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How to Successfully Move Dangerous Goods

posted: 30/08/2021

Many preparations need to be made when you are organising a house move. One thing to think about is dangerous goods and which of your belongings fall in that category. You may be surprised to find out that most of your household cleaners and seemingly harmless garden enhancers are actually hazardous, and you may not be able to transport them. To save you a lot of headaches, our London movers have created this informative guide on what constitutes a dangerous household item and how to handle it during a relocation.

1. What Constitutes as Dangerous Goods?

Anything flammable, toxic, radioactive, corrosive, and exploding can be perceived as dangerous goods. The idea is that by transporting such items, you can indirectly or directly endanger the environment and/or people’s lives. Just imagine the impact the explosion of one aerosol can have at the back of a moving truck filled with cardboard boxes. Altho grim, this scenario is quite plausible, and because of that, the UK government has installed strict rules and regulations concerning the transportation of potentially hazardous items.

1.1 Classification of Dangerous Goods

Dangerous goods have a special classification. Depending on their UN class, they can be prohibited from transportation by air or land.


UN class Dangerous Goods
2Gases (Flammable, Non-flammable, Toxic or Non-toxic)
3Flammable liquid
4Flammable solids(Spontaneously combustible substance, Substance which emits flammable gas in contact with water)
5Oxidizers and organic peroxides/td>
6Toxic and infectious substances
7Radioactive material
8Corrosive substances
9Miscellaneous dangerous substances

The UN class shows the level of danger each group of goods holds. So when you pack and transport some of these items, especially if it’s an international relocation, you must label every item and describe its proper UN classification.

1.2 What Dangerous Goods Lurk in Your Home

The average person doesn’t have uranium or TNT in their garage, so the official classification from the previous point can sound a little confusing. Below, you can see the most common items viewed as “dangerous goods” that can be hard to include in your house moving process.

Household hazardous goods

These materials are not so dangerous if used in a controlled environment. However, the back of the moving truck or the loading dock of an aircraft hardly constitutes that. Aerosol cans tend to explode on impact, and even if a small quantity of bleach and ammonia gets mixed, the situation can become life-threatening. That is why there are some important rules when packing and transporting hazardous materials.

2. What Rules to Follow When Moving

If you are determined on moving with your dangerous items, you need to follow some rules depending on where you are relocating.

  • Find a reputable and trustworthy moving provider with extensive experience in both international and domestic relocations. Choose a removals company from a big city like London, as opposed to a local one-man mover. The larger the agency, the more professional and adequate help you will receive.
  • If you are planning to go overseas, all of the items listed above are strictly prohibited from transportation in a shipment container. The premise is simple: you can unintentionally start a fire and create a potentially life-threatening situation if you decide to hide explosives on board. To avoid that sort of complication, speak with your moving agent and discuss the situation. Firearms, for example, can travel with you if you have the necessary permits and follow the laws laid out by the government of the country to which you are relocating. Always, always be honest and declare everything, as it can result in heavy fees at best.
  • If you are relocating domestically, say from London to Manchester, some of the goods listed in the table above can be safely transported with a moving truck or a van. But again, be honest with your removals company and provide them with a list containing all the dangerous items you have packed yourself.
  • If you are moving the items by yourself, prepare an emergency kit. Include both first aid materials like bandages and safety equipment – gloves, goggles, etc.
  • If a spill occurs during transportation and you are unsure where it came from, do not attempt to clean it without assistance.
  • If you are involved in a mild road incident during the relocation, immediately remove yourself and the other passengers from the vehicle and keep your distance from it. Call the emergency lines and explain what happened and what are you transporting. Wait for the specialised help to arrive and assess the situation.

As you can see, relocating with dangerous goods is no joke, as small mistakes can lead to big problems.

3. How to Pack and Prepare Dangerous Goods When House Moving?

Leave your hazardous goods for last when packing, and better, ask a professional from your removals company to do it for you. There are some specifics and requirements that must be met when preparing the items for transportation.

  • rules of packing dangerous goodsKeep all dangerous materials in their original bottles and containers.
  • If you don’t have the original packaging or it is damaged, the item needs to be put in a sturdy, waterproof container. It must be protected from impacts, leakage, and the elements – sun heat, rain, etc.
  • Avoid using cardboard boxes, as they are not suitable for transporting dangerous goods. Instead, purchase or rent crates. Most London companies offer this option.
  • Use non-flammable and water-resistant padding to secure the item.
  • Pack each material separately.
  • Label the crate using the UN class of the material. The moving specialist can help you with that. You can also colour-code your items. For instance, red is for flammable liquids, and yellow is for toxic substances.

In addition, there are some safety rules you must follow if you have decided to pack your dangerous goods by yourself.

  • Remove all children and pets from the premises.
  • If the item packaging is ripped open, use protective gloves and goggles, for example, when handling a bag of pesticide or herbicide.

Overall packing is not an easy job, so our best advice is to leave this part for the professionals. They will know what packing materials to use and how to secure your goods in their crates.

4. What to Do with the Dangerous Goods You Can’t Take with You?

We strongly advise you to not throw them directly in the trash or drain and not leave them just lying around in your vacant house. There are a couple of simple but effective ways you can go about this situation:

  • Use what you can. If it’s cleaning products, you can either do a good last sweep of the home or leave it for the cleaning company that is going to come.
  • Give them away. Everybody needs cleaners, so gift them to your neighbours. Do the same with the garden solvents. Fertilisers or pool cleaners are not that expensive, and you can buy them after the house moving is over.
  • Sell them. Do you have two cans of unopened paint? Great, post an ad online or at your local community centre. Do a yard sale. You can make some money and get rid of any potential hazards during your house relocation.
  • Donate them. There are many parks and gardens in London, so talk with the maintenance people and leave them with your bags of pesticides and herbicides.
  • Throw them in a designated spot. If you can’t do all of the above, there is no choice but to throw everything away. However, there are specialised places for that, ask a certified rubbish disposal company to help you with that task.

We hope we made your moving process a little easier. Did you ever have to move with dangerous goods? Tell us your story in the comment section below. What difficulties did you have to overcome to settle in your new home?

Stephanie Cooper

Stephanie is a content marketing specialist for Top Removals for the past several years. She has extensive experience working with moving companies and knows her audience. Stephanie creates engaging and useful content helping the customers of Top Removals with their struggles and providing them with the most accurate insight.

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