This is part one of a two part series that my friend Russel Ray, a prominent San Diego CA Home Inspector and Active Rain Blogger recently posted. I have seen so many homes where caustic chemicals have been stored under the sink, whether it be the kitchen, the bathroom, or the laundry. Read Russel's post to find out why this is not a good idea...
Is it bad to store chemicals in sink cabinets?
The unequivocal answer is a resounding YES!
Sink cabinets are a significant area where water problems occur, and where mold and mildew are likely to be found. There's a common theme that I've found during the course of my home inspection career:
Many people (like 99% of people!) store household cleaning chemicals in the sink cabinets (see Figure 12) without realizing the possible consequences of doing so. Kind of like these two kitchen sink cabinets:
Think about what's located in your sink cabinets: the metal underside of sinks, garbage disposals with metal casings, copper water supply pipes, plastic or metal drainage pipes, electric outlets.... Both plastic and metal are affected by corrosive chemicals, and continued corrosion and rusting can eventually result in leaks.
The only time someone takes all those chemicals out of the sink cabinets to inspect the cabinet floor and the water and drainage pipes is when they're moving, a significant leak is noticed, or a young child is in the hospital after gaining access to the chemicals. (Regardless of what you store in your sink cabinets, remember to childproof your cabinets and drawers if young children are around.)
Sink cabinets are absolutely the wrong place to store cleaning chemicals because, by their very nature, they are corrosive. So DO NOT store chemicals in them! Additionally, children won't be able to gain access to harmful and dangerous chemicals if they are not in those low sink cabinets.
A cabinet out of the reach of young children in the garage or at an exterior location is great, but if you must keep them inside, an upper hallway closet, the cabinet above the microwave oven, or the cabinet above the refrigerator make good interior locations. If it means that you have to go buy a step ladder to get the chemicals each time you need them, I think that small inconvenience is far better than the "inconvenience" of going to a funeral for a dead child or visiting an injured child in the hospital for several days. I hope you agree.
Regardless of where you store the chemicals, make sure the cover is tightly closed and secured so that it doesn't spill if you accidentally knock it over or drop it. If you do have to keep chemicals in lower cabinets or drawers — and you shouldn't — again, make sure those cabinets and drawers have child-proof latches on them if you have young children in, or visiting, the house.
Join me for part two tomorrow.
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Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage