The Dangers Of Household Bleach

The Dangers Of Household Bleach

Bleach is an almost universal household cleaning product that we typically tuck away only for use when we absolutely need it. It is a powerful chemical that is capable of providing very thoroughly cleaning in many cases. This makes it a victim of its own success simply because its potency is exactly what makes it dangerous. We all know to be careful with it, but not everyone knows the full extent of the potential dangers of bleach even if it gets used properly. We’re largely used to warnings to store it safely so that children don’t somehow end up exposed or drinking it. Bleach is dangerous regardless and that’s why some people have pushed to move beyond using it as a common cleaning agent. So far they haven’t made much headway against the presence of bleach. Let’s review what you need to be aware of when you decide that something needs a thorough enough cleaning to merit bleach.

Wear Gloves
A particularly infamous aspect of bleach is that it can actually irritate or burn the skin on contact depending on the particular concentrations of compound involved. Most of the time it is a lasting irritant that will cause the skin to be inflamed for some time after exposure. The irritation is enough on its own, but the potential for a chemical burn makes it even more important to be careful. Chemical burns are painful, ugly, and leave truly lasting marks on the skin even if they aren’t terribly severe. This is what makes it highly advisable to only work with bleach while you’re wearing gloves. They’ll provide a layer of protection from the compound and help make it harder for it to actually hurt you. If you do get some on your skin, immediately wash it off, regardless of concentration, and then wash your hands again afterwards to ensure there is no bleach left to sit on your skin.

Keep The Windows Open
Ventilation is another important consideration when working with bleach. The fumes that come off of bleach are quite potent and prone to irritating the lungs all on their own. In general, you’ll want to ensure any fans in the room are on and that the air is circulating effectively anytime you intend to work with bleach. It will help safeguard against the most common respiratory issues that come from utilizing bleach. However, you also need to ensure that you only ever use bleach with itself. This is because bleach is quite reactive and it can release truly toxic fumes when combined with particular chemicals found in other cleaning products. This doesn’t mean you can’t use one and then the other, but you do need to make sure that the area is thoroughly rinsed clean of any remaining compound either before or after using the bleach. Fumes released from these combinations have been known to cause permanent damage to people’s lungs and even cause chest pains or suffocation without proper ventilation.

Woman with bleach
Household Chemistry
All the potential dangers make bleach rightfully intimidating, but you don’t need to give it up if you trust it. The key is using the recommendations above to help minimize the potential dangers of working with it. You can take this one step further though if you’re willing to add a little bit of effort to keeping you and your household safe though. All you really need to do is add water to the bleach. Mix it in to help dilute the compound. This will reduce the overall potency of the bleach depending on the amount of water that you mix in, but it will reduce the chances for a chemical burn and the amount of fumes that the bleach gives off proportionally. Adding a little water is a very simple option for anyone who needs the power, but is afraid of the potential results of misuse. Additionally, you can always hunt down one of the available bleach alternatives on the market to entirely eliminate these issues.

Bleach is intimidating even if you’re used to working with it. Such a potent chemical can be used, but it does deserve respect for its potential dangers. Taking steps to help minimize or mitigate potential dangers is just one of those things anyone using bleach needs to be prepared for before they begin. Those steps will ensure you can have your bleach and use it too though.

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