Pesticide Storage

Pesticides should be stored properly

By: Sandy Feather ©2009
Penn State Extension

Q. I have some liquid home orchard spray left over from last year. Will this pesticide still be good to use this year?

A. As long as your home orchard spray (usually a combination of an insecticide and a fungicide) has been stored where it will not freeze over the winter, it should be good for at least two years, possibly as long as eight. While shelf life information is not generally given on the label of individual products, most pesticide manufacturers do not recommend storing products for more than two years.

The conditions pesticides are stored under are critical in determining how long they last. 

  • Granular pesticides should be stored in a cool, dry area.

  • Do not store liquid products where temperatures will fall below 40°F. 

  • All pesticides should be stored out of direct sunlight.

  • They should always be kept in their original container with the lid tightly closed.


Containers are often designed to minimize exposure to sunlight, which causes many pesticides to degrade quickly. The original container is also important so you know exactly what the product is and so you have the label for mixing and usage directions.  A sad fact is that most pesticide poisonings occur because the product has been poured into another container such as a soda bottle. Storing pesticides in their original container avoids any confusion about what is inside.

The #1 cause of pesticide poisoning in children is oral exposure. Never transfer a pesticide from its original packaging and never put a pesticide in an old beverage container!

Keep pesticides out of the reach of children!

The way pesticides are formulated - that is, whether they are granular, wettable powders, emulsifiable concentrates or flowables (liquids) - also determines how long they last in storage. Emulsifiable concentrates and liquid formulations are more sensitive to freezing than granular products. Many pesticides - even granular ones - are sensitive to humidity and high temperatures. Some pesticides are less stable than others by virtue of the chemical composition of the active ingredients. Others contain stabilizers and emulsifiers that lengthen their shelf life.

Proper Pesticide Storage

It is best for home gardeners to try to purchase only what they will use in a season or two at most. While large containers may seem less expensive than those generally available to home gardeners, the issue of proper storage should not be taken lightly. Green industry professionals are required to meet certain standards for pesticide storage and containment of potential spills. It is not wise for home gardeners to store large of amounts of pesticides. In case of fire, the presence of large amounts of pesticides in someone’s basement makes a dangerous situation worse. Pesticides should always be stored in a locked room or cabinet and out of the reach of children and pets.


Pesticide information

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