Chris' Corner: Proper storage of caustic chemicals

Proper storage of caustic chemicals


This is part two of a two part series that my friend Russel Ray, a prominent San Diego CA Home Inspector and Active Rain Blogger recently posted on the storage of caustic chemicals. It has been my experience that many homeowners store their chemicals under the sink, be it the kitchen, the bathroom, or the laundry. Read Russel's post to find out why this is not a good idea and where you should be storing them...


Call Russel Ray for all your home inspection needs

Is it bad to store chemicals in sink cabinets?
(part two)

The unequivocal answer is a resounding YES, which we discovered in part one.

If you're a responsible home owner — and who amongst us will admit to anything else? — you take care of your house, which means you do daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, seasonal, and annual maintenance. That should prevent you from having any water problems — roof leaks, plumbing leaks — unless you have a flood, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, etc.

Part of what I call "regular homeowner monitoring and maintenance" is regularly checking water supply lines and sewer pipes, and the ones in your sink cabinets are the ones that will prove most problematic because of where they are located, what else you keep in the sink cabinet, and how careful you are in putting things in and taking things out.

Here's how to monitor that sink cabinet plumbing on a daily basis with little effort on your part:

Store dry materials (towels, bathroom tissue, boxes, etc.) in sink cabinets, like this:


Notice that the chemicals that have been stored there have not yet been opened, and that's okay because the factory seal has not been broken, so those little, corrosive atoms won't be able to attach themselves to your plumbing pipes, the underside of your sink, or the disposal. Corrosive atoms really like metal best!

If those normally dry materials are wet when you remove them, you know you've got a leak of some type somewhere, so check for leaks in the water pipes and sewer pipes, and check for deteriorated caulking/grouting around the sink and countertop. Have a licensed plumber repair or replace any plumbing components, and have the deteriorated caulking/grouting repaired.

Not responsible for advice not takenSo where should you store common household cleaning chemicals that have been opened? 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 covers of the bottles are tightly closed and secured so that the chemicals don't spill if you accidentally knock the bottle 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, and that includes the neighbors' children, your grandchildren, etc.


  • Store chemicals in upper cabinets, in locked cabinets, and/or in exterior cabinets.
  • Store dry materials such as towels, boxes, and tissue in sink cabinets to facilitate daily monitoring of the water supply lines and sewer pipes.
  • Childproof all lower cabinets and drawers.


Twenty most recent posts

  1. Unlocking the secrets of your home — How far will YOU walk for YOUR Client?
  2. Unlocking the secrets of your home — Is it bad to store chemicals in sink cabinets? (part one)
  3. Business & Marketing — If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there!
  4. Unlocking the secrets of your home — ....but there weren't any birds!
  5. The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray — Only the lonely.... pretty woman crying... it's over
  6. Opinion — 100 things YOU can do to help the world!
  7. Opinion — Quit bitching and start contributing!
  8. Opinion — It's funny that some people don't want big government until they need big government
  9. Pay It Forward — Would you like a glass of Google juice? It's good for you! (part 11)
  10. Unlocking the secrets of your home — Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
  11. Unlocking the secrets of your home — Complaints are like ActiveRain blogs: They happen!
  12. Picture of the Moment by Russel Ray Photos — An unhappy Client means a few hours of happiness at the San Diego Zoo!
  13. Unlocking the secrets of your home — Here a crack, there a crack (part 9)
  14. The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray — Just a bunch of fluff
  15. Flower Fiesta — Flowers for Easter week
  16. Pay It Forward — Just a spoonful of sugar helps the Google juice go down....
  17. Unlocking the secrets of your home — Here a crack, there a crack (part 8)
  18. I've had it!
  19. Unlocking the secrets of your home — Here a crack, there a crack (part 7)
  20. Nature Handbook — Handle with extreme care

Subscribe to my blog



Try Russel Ray Photos
for inexpensive, royalty-free photos.

Member since 2003 of 
The world’s largest and best trade association for home inspectors!

Chris Smith CSSBB
          Sales Representative

Interested in Buying or Selling Real Estate?

  ph: 1.866.936.3500

Chay Realty Inc.,

Comment balloon 0 commentsChris Smith • April 26 2011 10:01AM