If you thought that your home was completely fireproof, it might be time to think again. Some common household items can be really flammable. Want one example off the top of our heads? Ping pong balls! They are extremely flammable as they contain cellulose! If that surprised you, read on where we reveal 9 flammable household items to be aware of.
1. Nail Polish Remover
A harmless beauty product? Not quite. Nail polish remover is high in a compound called acetone. Acetone also evaporates easily and can make a flammable gas. It doesn’t have to touch a naked flame to ignite. It is particularly dangerous if spilled, as it can create a vapor cloud that other naked flames can ignite.
In addition, it is well worth ensuring that you don’t use nail polish remover around ignition sources, such as candles or heating elements. Also, replace the cap whenever it is not in use.
2. Rubbing Alcohol
Who would have thought that hand sanitizer could be a health hazard? The CDC recommends a minimum alcohol content of 50-70% to effectively kills germs. While this is good news to prevent colds and flu, it isn’t so great when it comes to being fire-safe.
While unlikely, there are a few simple precautions you can take. Store rubbing alcohol away in a sealed container and clear of any heat sources. If you do spill any rubbing alcohol, clean the spillage immediately with water and a cloth.
Perhaps a little obvious, but often this is an area that people neglect in the home.
Why would gasoline be in your home?
There is a fair chance that many homes have mechanical items, such as mowers and gardening equipment that might contain a small amount of gasoline, and the tank doesn’t have to be full to be dangerous. However, gasoline evaporates and turns into vapor very easily. This can be highly flammable.
One area where gasoline can ‘sneak’ into your home is on clothing, particularly if you work around vehicles or machinery. Therefore, it is worth washing gasoline-soaked clothes as soon as you can to prevent your laundry basket from being a real fire hazard.
4. Paint Thinner
While it is great to make your home look beautiful, decorating products such as paint thinner, turpentine, and white spirits can be really flammable. Often they are stored alongside paint and other chemicals in a utility cupboard.
As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.”
Speaking of sayings, have you ever heard the phrase “oil and water don’t mix’? Often these chemicals can cause a flare-up if doused with water, should they become ignited. So it pays to think about how to deal with them should any mishaps occur.
The safest place to keep paint thinner and similar items is in an outside area such as a garage or shed. Ensure that the lids are secure. It is also worth noting that rags used to apply paint thinner can be highly flammable, too, so wash them with soap and water before drying and storing them.
5. Aerosol Cans
Whether it is deodorant, paint, or even a can of whipped cream, aerosol cans can be dangerous. This is because they use gas or propellant to push the contained product out of the can. It is often this gas that is the flammable element.
Aerosol cans may be dangerous even when they appear to be empty. This is because there might still be some gas inside even though the product has been exhausted.
You just never pierce, crumple or crush aerosol cans. Nor should you leave them in areas of heat. The safest course is to dispose of them properly; many areas have recycling centers specifically for this purpose.
6. Cooking Oils
Cooking oils tend to be pretty stable at room temperature. However, when they are heated, it can be a whole different story. And being cooking oils, they are going to be heated!
The greatest danger comes from cooking oils as they reach their smoke point. Most oils reach this limit at around 450ºF. From there, it doesn’t take long until they start to burn vigorously. The greatest danger is people’s natural instinct to pour water onto the fire. This can cause a significant flare-up.
A better solution is to deal with an oil fire in the home using a fire blanket or an appropriate extinguisher. Suppose you are unsure of how to use these items of equipment or where to buy them. In that case, it might be worth consulting a professional fire service for guidance and advice.
Flour is a true hidden danger. While in its bag, it can present relatively little danger. However, when airborne as particles, it can be extremely flammable.
Flour is a carbohydrate and, when spread into particles, it has a huge surface area, with plenty of air in between. This ticks two boxes of the fire triangle. Add a source of ignition, and it can be pretty flammable. So much so that professional bakeries take lots of measures to guard against it.
8. Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly is a pharmaceutical product found in many bathrooms. It is normally used to prevent dry skin and healing chapped lips. You’ll also find it in lip balms and chapsticks. However, it is petroleum-derived and, as a result, can be flammable when heated.
Some indoor heaters (or outdoor barbecues) use a portable gas bottle as fuel. While they are made to withstand day-to-day life, they can become super dangerous, especially if heated to extremes.
Some of the above flammable household items might be a surprise to you. Many household items are flammable, and some aren’t so obvious. The good news is that with careful thought, you can minimize the dangers. With some forward planning, you can equip yourself to fight any type of fire should it break out unexpectedly.