters around the world, these unexpected releases cause a substantial impact.

In conclusion, there are a significant number of potentially fatal chemical reactions stored in our homes every day. We use them to keep ourselves clean, as well as the surfaces of our homes clean. But, we need to know what exactly we are buying, and seriously ponder the storage location for each of them. While we all had a head-shaking moment watching teenagers eating washing detergent in the form of tide pods, the reality is that these chemicals, when inadvertently mixed with others, can be very dangerous and can upset even the best preparations.

As always my friends, I am honored and humbled that you have chosen to spend this time with me here on the Alaska Outlaw, and I would like to encourage you to check out my messages of hope and promise at Alaska Phoenix ( Until next week, stay safe, stay strong, keep your head on a swivel… peace.

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