Admin Note: Do Not Use Bleach To Clean

I was getting ready for Krissie’s visit (she’s here!) and scrubbed my dirty floors with spray cleaner with bleach.  Then I noticed I was breathing funny and coughing.  I’m still coughing and hacking today because I poisoned myself with bleach fumes.   Awful.  And now, because of that bastard Tom Hiddleston, I have to drive Krissie to Rockaway to catch the bus to NYC so she can see him in a Pinter play.  (I like Hiddleston, Pinter not so much.) Also in Rockaway, the Genius Bar and Panera for bread, although I may just come back home and try to breath.  All of which is to say, I may not be around much until Saturday when Krissie heads home in Labor Day traffic and I should have my lungs back.  Fortunately, you guys are self-sufficient.  Regular posts will go up automatically so no worries.   And now I must go cough some more.

Feel free to use the comments to discuss your own cleaning mishaps so I don’t feel like such an idiot.  (It’s normal to breath in bleach in cleanser!)(No, it’s not.)  

39 thoughts on “Admin Note: Do Not Use Bleach To Clean

  1. Argh! Cleaning is over rated!
    But have a blast with your friend. I don’t like Pinter either.

  2. Oh no, and with your huge stash of white vinegar just sitting there. I hope your recovery is speedy!

    1. Yeah, I’m going back to vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, neither of which will kill me.
      But boy are my floors clean.

  3. For God’s sake, don’t mix bleach with anything basic— like cleaning up doggy puddles, which are high in ammonia. You will get toxic fumes. Ask me how I know. Sometimes cleanliness is overrated.

    Have a wonderful time with Krissie!

  4. I cannot be trusted with bleach in any application. Something always ends up with bleach spots, and I can never remember what it shouldn’t be mixed with to avoid toxic fumes. Not buying any is my way of avoiding toxic fumes.

    And in a related story, my dear mother always said she was part bug – could not use any bug killing products without reacting.

  5. Practically new shirt – check.
    Shake cleaning solution with bleach – check.
    Three applications Rit fuschia dye later – triple check.

    Have yourself a great week!

  6. I occasionally use a cleanser with bleach in my shower. It really does have an awful affect on being able to breathe. I have to be sure to shower before using it and have the window open.

  7. Worst move ever mixing bleach with ammonia. I was going to clean this house come hell or high water when we first moved in. Dumb move. Never mix products.

    Asthma kicked in at 40. Mom, aunt, uncle cousin all got asthma later in life. Crazy.

  8. I keep forgetting to breathe cautiously around any sprayed cleaning product. And any time I use bleach, I’ve got to be wearing my oldest clothes (the ones with the bleach marks).

  9. Exit mould in shower cubicle. I know it’s what it’s meant for, but oh my jolly goodness. You know you’ve done yourself a mischief when everything still tastes like chlorine the next day.

    Enjoy your visit

  10. I ended up buying N95 face masks and wear one while cleaning the shower/bathtub with mold remover. It helps. Have to do it while the shower is dry, so the chemical gets in contact enough, and then I exit and go read a book.

    Doesn’t happen very often, that level of cleaning.

  11. Vinegar. Better than bleach at actually removing mold according to the CDC. And I love the way vinegar smells.

    Also, today is Dog Day. How could I possibly have missed that?

  12. I had a heart/breathing episode last fall because I took a big ol’ lungfull of bleachy steam from the washing machine. I mean, not on purpose, of course. But yeah, it was like a whole week long ordeal. Needless to say, I won’t do THAT again.

  13. OMG – NEVER use bleach! If you’re coughing and hacking and having trouble breathing, think how those poor puppies feel! Please, please, please – Switch to a “friendly” cleaner (Mrs. Meyer, Seventh Generation, Method, etc.).

    1. The puppies weren’t on their hands and knees breathing it in, so they’re all fine. No worries.

  14. That’s why I use eucalyptus oil for cleaning all sorts of things – it clears my nose and throat while I’m cleaning, and I can breathe the next day. And it’s a great disinfectant, and glass and tile cleaner. It might not be as nuclear as bleach, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

  15. All my bleach is Clorox: Clorox Wipes, Clorox Toilet Wands. I have been instructed by the dotter Never Again to Buy the Wipes. That’s what vinegar is for. She uses rags and vinegar and washes the rags for re-use. But she bums wand refills from me, all the time. (whisper) Hypocrite!(end whisper)

    The closest thing I have to white clothing is the
    I’m a card carrying

    t-shirt I’m wearing, which I bought something like 15 years ago from, but don’t bother trying to go there, they’ve ceased and desisted. On the back it says, “The chocoholic twelve step program: never be more than twelve steps from chocolate.” No bleach will ever fade this shirt.

  16. Bleach ADDED to detergent? No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Cleanliness is not all that it’s made out to be, you know. Or should by this stage.

    The additive in vinegar is elbow grease, relatively non-toxic.

    Hope you breath well once more.

