oven clener spill easy cleanersWe recently came across something very worrying upon first impressions whilst carrying out cleaning at offices!

An old bottle of oven cleaner has been tarnished with some form of decaying spilt substance below it.

This picture will say it all, with this white substance emerging at the base as the bottle stands on a shelf in an old basement cupboard – obviously there untouched for many years.

Although fortunately, you don’t come across extreme cases like this that often nowadays, when you do there are certainly several lessons we can all learn about the safe way to store cleaning substances in buildings.

Of course, there are specific COSHH requirements for these, and good-practice Health & Safety Risk Assessments should help identify and deal with these scenarios.

But let’s keep this simple here, and look at five quick lessons to learn when keeping any cleaning substance bottle, or container in a cupboard or whatever location:

1. Keep it Locked in a Safe Area.

Of course, an obvious one is to make sure it’s in a hidden area that is safely locked away so no one can mistakenly get hold of it.

A secure lock on the cupboard with only authorised people able to open it is good.

Plus, make sure it is on the right shelf and location – ideally high up out of reach, and at the back of any shelf if not meant for regular use.

2. Keep it Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind.

However, the downside of something being locked-away is that you then forget about it – as with this example, and a festering mess of oven cleaner then emerging.

So, make sure you don’t completely forget about it. Maybe it has to poke out somewhere and not be completely hidden away.

And good regular clearance and tidy of areas will also help remember what’s there, ideally at least every year.

3. Keep it at the Right Temperature.

Generally speaking, problems begin when the bad weather and temperature conditions hit.

Therefore, a cold and well-ventilated area will tend to do the trick.

Ensure there aren’t sudden cold temperatures, water and damp, and even in the middle of hot sun rays.

4. Keep it Correctly Labelled.

More often than not, labels can be soon outdated and also worn away over time – never mind being half ripped off in the first place.

Therefore, check these are loud and clear so that anyone can easily see what the substance is – even if you need a bright marker pen and label on it.

Plus, always make sure the actual substance matches the container and description, rather than getting clever and trying to use an old container for something else.

5. Keep the Right Data Sheets and Records

And the final one is having correct Data Sheets and other documentation to hand to show what you have in question.

These are basically the technical breakdown of the substance, what chemicals it contains, and what risks can come to emerge from this.

The more practical this is, the better, not just endless pages or charts printed off the internet. But rather effective Risk Assessments and emergency procedures of what to do with say spillages and accidents.

Cleaning up Your Storage Act

It is a definite no-go simply slinging cleaning substances and items in any old cupboard or shelf and leaving it.

Even if you never intend to use it again, and it’s there for a rainy day – there are all kinds of risks lurking away.

Whether it’s a child mistakenly getting in and grabbing this, or as in this case, a serious leakage over time.

Therefore, take these five pointers on to keep cleaning items ship-shape for full peace of mind.

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