Cleaning Chemicals and Extreme Temperatures Don’t Mix

The cold and snow have thoroughly permeated central Colorado, but hopefully we’ll soon see some warmer spring weather. Some like it cold, while others agree with comedian Carl Reiner who once stated, “A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”

Home Hazardous Waste

Some inanimate items that don't do well in freezing weather are many of the cleaning chemicals you use. Check the labels for any freeze warnings that they may post. When some non-aerosol products freeze, the solids within the solution will fall out and can’t be blended back into the mixture. When this happens, the product is basically useless and will need to be thrown out. But if water-based products freeze, you can thaw 'em and shake 'em and they should be good to go.

And then there are aerosol products. These work best at room temperature or warmer. Many aerosols consist of a water-based product and a solvent-based propellant. When an aerosol can is very cold, it won’t dispense properly. Instead of a nice even spray, either nothing will come out (even though there’s still plenty of product inside) or it’ll just spit at you like an angry camel.

The reason for this is that when a water-based product gets cold, it gets thick and sluggish. So, when the nozzle is depressed, what dispenses is mostly the solvent-based propellant instead of product and you end up with a can full of a cleaning product that you’ll never be able to use. And there goes money in the trash. This problem is easily alleviated by running a cold can under hot water for about a minute or so before using. Your best bet is to store them inside a heated building and not somewhere like an unheated garage.

Problems with aerosols also exist on the other end of the temperature spectrum. Spray cans of cleaners, deodorant, hairspray, spray paint, etc., can explode at 120 degrees. It can get that hot inside an enclosed, uncooled building on a scorching day, even in Colorado. And the temperature inside a parked car can get up to 140 degrees on an extremely hot day, and that’s past what it takes for aerosol cans to explode. So, never store aerosols in any place that gets hot, such as on top of a radiator, a fireplace mantle, a water heater or near furnaces, wood stoves or space heaters.

Many carry and store hand sanitizers in their vehicles these days. Although they’re unlikely to explode in high heat due to the fact that they’re usually hand pumped and not used in aerosol cans, they can lose their effectiveness if they sit in a hot car. Those products contain alcohol, which once hot, evaporates much more quickly than water. Once this happens, they lose their sanitizing properties.

Interestingly, most products sold in aerosol cans are more expensive by weight or volume than their non-aerosol counterparts. The propellant in an aerosol can may account for as much as 15 percent of the weight. Economically, non-aerosol products are more cost-effective. And if you really want to save some cash, buy concentrated cleaning chemicals where you mix them yourself. By doing so, you can realize a savings from dollars per gallon to cents per gallon.

The welfare of your cleaning chemicals may not be the very first thing on your mind, but considering how much money you spend on them, they're worth a little consideration on your part.

If your central Colorado home or business needs deep cleaning due to Covid-19 or for any other reason, contact Cyclone Kleenup. We closely follow the guidelines of The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification to ensure each job is done correctly.