Be careful of ‘bottle bombs’ when cleaning up the roadside

Posted By on July 9, 2011

My neighbor send me a link and an email (below) since we spend a few minutes each week cleaning up the ditch and roadside. The first 25 feet along the back of our property is usually scattered with cans, bottles, litter, etc and needs to be picked up before mowing.

bottlesalongroadKids are putting Drain-o, tin foil, and a little water in soda bottles and capping it up – leaving it on lawns.  When you go to pick up the trash and the bottle is shaken just a little – in about 30 seconds or less it builds up a gas and explodes with enough force to remove some of your extremities.  The liquid that comes out is boiling hot as well.

Don’t pick up any plastic bottles that may be lying in your yards or in the gutter, etc. Pay attention to this.  A plastic bottle with a cap. A little Draino.  A little water.  A small piece of foil.  Disturb it by moving it; and BOOM!!  No fingers left and other serious effects to your face, eyes, etc.

People are finding these "bombs" in mail boxes and in their yards, just waiting for you to pick it up intending to put it in the trash.  But, you’ll never make it!!! It takes about 30 seconds to blow after you move the thing.

At first I thought, “oh, this sounds like an urban legend,” but upon checking Snopes.com there is more to it.(see video from Indiana below regarding this danger. It is not to be taken lightly, although thankfully is still a pretty rare occurrence.)


Comments

  • We made one of these in high school out in our trees.  It didn’t quite explode but definitely ruptured the bottle.  Might have been old “The Works” cleaner we used.

    • Typical guy thing to do. My wife doesn’t understand why “boys” are always trying to make things that explode? I don’t know, but it is definitely a male thing. (I did the same kind of thing well into my later teens … gulp)

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.