  17. Once, I heard that mixing bleach and another cleaner (ammonia?) made mustard gas. I’ve never done it since.

    1. Chlorine cleanser plus ammonia (ammonium hydroxide) yields Chlorine gas. It’s green in sufficient quantities and lethal at relatively small concentrations. In WWI, this is one of the gases used against personnel, more lethal than mustard gas.

    2. I own no ammonia. This was the spray cleaner stuff. I’ll go look at the bottle later but it wasn’t just bleach, it was a cleaner with bleach.
      Evidently a lot of bleach, I’m still wheezing, but MUCH better after a day in bed. Poor Krissie drove herself to the mall because I was so exhausted after a night of coughing. Never again.

      1. I’m willing to bet that the directions (which none of us ever reads) say something like “Use only in a Well Ventilated Space and be careful not to breathe the fumes. If you type in the brand name in google along with MSDS or SDS you’ll get the Safety Data Sheet which will tell you what’s in the bottle, how to use it safely, first aid for exposure, yada-yada-yada.

        At the power plant, we aren’t allowed to bring in chemical cleaners of any type without that MSDS/SDS. We’re forbidden to use bleaches of any kind… except a laundry dry bleach for use on mop heads, which I suspect should fall in the forbidden category.

        I’m So D*mned Glad you are recovering. Please dispose of your chemical warfare spray.

        1. I think it’s probably okay if I’m just doing a counter, although I have vinegar and hydrogen pyroxide for that. But yeah, every time I look at one of the bottles that says, “WITH BLEACH!” I think, “Bleah.”

  18. Poor you! Added to your asthma (and heart issue), the bleach experience must have been very scary.

    This week I bought and donned a fancy mask that made me look like a bug. Then I made a gallon of poison ivy killer with 20% vinegar, Dawn, epsom salts, and lemon juice. Sprayed it carefully on a huge patch of poison ivy. Careful = avoid the asters and ferns; find the leaves and tendrils that are under other plants and zap them; don’t get hurt.

    Being me, I tripped and fell into the whole mess. But I washed clothes and self really, really, really thoroughly afterwards. (I’m very susceptible to poison ivy. Fortunately, I don’t appear to have contracted any spots.) Glad to have the first section of the darn things done. What a bummer that poison ivy is a native plants.

  19. You really didn’t have to go to so much trouble to justify my lack of cleanliness….. I hope you feel better instantly and can enjoy every second of Krissie’s visit from now on.

  20. Well that doesn’t sound good at all. Hope you are back to regular easy breathing soon.

    I don’t have a bleach mishap story, but one time my mom reached for the (yell0w) can of Pledge furniture polish for the dining room table and got the (yellow) can of Easy Off Oven Cleaner instead. The dining room table never did recover, though at least the Easy Off was fumeless.

  21. I’ve been worried – I made Jenny promise to go to the emergency room if she didn’t start to feel better.
    I love Pinter. Or at least I loved this play. Everyone was brilliant, I was less than 5 feet from a living, breathing Hiddleston (2nd row and the actors come to the very edge of the stage).
    And back this morning for our previously interrupted girl time, where we will turn brilliant books into works of unparalleled greatness.

    1. All of this is true.

      I slept the entire day away (with breaks for a chicken sandwich and bathroom) and I’m feeling much better although still wheezing and coughing now and then. That was really much worse than I thought.

      But today will be brilliant. With vinegar.

  22. Glad you’re recovering from the bleach. Bleach does not bother me at all. Vinegar does. There is no vinegar in my house and never will be. I can get a headache that lasts more than a day if someone at the next table in a restaurant has a vinaigrette dressing. (No, I don’t eat out much.) And eucalyptus is in so many things. We use Odoban at work—that is, other people do—and if I get near it I cough, and cough, and cough. And cough.

  23. And this is why my husband started investing in a cleaning service every two weeks: Once a month we would spend a Saturday morning cleaning and I would not be able to breathe for the next two days. House never got completely clean before the asthma would kick in. May have to rethink this approach once we retire and the income is reduced, but definitely worth it now! (And once retired maybe I can break it down to small 1/2 hour bites everyday…while being VERY cautious of the cleaning materials.)

  24. I’m not supposed to use bleach because my house relies on a septic system. Bleach is bad for septic systems. So I use the oxy-stuff instead. Or the substitutes you folks have discussed.

  25. No bleach for me either. I also have a septic system, but I just can’t stand the smell of the stuff. It makes me ill, besides kicking in my asthma. I have to be really careful with cleaning products. I do the all natural ones, but even some of them are too strong. Mostly use baking soda or vinegar or a local product from the farmer’s market.

    I went to help a friend clear and de-clutter her house, and didn’t think about needing to clean surfaces with something. Every store-bought product she owned would have killed me. Going back this weekend and bringing my own stuff with me.

    I’m glad you’re starting to feel better, Jenny. No more bleach for you.

  26. Hope you feel better soon Jenny!

    I’m allergic to chlorine (I pass out at the smell – made for an interesting time during the compulsory swimming lessons in high school before my allergy was diagnosed), so no bleach in this house. We use vinegar against the shower mould – I’m always surprised it works, lol.

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