How To Clean Up a Household Chemical Spill

There are a number of household chemicals that are regularly stored in the house. These household chemicals are usually used for cleaning purposes, such as bleach, ammonia, turpentine, kerosene, and many others. If you happen to spill the chemicals in your home, here are steps to help you clean up the spill.

  • Gloves. Before working on the chemical spill, make sure that you protect yourself with gloves. Remember, even household chemicals can be very strong and can damage exposed flesh. If you have spilled muriatic acid, for instance, direct contact with the substance can actually burn your skin. The gloves are your basic protection from the chemicals, but you should also have some face masks to help ward off the noxious fumes. Muriatic acid and bleach, for instance, have fumes that can make you dizzy if you inhale too much. Make sure that the gloves and the face mask are stored in the same place where you keep your chemicals, so that you will be able to access these easily in case of a spill.
  • Act quickly. Once the chemicals spill, be sure to have enough presence of mind to return the bottle or chemical container in an upright position. This will prevent further spills and will mitigate the mess that you will have to clean up later on.
  • Cover. Because most household chemicals come in liquid form, you should prevent the liquid chemicals from spreading by covering up the spill immediately. Make sure that you have some old newspapers stored somewhere in your house, so that you can cover up the chemical spill with the newspapers. Covering up the spills will not only minimize the spread of the chemicals, but will also prevent the chemicals from emitting their fumes. When you remove the newspaper soaked in the chemicals, make sure that you are using gloves.
  • Absorb. There are a number of ways to absorb the chemicals that have spilled. If you are dealing with relatively gentle chemicals such as bleach, you can simply use a mop. If you are dealing with very powerful chemicals, however, you should use old pieces of clothing that you can throw away completely after use. You can also use clay to cover the chemical spill. The clay has a natural clumping action that makes it easier to clean up. Make sure, however, that you do not return the clay back to the garden after using it to absorb the spill. Instead, put the clay in garbage bags and dispose properly.
  • Ventilate. Always make sure that you aerate the room where the spill occurred, so that you will be able to remove the fumes as well. Do this by opening all of the doors and windows and by using an electric fan or the exhausts in your house.
  • Residues. After removing the chemicals, apply some warm water mixed with some detergent to remove the final traces of the spill. Afterwards, mop as usual.

Make sure that you read the labels on all of the chemical products that you have in the house. Some products contain specific instructions on how to deal with chemicals spills. Some products also have negative reactions with certain substances, such as soap or paper, which should not be used to absorb and clean the spills.


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