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You'd be amazed at how many flammable products are right inside your home. The kitchen and garage typically have the longest lists of flammable liquids in the house; however, you should examine every room of the house and stay aware of its contents and the risk factors in the unfortunate case of a fire. Improper storage and usage of flammable liquids can set the spark that ignites the flame to an accidental household fire and poses threats to homeowners and occupants.
Quite a few liquid kitchen staples are flammable. The cooking oil used to fry foods is highly flammable. Additional common products include liquid disinfectant sprays, drain opener and aerosol cans of oven cleaner. Cupboards, cabinets and pantries contain a plethora of flammable products in liquid or aerosol cans. Some products, such as liquids inside of aerosol cans, are not only flammable but also are explosive.
Other liquids like dish detergent contain reactive ingredients that can emit toxic gases if they catch on fire. Avoid or be extremely careful when using these products around open flames, near a hob and pilot lights and electrical appliances. Go on a hunt inside of pantries, cupboards and cabinets. Read the label on products to see if there is a warning that identifies that the product is flammable. Follow storage information "to the letter" to keep your family and home safe.
Kitchens and garages are usually the "usual suspects" in terms of rooms that contain flammable liquids. However, your bedroom and closely adjoining bathrooms can contain liquids that will catch fire under the right conditions. Liquid nail polish and nail polish remover contain acetone, which is extremely flammable. Aerosol hairsprays, common rubbing alcohol and certain liquid medications may contain alcohol, making them flammable. However innocent the use, respect the flammability of these items. Never use them while smoking, close to a lit candle or near a fireplace.
Liquid products in the laundry room that contain alcohol, such as stain removers, are highly flammable. Other liquid products, such as detergents, bleach and liquid fabric softeners and laundry additives may be reactive if a fire starts in the laundry room, and they may emit noxious and toxic gases. The laundry room is of special concern because there are multiple heat sources that could start a fire, such as the dryer and water heater. Store laundry room products away from heat sources, such as inside a cabinet or on a shelf.
The list of flammable liquids that can lie inside the garage can get lengthy, especially if that is where you and your family store everything for the car, yard, hobbies and crafts. Car care products that are flammable include gasoline, motor oil and antifreeze. Lawn and garden items include liquid pesticides and herbicides. Paints, thinners, lacquers and liquid wood finishes are flammable. Charcoal lighter fluid is extremely flammable. Garages can get quite hot inside during the summer, which is why these products should be stored near the rear of the garage or inside of metal cabinets -- so they are not exposed to sunlight. Keep them away from water heaters, furnaces and other sources of heat at all times.
- EPA: Household Hazardous Waster
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension; Hazardous Household Products; Wilma Hammet; 1996
- Environmental Chemistry; Guide For Handling Household Chemicals; Kenneth Barbalace: 1997
- University of Idaho: Hazardous Materials Accidents
- Garden Grove: Fire Safety & Flammable Liquids
- Transport Canada: Household Dangerous Goods
- Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images