Self Storage Blog

Symbols around the DIY store explained

We’ve all been in the position when you’re wandering around a DIY store, and you see various signs and symbols, and you’re expected to know what they mean. However, to the everyday DIY-er, these symbols might not be instantly obvious, and it’s always helpful to know how the products may harm you and what precautions you should take.

Can you guess which symbols match the explanations below? Tweet us @bigyellowss to let us know how many you got right (refer to answers at the bottom of the post)















A chemical labelled ‘oxidising’ doesn’t burn itself, however they provide oxygen for flammable substances to burn. Alongside the usual precaution of wearing eye protection, you should take extra care to keep it away from flammable substances, which includes clothing.

Harmful to the environment
These chemicals may have an immediate or delayed danger to the environment, such as killing aquatic species. Products labelled with this, such as white spirits, should not be flushed down a sink or toilet, or put into the ground. The safest way to dispose of these would be in bins that allow toxic and dangerous substances.

Although not a common symbol to see in the household, it’s worth knowing what explosive means in case you do come across it. An explosive substance has a large amount of potential energy of heat, light, sound and power to exert. These substances should be handled with the utmost care, and should be kept away from heat, fire and other forms of shock as they can combust very easily.

This symbol means that the substance is corrosive, so it will destroy and damage other substances that it comes into contact with. Dependent on the chemical, it could damage a range of materials, including metal, plastic and fabrics, but the main one you have to watch out for is the effect on the skin. Corrosives can cause chemical burns if it comes into contact, so be sure to wear the correct safety equipment if handling a corrosive substance.

People using chemicals labelled toxic should take extra care. The product can cause death if it’s swallowed, breathed in or absorbed by the skin. Eye protection should be worn, as well as gloves, and maybe even a mask over your mouth and nose if fumes will occur.

Harmful / Irritant
If a chemical is harmful or an irritant, it may cause a temporary inflammation to your skin, eyes, or inside your body. Although not as severe as corrosive, extra care should be taken when handling these products. Eye protection should be worn, and you should wash any spills off your skin immediately.

Substances labelled flammable can ignite more easily than other materials, and will burn vigorously when ignited. Extra care should be taken if you’re handling these products near fire or heat to avoid any accidental fires, as they can ignite almost instantly

A = Corrosive, B = Harmful / Irritant, C = Oxidising, D = Toxic, E = Harmful to the environment, F= Flammable, G = Explosive