When it comes to fire safety and chemicals in your own home, it is important to know what you should handle with more care and store safely away from potential fire hazards. Understanding all the chemicals found in your home can be lifesaving, especially in the event of a house fire.
House fires are a dangerous tragedy, but if one does unfortunately occur in your very own home, do you know what can help you? What might make the fire worse and how do you prevent it from coming in contact with any sources of fire?
Understanding all the fire hazards and chemicals you have at your disposal will help you make informed decisions when storing them, and so here are all your questions answered regarding hydrogen peroxide and its relationship with fire.
What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide (or H2O2) is a chemical compound that appears either as a colorless liquid or as a very pale blue liquid when in its pure form. It can look a lot like water, but is more viscous (sticky).
It is very likely that you have hydrogen peroxide somewhere in your home right now. It is used in a lot of cleaning products and is often used as a bleaching agent.
If you have any bleach, bathroom cleaners, laundry stain removers, or hair dye in your house - then they most likely contain some level of hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide is also used as an antimicrobial agent. For this reason, you can also find it in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and in antiseptic medicine used to prevent minor cuts and burns from becoming infected.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Flammable?
No, hydrogen peroxide is not flammable - but that does not mean it is not dangerous in the event of a fire.
Flammability is determined by the flash point of a material. The flash point is the temperature at which liquid forms a vapour over its surface in sufficient concentration that it can be ignited and catch fire. Flammable liquids have a flash point of less than 100 degrees fahrenheit.
Hydrogen peroxide is a non-flammable liquid. This means it cannot combust.
However, it is a very strong oxidizer. So while hydrogen peroxide itself cannot catch fire, it can be used to help other materials combust - making it dangerous in the event of a fire.
Hydrogen Peroxide As An Oxidizer
If something is classed as an oxidizer, then it is also a very severe fire hazard. While they are not combustible themselves, oxidizers can intensify combustion and increase the flammable range for chemicals to ignite more easily and spread.
Add an oxidizer to a fuel (such as paper or wood) and they will catch fire more easily and quickly.
This is what makes hydrogen peroxide dangerous and why it should be handled with caution. It is a powerful oxidizer so even though it is not a flammable liquid, it is still very dangerous when involved in a fire.
What To Do In A Fire
If there is ever a fire in your home, the best thing to do is to evacuate the building immediately and call the fire department.
Firefighters are trained professionals when it comes to deal with fire emergencies and will have the necessary knowledge and equipment to extinguish the fire. It is best to leave the fire fighting to them.
However, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you are expected to fight the fire, then you should cover your mouth and nose as poisonous gases are produced during a fire and you should douse the fire completely with water.
Do not use dry chemical extinguishing agents - stick with plain old water. Flood the fire until it is extinguished.
How Can You Reduce Hydrogen Peroxide’s Fire Potential?
Unfortunately, as hydrogen peroxide is so useful, it is very unlikely that you are able to banish it completely from your house. You shouldn’t be afraid of purchasing items that contain hydrogen peroxide, but there are steps you can take to reduce its fire potential.
A good way to reduce the fire potential involving oxidizers like hydrogen peroxide is to make sure they are stored correctly.
Find any chemicals in your house that contain hydrogen peroxide and make sure that they are stored away from heat sources like ovens.
Secondly, separate them from combustible materials and any flammable liquids. This way if something does ignite in your house, the fire is less likely to spread with the aid of an oxidizing agent.
Thirdly, it is important to keep any containers that contain hydrogen peroxide covered. If hydrogen peroxide is left uncovered, then there is a higher risk of it reacting with flammable vapors.
This is because the water in an uncovered hydrogen peroxide solution can evaporate and enter the air, thus increasing the likelihood it will meet with flammable materials.
Take these steps as a precautionary measure to reduce the fire risk of any hydrogen peroxide in your home and help keep you and your family safe.
And there you have it - hydrogen peroxide is not flammable, but it is still an incredibly strong oxidizing agent which means that it can help a fire ignite and spread more easily.
It should be handled with caution and moved away from any heat sources and combustible materials to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out in your own home.
Now that you know this, you can put this information to good use by checking through your cabinets and rearranging any bleaches and chemicals you may have. That way, you can help protect yourself and your family from any disasters in the future.