Bleach can be found in pretty much any home, and it’s many people’s cleaning product of choice when it comes to removing stains and cutting through grease and mildew.
Bleach is also commonly used in many all-purpose cleaners, making it an everyday product. But what’s actually in bleach? And are these chemicals flammable, or even explosive? Let’s find out.
Is bleach flammable?
No. On its own, bleach is not flammable. As mentioned above, bleach is essentially just chlorine and water.
Chlorine is a gas at room temperature. It is yellow-green in color and has a harsh, unpleasant odor that is similar to bleach. Although chlorine does not easily catch fire, it can interact with other common substances to generate explosive compounds.
Bleach should be kept separate from other chemicals in the home as a safety precaution since it can react with other common substances.
Other safety problems with bleach include damage to the body caused by inhalation, skin contact, and ingestion. Inhalation can irritate or harm the respiratory system.
It is recommended that bleach should only be used in a well-ventilated space. Contact with the skin might result in irritation and chemical burns.
The gastrointestinal tract may also be harmed if the bleach is consumed. Bleach should be kept away from children and animals due to the hazards mentioned above.
Is it safe to use bleach?
When it comes to cleaning your home with bleach, many of us ask if this chemical disinfectant is truly safe to use, especially around children and pets.
The toxicity of bleach varies depending on where it is used. Bleach can cause substantial eye irritation as well as mouth and throat irritation. When bleach is used with other home cleaners, it poses a particularly hazardous threat.
Ammonia is a chemical that is proven to be extremely dangerous when combined with bleach in homes, and it is categorized as a mixture that should never be used together.
There are various varieties of bleach available for consumer use, including chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach, and bleaching powder. The most commonly used bleach, however, is chlorine bleach, which typically contains sodium hypochlorite as a primary component in its formulation.
Sodium hypochlorite is the active ingredient in bleach that allows it to bleach, remove stains, and disinfect fabrics and surfaces. The sodium hypochlorite in bleach is a reactive chemical oxidizer that degrades rapidly until it degrades entirely.
Is bleach explosive?
No. Bleach isn’t explosive by itself. However, when it’s mixed with other chemicals, it can pose a whole host of risks.
Chlorine reacts explosively or forms explosive compounds with many common substances including, acetylene, ether, turpentine, ammonia, fuel gas, hydrogen, fluorine, and finely divided metals.
Since household bleach is so low in concentration, it cannot produce enough chlorine as gas to support combustion. However, concentrated chlorine, such as swimming pool dry chlorine powder, might spontaneously ignite if there are enough volatile organics in the air.
Some oven cleaners, hydrogen peroxide, and pesticides also react with bleach. Pool chemicals that contain calcium hypochlorite or sodium hypochlorite should not be used with other cleaning products.
The dangers of bleach
Most people are aware that bleach is extremely harmful if swallowed and would certainly discourage their children from doing so. What most people do not understand is that bleach can be harmful to children who just live in a home where it is frequently used to clean.
When used as a cleaning agent, bleach adheres to surfaces and emits fumes. According to recent research, children who have been exposed to bleach in their homes are more likely to develop respiratory illnesses.
Furthermore, some studies have connected the use of bleach in the home to an increased prevalence of asthma and allergies.
The more you use chlorine bleach, the more you put yourself and your family at risk due to its negative effects on the body. Firstly, breathing bleach fumes harms your lungs and organs.
After inadvertently breathing the vapors, several people have reported stinging in their nose and eyes, coughing, and lightheadedness, all of which are signs of the corrosive properties of the chemical.
Bleach can have far-reaching consequences that extend far beyond your own house. Chlorine-based bleach is frequently found in industrial procedures and is massively emitted into the environment.
The consequences of this pollution have prompted many to advocate for bleach restrictions in order to safeguard both health and the environment.
Manufacturers frequently dump bleach-contaminated trash into bodies of water. Once in the water, bleach combines with other chemicals to produce dioxins, among other things. Dioxins are recognized to be extremely toxic poisons with major health consequences. Bleach also endangers wildlife; its metabolites have been linked to cancer in scientific animal experiments.
Product labels usually have a toll-free telephone number that you can call to learn more about the product you have purchased. Most manufacturers also have websites with product information.
If you or someone you know has been exposed to a chemical mixture and is experiencing symptoms of illness, contact a health care provider or emergency response service (911).
Are there any alternatives to using bleach?
Yes. Fortunately, several alternative cleaning products are chlorine-free and can clean your home just as well as bleach can.
Rubbing alcohol, for example, can be quite efficient for cleaning the plastic surfaces of electronics. Hydrogen peroxide is a harmless chemical that can be used to disinfect surfaces in the home. Unlike bleach, hydrogen peroxide is not toxic to food.
Finally, soap and warm water will clean almost anything in your home while posing no health dangers. Scrubbing with antibacterial soap kills bacteria in the same way that stronger chemicals do. Using bleach to clean your home endangers you, your children, and your pets.
Before using bleach-based products in your home, make sure you understand the risks. Know when and how to dilute the product correctly (e.g., always pour the concentrate/acid into the water, never the other way around).
Bleach can disinfect which means it is effective at killing most bacteria, fungus, and viruses. It is also used to whiten fabric and other items. But you may discover that using an alternative cleans your home just as well without posing a hazard.
Bleach is an umbrella term that covers a whole range of different chemicals that are used throughout the home, usually to remove stains from fabric.
While the most common household bleach (chlorine bleach) isn’t flammable, nor explosive, because of its oxidizing properties, it has the ability to intensify a fire or even create an explosion.