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IPA vs Chematic® 420 Facility Safety, Storage, and disposal

A major concern while using solvents for cleaning relates to facility safety. Special care and precautions need to be taken in terms of the storage and disposal of Isopropanol.

First, let’s discuss product storage.

IPA flamability

Isopropyl alcohol is flammable. Special consideration must be taken to make sure the material is stored in a temperature-controlled environment, as the flash point is relatively low. Also, it has a low threshold for combustion in air. An aqueous detergent, such as Chematic® 420 is not flammable, so these risks do not apply.

Because of the hazards and flammability of Isopropanol, there are numerous regulations that require special storage conditions within your facility. They include, but are not limited to the following:

 IPA Storage-1

Design, Construction, and Capacity of Storage Cabinets for Isopropanol

  • Not more than 60 gallons of Category 1, 2, or 3 flammable liquids, nor more than 120 gallons of Category 4 flammable liquids may be stored in a storage cabinet.

  • Storage cabinets shall be designed and constructed to limit the internal temperature to not more than 325ºF when subjected to a standardized 10‐minute fire test.

  • All joints and seams shall remain tight and the door shall remain securely closed during the fire test.

  • Storage cabinets shall be conspicuously labeled, "Flammable ‐ Keep Fire Away."

  • The bottom, top, door, and sides of metal cabinets shall be at least No. 18 gage sheet metal and double walled with 1½‐inch air space. The door shall be provided with a three‐point lock, and the door sill shall be raised at least 2 inches above the bottom of the cabinet.

Storage Rooms for Large Quantities:


  • To comply with the test specifications included in NFPA 251‐1969, Standard Methods of Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials Openings to other rooms or buildings shall be provided with non‐combustible liquid-tight raised sills or ramps at least 4 inches in height, or the floor in the storage area shall be at least 4 inches below the surrounding floor.

  • Openings shall be provided with approved self‐closing fire doors.

  • The room shall be liquid‐tight where the walls join the floor.

  • A permissible alternative to the sill or ramp is an open‐grated trench inside of the room which drains to a safe location. This method may be preferred if there is an extensive need to transfer flammable liquids into and out of the room by means of a hand truck


  • Every storage room shall be provided with either a gravity or a mechanical exhaust ventilation system. Such systems shall be designed to provide for a complete change of air within the room at least six times per hour.

  • If a mechanical exhaust system is used, it shall be controlled by a switch located outside of the door. The ventilating equipment and any lighting fixtures shall be operated by the same switch.

  • A pilot light shall be installed adjacent to the switch if Category 1 or 2 flammable liquids, or Category 3 flammable liquids with a flashpoint below 100 °F (37.8 °C), are dispensed within the room. Where gravity ventilation is provided, the fresh air intake, as well as the exhaust outlet from the room, shall be on the exterior of the building in which the room is located.


  • In every storage room, there shall be maintained an aisle at least 3 feet wide.

  • Easy movement within the room is necessary in order to reduce the potential for spilling or damaging the containers and to provide both access for firefighting and a ready escape path for occupants of the room, should a fire occur.

  • Containers over 30 gallons capacity shall not be stacked one upon the other. Such containers are built to DOT specifications and are not required to withstand a drop test greater than 3 feet when full

Fire Control:

Suitable fire control devices, such as a small hose or portable fire extinguishers, shall be available at locations where flammable liquids are stored. At least one portable fire extinguisher having a rating of not less than 12‐B units shall be located:

  • Outside of, but not more than 10 feet from, the door opening into any room used for storage
  • Must be located not less than 10 feet, nor more than 25 feet, from any Category 1, 2, or 3 flammable liquid storage area located outside of a storage room but inside a building

The reason for requiring that portable fire extinguishers be located a distance away from the storage room is that fires involving Category 1, 2, or 3 flammable liquids are likely to escalate rapidly. If the fire is too close to the storage area, it may be impossible to get to it once the fire has started. Open flames and smoking shall not be permitted in flammable liquid storage areas. Materials that react with water shall not be stored in the same room with flammable liquids. Many flammable liquid storage areas are protected by automatic sprinkler or water spray systems and hose lines. Consequently, any storage of water‐reactive material in the storage area creates an unreasonable risk.

A water-based cleaning agent, such as Chematic® 420 does not require any special storage conditions. If possible, it is recommended to store Chematic® 420 at room temperature away from concentrated acids.

Next, let's talk about disposal


EPA hazardous waste regulations stipulate that any aqueous solution with a flashpoint below 140°F is ignitable and therefore requires hazardous waste management. Depending on the regulations of the local municipality, this can require the need to hire a recovery company or send the product off to be incinerated. This regulation is applicable to Isopropanol.

For Chematic® 420, Once diluted, there is typically no need to collect the waste. Also, Chematic® 420 is not considered an aquatic toxin.

These reasons could be why more and more companies are moving away from solvents like Isopropanol as a cleaning agent and replacing them with aqueous detergents. Chematic® 420 gives these companies an option for safe and efficient cleaning.

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