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Aerosol Safety in the Home

Aerosols have been used and stored safely in homes for over 60 years and most aerosol accidents are caused by not following the instructions on the product label or deliberately mis-using the product.


Many aerosols contain gases and liquids that may be flammable near a fire or other ignition source. They also contain contents under pressure. This pressure increases with heat and may cause the can to burst and injure you and others.

So remember to always carefully read and follow the label instructions and only use aerosols for their intended purpose.

It is important to remember:

  • Aerosols must be kept well away from heat, sunshine, window sills, heaters, ovens, barbeques and any ignition source (e.g. candles or pilot lights).
  • Store all aerosols out of reach of children and pets.
  • Never keep aerosols in cars - including the glovebox - because temperatures can rise quickly even on cool or overcast days.
  • Do not pierce or burn aerosols, even when empty, as they may explode and seriously injure you and others. For recycling options for your empty aerosols see (for cans with product still inside, use your local council 'household hazardous waste' collection).
  • Do not spray on or near a naked flame, fire or source of ignition.
  • Use only in a well ventilated space.
  • Do not smoke when using an aerosol or immediately afterwards.
  • Avoid breathing in the product as you spray - ensure that you use in a well-ventilated area, especially if you or others in your household/workplace have asthma or suffer allergies to sprays or fragrances that can trigger asthma attacks.
  • Store in a cool, dry area. Damp conditions should be avoided to prevent corrosion of the can.
  • Do not allow aerosols to freeze in cold weather. 

For more information on an aerosol product, call the marketer’s customer care line, usually provided on the label. In case of accidental ingestion or exposure, call the Poisons Hotline on 13 11 26 (24 hours). [For New Zealand call 0800 764 766]. In case of a life-threatening emergency, always dial 000.


Aerosols and Volatile Substance Misuse (VSM)

NEVER deliberately inhale aerosols. Even doing this just once can kill you and repeated abuse can cause severe and irreversible damage to your heart, lungs, brain, nervous system and other organs!

For information and advice see   - In case of a life-threatening emergency, always dial 000 .

Cockroach Foggers ('Bug Bombs')

These products are a popular method of treating any large scale or persistent infestation but can be dangerous if you do not carefully follow the safety advice on the product packaging and can.

To minimise the chance of fire or explosion, including the risk of serious injury, ensure that you read the product label carefully and follow all the instructions supplied by the manufacturer.  These include only using the recommended number of cans for the size of the room and eliminating all ignition sources prior to and during use.

To eliminate ignition sources, switch off the electricity at the mains and turn off gas pilot lights, such as pilot lights for stoves and hot water systems. If you cannot switch the electricity off at the mains, then switch off all power points, lights and electrical devices in the building at the wall switch.  This includes fridges and other electrical devices that turn themselves on and off during normal operation.

You also need to ensure that there is no smoking in the vicinity of the area in which the “Bug Bomb” is to be used.  

If you live in a multiple unit building, inform your neighbours and the building manager that you will be using “Bug Bombs” in your unit.  These buildings sometimes share common ventilation systems, or may have cracks and crevices between units. Make sure you let your neighbours know when you are using any “Bug Bombs,” and ask them to turn off any ignition sources if the units share common ventilation.

Before turning the electricity and pilot lights back on, ensure that the room has been fully ventilated by opening the windows and doors for the minimum time detailed on the product label.