Beware of Bathroom Bombs

The other night, or should I say about 2:40 in the morning, my wife and I were woken up by a strange sound that I thought came from upstairs.

Allow me to explain – neither my wife nor I can sleep flat in a bed, so we both sleep in recliners in our downstairs living room (we have a 2 story house). To me, the sound was that of something fallen on the floor in the upstairs bathroom. Still groggy, I quickly searched the entire house and saw nothing, so we tried to get back to sleep, which wasn’t very successful.

After getting up in the morning, my wife saw that one of the large round vanity lights in the bathroom was shattered with glass everywhere. We thought it strange since the lights in the bathroom were turned off and we couldn’t figure out why a turned-off light would explode.

When my wife got home from work, she went into the bathroom to begin cleaning up the broken glass when she discovered there was some kind of liquid splattered all over the vanity, the vanity mirror, and even the ceiling. She was rather confused as to where the liquid came from since these lights are the old filament type with no liquid.

As she began her clean up, she discovered that a can of hairspray had blown its top. The can was sitting on the vanity and when the cap of the can (about an inch in diameter) blew, it went straight up, shattering the light and since the can be pressurized, it spewed the liquid from the can all over the bathroom and I mean all over.

So, what caused the can of hairspray to turn into a bathroom bomb?

My wife has ALWAYS been super-sensitive to cold. For most of her life, she has been tall and very slender. Additionally, she has a very high metabolism which means that she sheds body heat faster than most people which leaves her feeling colder than most people. Since I hate to see her wearing sweaters and jackets in the house, I keep the air conditioning set a bit higher than most houses – 75ºF-76ºF during the day and 76ºF-77ºF during the night. I generally have a fan running that blows where I sit.

These temperatures are downstairs, meaning that the upstairs, where her craft room and the upstairs bathroom is, runs a couple of degrees warmer. Evidently, that warmer upstairs temperature that is more comfortable for my perpetually cold wife was too much for this particular can of hair spray, causing it to blow its cap and release the contents all over the bathroom (at least that is our theory for why the can blow it’s top).

Have you ever noticed that many aerosol cans have warnings about storing above or below certain temperatures? I keep some aerosol cans of spray paint, bug spray, cleaners in the garage that gets a lot hotter than our upstairs bathroom and I’ve never had an issue with any of them exploding, but evidently, hair spray cans are not built and sealed as well as the cans kept in my garage which gets much hotter than the upstairs bathroom. I strongly suspect that the hairspray can be defective and the warmer temps upstairs were enough to cause the pressure inside to build to the point of blowing.

My warning is not to keep your house as warm as we do and if you do, make sure any cans of hair spray are kept someplace cooler so you don’t end up with a huge mess from a bathroom bomb. After all, you never know how many other defective hairspray cans were made and sold and store shelves and if you have one of them.

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