I need a chemist
May 12, 2010 12:51 AM   Subscribe

Na2CO3·1.5H2O2 + NaClO + H2O --> ??? Or, what actually happens when you mix bleach and oxyclean?

I'm just curious, and also I wonder about the effects if I clean or wash something with one and then the other, without rinsing well in between. I don't trust my own chemistry abilities, and rudimentary googling isn't helping me find an authoritative answer. Any takers?
posted by sentient to Science & Nature (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Both are oxidizers. The way they clean is to add oxygen molecules to the "dirt" which makes the dirt more water soluble and hence wash out. Their properties together are probably additive (and probably not very "synergistic") at the concentrations found in typical wash water if one follows the dilution instructions on the packages. So there is most likely no particular difference from using them together versus in sequence, with a rinse between, for instance.
posted by telstar at 1:02 AM on May 12, 2010

If there were any ammonia in the mix, or an acid, then it could be a real problem. But I think Telstar is right that this won't be.

(If there were any ammonia, you could get release of chloramine. If there were an acid, you could get chlorine gas.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:32 AM on May 12, 2010

When you put percarbonate into water, doesn't it liberate hydrogen peroxide?

2(Na 2CO3·1.5H2O2) → 2 Na2CO3 + 3 H2O2

(That's from Wikipedia.)

Peroxide safely neutralizes hypochlorite, without releasing chlorine or chloramine gas. I recommend the use of hydrogen peroxide as the safest bleach neutralizer for sulfite-sensitive asthmatic textile artists.

OCl- + H2O2 -> Cl- + H2O + O2

Never expose hypochlorite bleach to strong acids (which lead to the production of deadly chlorine gas) or to ammonia (which leads to the production of deadly chloramine gas). Hypochlorite bleach normally has sodium carbonate added to keep the pH high, which is safer.

(Also see How can I neutralize the damaging effects of chlorine bleach?)
posted by Ery at 4:41 AM on May 12, 2010 [5 favorites]

Hypochlorite bleach normally has sodium carbonate added

Oops, I meant sodium hydroxide. Sorry.
posted by Ery at 4:43 AM on May 12, 2010

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