hazardous household chemical mixturesMany people know that ammonia mixed with bleach creates a toxic gas. Therefore we should not only not mix them to clean, we should store them apart from each other to they can't spill and mix during the shaking of an earthquake.
They are fine if handled carefully and only used sparingly, but are quite toxic if mixed or spilled in a large enough quantity on skin or in a quantity that is breathed in.
Never pour undiluted bleach straight
from the bottle onto spills you need to clean up of blood, urine, sputum or vomit. Dangerous levels of toxic nitrous oxide gases could result.
Here are some mixtures to avoid: (from the Campbell Community Emergency Response Team training)
The aforementioned household ammonia with bleach or with pool acid, or Liquid Plumber.
Clorox (or other bleach) with toilet bowl cleaners, swimming pool acid, ammonia, rust remover, or any acid-type substance.
Oven cleaners have sodium hydroxide (lye) and will cause extreme heat if mixed with sulfuric acid (like Liquid Plumber) or hydrochloric acid (like toilet bowl cleaner). The fumes from lye alone are dangerous to contact lens wearers and mucous membranes. Lye can cause burns.
Liquid Plumber and many other drain openers contain sulfuric acid and when mixed with bleach, pool chlorine or any other chlorine-based substance can create chlorine gas (as used in chemical warfare).
Paint remover that contains methylene chloride (a known cancer causing agent) may rupture violently during a fire.
Raid is flamable around heat or open flame. It contains a chemical that can cause aspiration pneumonia if breathed in quantity.
Ortho dormant spray contains calcium polysulfide. When it comes in contact with any acid-type chemical it could give off a highly toxic, extremely flammable gas.
(Pilot lights for your gas stove or heater are open flames!) So is your cigarette. So is the woodstove. When you flip on a lightswitch it can make a spark.
Just about any household or garden pesticide or herbicide, when mixed together in large quantities, can become dangerous.
Store all these with hazards in mind. They should all be on a floor level shelf so any earthquake shaking motion will affect them less. The shelf, cabinet or shelves should be anchored to the wall with some type of restraint across the front of the shelf to prevent bottles from falling.
Pesticides, pool cleaners, etc. should not be IN your house.
Store, use and dispose of household chemicals according to the instructions on the label.
Keep all medicines, cosmetics, cleaning products, and other household chemicals out of sight and out of reach of children.
Buy only as much as you will need to use so you don't have to store extras.
You might also want to read:
earthquake home hazards survey
Earthquake information sources
Earthquake and pets advice
Helping Children Cope With Disaster
Store water for after an earthquake
Babysitter Consent and Contact Form
Fast, easy, cheap earthquake preparedness
Home Fire Safety Checklist