August 30, 2004

Remind Me Not To Do This Again

I knew not to mix ammonia and bleach, but I didn't know not to mix citrus acid and bleach. I figured citrus acid/ oragne juice, well they put stuff like that in bleach sometimes for the smell.

I will not do that again. I got a whiff of something that I knew wasn't good, rinsed everything down, toossed the rag I was using and opened all the windows and doors.

I'm still here so I figure I didn't do anything to bad, but I would like to know what I created.

Any chemist out there?

As an aside, the sink is clean.

Posted by Rachel Ann at August 30, 2004 06:19 PM

That's one I haven't heard of either. Heck, lemon is like the all purpose cleaning additive. Then again they never actually advertise "lemon" or "citrus", they always say "lemon scented" or "the fresh smell of citrus".

Posted by: Jim at August 30, 2004 06:56 PM

I know; I wonder if it was something else, perhaps something on the rag that didn't wash away? Anyway, I'm still waiting on a chemist in shining armour to happen by and tell me what I did wrong...but I know I did something! The smell knocked me back a step!

Posted by: Rachel Ann at August 30, 2004 09:31 PM

My armor is fairly dull after a long day at work, but anyway: When you mix acid with sodium hypochlorite, which is most likely what's in your bleach, you liberate chlorine gas. Yes, it's deadly, so you were right to stop right there and open the windows.

The citrus smell you get in cleaning products is from the oil of citrus fruits, limonene and so forth. It's not acidic and it smells very nice.

Posted by: Laura at August 31, 2004 01:37 AM

Ah so that's the ticket! Thank you Laura!

Good to know that it was an almost and not a was; as my dh always says---almost doesn't count except in horeshoes and hand grenades.

So, future homemakers or other's as experimental as I am; watch out! Bleach and citrus acid s a no-no.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at August 31, 2004 05:23 AM

Bleach and anything is a no-no. So is ammonia and anything. It will either blow you up or poison you, both of which are bad.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at August 31, 2004 08:33 AM

I know is a bleach is a base and mixing an acid and a base creates a neutral, I guess that is how the chlorine gets released, maybe?

Posted by: renee wirick at September 1, 2004 06:11 PM

Renee, you're pretty close to what happened. I work with acids and bases all the time. In general, both ammonia and bleach are among the most reactive liquids you will ever encounter in the course of daily life. Mixing them with anything but water is generally a Bad Thing unless you have an acid bench designed to handle these reactions and vent the gases released.

Posted by: Jack at September 6, 2004 04:25 PM

Mixing bleach and acids gives off chlorine.

Mixing bleach and ammonia gives off chloramine (NH2Cl).

More concentrated bleach, such as pool chlorinating liquid, mixed with a smaller amount of ammonia may create nitrogen trichloride, a spontaneous explosive.

All are very very nasty business.

Posted by: Chemist at September 30, 2005 12:37 AM
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