Sink cabinets are not for storing chemicals

What does your sink cabinet look like?

House & Home

Did you notice that I have a new “House & Home” category on my main menu? I want to stay with this category one more day and then we’ll return to an eclectic mix of eclectic posts about eclectic Southern California.

One of the most common problems I find during the course of a home inspection is the leak under the kitchen/bathroom/laundry/wet bar sink. Think about what’s in your sink cabinets: the underside of metal sinks, garbage disposals with metal casings, copper water supply pipes, and plastic or metal drainage pipes. Invariably the sink cabinet looks like this:

Sink cabinets are not for storing chemicals

Sink cabinets are not for storing chemicals

Sink cabinets are not for storing chemicals

Sink cabinets are not for storing chemicals

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Do you see what’s common in those four pictures? I’ll give you a second.

Second’s up.

Chemicals. Paints. Cleaners. Dissolvers. Detergents. Insecticides….

Sink cabinets are the wrong place to store that kind of stuff because, by their very nature, they are corrosive. Both plastic and metal are affected by corrosive chemicals, and continued corrosion and rusting of your metal and plastic plumbing, or the sink and garbage disposal, can eventually result in leaks.

Even when you think you have the cap screwed on tight, little corrosive atoms are escaping and attaching to anything and everything in your sink cabinet. And who ever tries to put the tape thingy back on a can of Ajax or Comet? No one. Corrosive, corrosive, corrosive.

Additionally, children could get to them, possibly resulting in injury or death. Who started this bad habit of storing dangerous chemicals in sink cabinets?

And no one ever takes all those chemicals out of the sink cabinets to inspect the cabinet floor and the water and drainage pipes — unless they’re moving, water is pouring out of the sink cabinet onto the floor, or a young child is in the hospital after gaining access to the chemicals.

It’s easy to check your sink plumbing on a daily basis with little effort on your part. Here’s how: Store unopened bottles and cans, and dry materials such as towels, bathroom tissue, and boxes, in sink cabinets, like this:

Good sink cabinet storage

Good sink cabinet storage

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Notice that those two pictures have dry materials in the sink cabinets. If normally dry materials are wet when you remove them from under the sink, you know that you have a leak of some type. Remove whatever is in the sink cabinet and check for leaks in the water pipes and drain pipes, and check for deteriorated caulking/grouting around the sink and countertop. Have a licensed plumber repair or replace any plumbing components, and have the deteriorated caulking/grouting repaired.

The best places to store household cleaning chemicals are in cabinets that are out of the reach of young children in the garage or at an exterior location. If you have to keep them inside, an upper hallway closet, the cabinet above the microwave oven, or the cabinet above the refrigerator make good interior locations. If it means that you have to go buy a step ladder to get the chemicals each time you need them, I think that small inconvenience is far better than the “inconvenience” of going to a funeral for a dead child or visiting an injured child in the hospital for several days. I hope you agree.

Regardless of where you store the chemicals, make sure the container cover is tightly closed and secured so that it doesn’t spill if you accidentally knock it over or drop it.

If you keep chemicals in lower cabinets or drawers — and you shouldn’t — make sure those cabinets and drawers have child-proof latches on them if you have any children — yours, other family, friends, or co-workers — or pets in the house at any time.

One last advantage of keeping dry materials, especially towels, in the sink cabinets is that one day you might open the cabinet door and find something like this:

Happy cat!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

18 thoughts on “What does your sink cabinet look like?

  1. utesmile

    Glad I am an organised person. Mine does NOT look like this. I have boxes with new cloths there and 1 cleaner and 1 washing up liquid. I don’t believe in a cleaner for everything, so I use one for all or use my Vinegar water, which is great for cleaning too. I love my kithcen too much as to have such a mess under the sink. 🙂

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  2. janellenferrigan

    White vinegar, baking soda and eco-friendly dish soap. That’s what we have in our cabinet and we use those ingredients for most of our cleaning. I know vinegar and dish soap aren’t dry items, but trust me it looks better/safer than “cleaning” solutions and products.
    Good post:)

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  3. Boomdeeadda

    Great info! Mine actually is very organized on a giant plastic turning wheel so what I need is always in front just by turning the wheel. I think you could also use one of those things you put garden pots on with wheels.

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  4. Susan T's Kitchen

    My cabinet has very few items and I Line the bottom with old paper maps so if there is a leak I will see it. Plus it looks pretty and reminds me of my travels. I noticed the one cabinet has TP just thrown in there with the paint. Weird.

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  5. tchistorygal

    Great advice. You are right, of course, and I have to admit that my under the sink isn’t the perfect place for you to inspect, but I can and will reform, and change my habits! Will I find Zoe under my sink if I do?

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