Is Bleach safe to use? You will love Bleach!

Is bleach dangerous to use?
Is bleach safe?
Is bleach effective against germs?
Is bleach effective against COVID-19?

These are the questions that I get more often than any other when talking about cleaning products. I decided to create this post to dive deeper than ever into bleach (which is not recommended if you want to stay alive).

What is Bleach?

Bleach is a chemical substance used for whitening or removing colour from textiles, paper, and other materials. It is typically made from water and sodium hypochlorite and can remove stains, brighten colours, and disinfect surfaces. Many different types of bleach are available, including liquid bleach, powder bleach, and bleach pens, and they are often used in various household and industrial applications.

History of Bleach

Bleach has a long and varied history dating back thousands of years. Early forms of bleach were made from natural substances such as sunlight, lye, and wood ash and were used to whiten and disinfect various materials.

In the 19th century, the first synthetic bleaching agent, chlorine, was discovered and began to be used to produce bleach. This was followed by the discovery of other artificial bleaching agents, such as hydrogen peroxide and sodium hypochlorite, which are still widely used today.

The bleaching process was first described during the 17th century as a whitening process that could take six months. Chlorine-based bleach, on the other hand, was invented in the late 18th century and reduced the bleaching process from months to hours. Claude Berthollet discovered sodium hypochlorite and mixed it with chlorine to create the first commercial bleach named Eau de Javel (Javel Water).

In 1820, a chemist named Antoine Germain Labarraque discovered bleach’s disinfecting and deodorizing characteristics and popularised its use as a cleaning product.

Over the years, bleach has been used for various purposes, including cleaning and whitening clothes, sterilizing medical instruments, and disinfecting public swimming pools. It has also been used as a hair-lightening agent, a tooth whitener, and a bleaching agent for wood and other materials.

How Does Bleach Kill Germs?

Bleach is a powerful disinfectant that kills various germs, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The active ingredient in bleach, sodium hypochlorite, is a potent oxidizing agent that destroys microorganisms’ proteins and cell membranes, making it difficult for them to survive.

When mixed with water, bleach forms a solution that can be applied to surfaces or used to soak objects. As the bleach comes into contact with germs, it destroys their outer cell walls and disrupts their internal structures, killing them.

Does Bleach Kill COVID-19?

Bleach can effectively kill the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) on surfaces and inanimate objects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using a bleach solution to disinfect high-touch surfaces to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

To make a bleach solution for disinfecting surfaces, the CDC recommends mixing five tablespoons (1/3 cup) of household bleach per gallon of water or four teaspoons of household bleach per quart of water. The solution should be left on the surface for at least 1 minute before being wiped or rinsed.

It’s important to note that bleach should not be used on the skin or ingested. It can be harmful if it comes into contact with the skin or eyes or is consumed. It is also essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use caution when handling bleach.

How to use Bleach correctly?

When using bleach, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use caution to avoid accidents or injuries. Here are some general guidelines for using bleach safely:

  1. Wear protective gear: When using bleach, it is essential to wear gloves, goggles, and a face mask to protect your skin and eyes from accidental splashes or spills.

  2. Dilute the bleach: Bleach should always be diluted with water before use. The recommended ratio is five tablespoons (1/3 cup) of bleach per gallon or four teaspoons of bleach per quart of water.

  3. Use in a well-ventilated area: Bleach gives off fumes that can be harmful if inhaled, so it is essential to use it in a well-ventilated area or outdoors.

  4. Store bleach safely: Bleach should be stored in a cool, dry place out of reach of children and pets. It should be kept in its original container with the label intact, and the container should be tightly sealed when not in use.

  5. Never mix bleach with other chemicals: Mixing bleach with other chemicals, especially ammonia or acids, can produce dangerous fumes. It is important never to mix bleach with other cleaning products or chemicals.

  6. Dispose of bleach properly: Do not pour bleach down the drain or flush it down the toilet. Instead, dispose of it in a plastic container with a lid, and place it in the trash.

By following these guidelines, you can use bleach safely and effectively to clean and disinfect surfaces in your home.

What Are The Hazards Of Bleach?

  • Bleach should never be mixed with vinegar or other acids. This will create highly toxic chlorine gas and cause severe burns internally and externally and death in long exposure cases.
  • Mixing bleach with ammonia produces toxic chloramine gas, which can burn the lungs and cause death.
  • Mixing bleach with hydrogen peroxide results in an exothermic chemical reaction that releases oxygen and may cause the contents to splatter and cause skin and eye injury.
  • Heating bleach and boiling it may produce chlorates, a strong oxidizer that may lead to a fire or explosion.
  • Avoid touching the eyes. If bleach gets into the eyes, immediately rinse with water for at least 15 minutes, and consult a physician.
  • Do not use bleach with other household detergents because this reduces its effectiveness and can cause dangerous chemical reactions. If necessary, use detergents first, and rinse thoroughly with water before using bleach for disinfection.
  • Undiluted bleach emits toxic gas when exposed to sunlight; therefore, store bleach in a cool, shaded place, out of the reach of children.
  • Bleach can corrode metals and damage painted surfaces.

Keep An Eye on The Expiration Date

  • Sodium hypochlorite decomposes with time. To ensure its effectiveness, purchase recently produced bleach, and avoid over-stocking.
  • If using diluted bleach, prepare the diluted solution fresh daily. Label and date it, and discard unused mixtures 24 hours after preparation.
  • Organic materials inactivate bleach; clean surfaces to clear organic materials before disinfection with bleach.
  • Keep diluted bleach covered and protected from sunlight, and if possible, in a dark container and out of the reach of children.

Is Bleach Safe To Use?

Since its conception, bleach has been a revolutionary chemical. The chemical is part of our daily lives, from whitening fabrics to disinfecting agents. It is entirely safe to use if you follow standard precautions. It does not leave any harmful residues, and it is one of the most effective disinfecting chemicals on the market.

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