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Storing sanitizers and disinfectants

Are you storing sanitizers and disinfectant safely?

Many businesses now find themselves having to store larger quantities of hand sanitizer, cleaning fluids, soaps and disinfectants as a result of the safety measures brought in to reduce the spread of coronavirus. This presents challenges. How can you ensure that you are storing flammable or toxic substances safely. Also, how are you disposing of these items as may should not directly enter the watercourse.

This guide gives a short and simple outline of the key measures you need to take to ensure you are meeting regulations and safety guidance when storing and disposing of cleaning materials.

Hand sanitizer

An important thing to remember, especially during the summer is that hand sanitizers must be stored, ideally, in a cool place well away from any fire or sparks. It is important that the containers are tightly sealed.

The first reason for this is that they can be flammable.

The second reason is that some experts say the alcohol content of some hand sanitizers can evaporate at higher temperatures, rendering it less effective at banishing coronavirus.

The National Fire Chiefs Council is keen to debunk the myth that storing your hand sanitizer in a car can cause a fire, as hand sanitizer would need to be in contact with a spark to catch fire. They also point out that if the container is sealed (i.e. you have closed the lid properly) the alcohol will not evaporate. The NFCC do advise however that hand sanitizer should be stored in a glove compartment or another place out of direct sunlight.

Hand sanitizer should also be kept in a place where children under the age of six cannot access it without supervision. The reason for this is that it is particularly toxic to young children if they drink it. You can see full guidance from the FDA here, along with advice about hand sanitizers they have recently found to contain harmful levels of methanol. Ordering hand sanitizer from a professional supplier such as Cornish Industrial Supplies Ltd can help you to ensure that the products you are buying are safe.

For larger quantities of hand sanitizer, you may wish to store the containers in a storage unit designed to keep flammable materials safe.

Disinfectants and cleaning materials

Disinfectants are classified as hazardous substances. Although disinfectants used in the food and drink industries are especially selected so that potential residues left on surfaces etc do not taint the food or are harmful to the consumer, many affect the skin, eyes or respiratory system and can be harmful if ingested in sufficient quantity.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) requires employers to prevent or control exposure to hazardous substances.

Where exposure cannot be prevented, employers are required to assess the risk to health, and provide adequate control measures when using hazardous chemicals.

The assessment should include a list of all chemicals used, their hazards and measures provided to control operator exposure: this includes safe storage.

You can find more guidance on Control of Substances Hazardous to Health including COVID-19 updates here:


Clearly marked storage cabinets which are designed to house hazardous chemicals should be used for disinfectants.

It is also important that care is taken when storing different cleaning fluids together as the potential for chemical reaction should be considered when more than a single disinfectant is used. Incompatible chemicals should be stored separately.

You can find detailed guidance on using disinfectants safely in your business here:

You can find guidance on using disinfectants to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission in general businesses outside healthcare settings here:

We have a range of storage options which are suitable for both flammable and hazardous substances.

SAFESTOR MOBILE CABINET, 900X465X810MM, 35L SUMP, £327.50 Please contact us for more information

This medium-duty hazardous substance cabinet complies with all Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations. The Safestor is purpose-built for the indoor safe storage of flammables and chemicals, This range of cabinets features a liquid-tight sump to contain spillages, as well as galvanized shelves for maximum durability.

Disposing of hand sanitizers and disinfectant Disinfectant, even when diluted should not be poured into drains or outlets where it will directly enter local streams or rivers. As hand sanitizers used to combat COVID-19 also contain over 60% alcohol, and are flammable when in contact with naked flames, bottles which are partially full should also be treated as hazardous waste. The best way of disposing of hand sanitizers is to use all the sanitizer in the bottle, then rinse and recycle the bottle where possible, consulting guidance from your local recycling service. It is of course, harder if you have surplus, out of date supplies or cleaning waste which contains disinfectant. As a business, any waste produced will be commercial and you have a duty of care to dispose of any hazardous waste safely. According to advice from the Environment Agency, saste is generally considered hazardous if it (or the material or substances it contains) are harmful to humans or the environment. This naturally includes many disinfectants.

● You will need to identify waste that is hazardous ● You will need to separate and store that waste safely, labelling it and avoiding mixing different types of hazardous waste.

We have a range of tanks and indoor storage solutions, please contact us for more information at or call 01726 74264.

● You will then need to use an authorized business to dispose of that waste safely.

Click here to find out if your local council provides a waste disposal service: Click here to find out if a local waste management company is on the Environment Agency’s register: Finally you will need to fill out a consignment note which includes details of the waste you have disposed of and records must be kept for three years. Click here to download the consignment note and see guidance on how to fill it in: See the full government guidance on disposing of hazardous waste here: Increased use of hand sanitizers and disinfectants is something that we can help you with. Our team have a good deal of experience in supporting businesses in this area and can help you to find the best storage solutions to meet regulations and business needs. Please feel free to call our team on 01726 74264 or email us at and our team will be happy to offer guidance and advice.


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