Toxic Gas!
September 26, 2006 1:26 PM   Subscribe

PoisonousGasFilter: So, I was cleaning my bathroom at school, and I noticed some really nasty blood stains from the previous occupant. I tried using a bleach/water solution to get them out, and when that didn't work, I tried pure bleach. Too much pure bleach. Like enough to make the whole floor smell like the pool. I've already dried it up, and the windows and fans are open and on... but the smell persists, and I feel dizzy. What else can I do to neutralize the smell of bleach? What is the health risk from inhaling this quantity of bleach fumes? Does anyone have suggestions for getting this blood out that don't involve me getting out as well?
posted by fvox13 to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Are the stains on tile? Grout? Drywall?

As for getting rid of the fumes, I think you just have to wait for the fans and windows to do their thing. In the meantime, hang out somewhere without the fumes.
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:40 PM on September 26, 2006

On what surface in the bathroom did you put all this bleach? Did you wipe it up with a wet cloth or mop, or just dry it with a towel or something?

For the fumes, I think all you can do is leave the windows open and the fans going, and get out of your apartment/house/living space for a while to give the fumes some time to dissipate, and to avoid doing damage to your lungs.

For the blood - are you sure it's blood and not hair dye? I've had a hell of a time getting hair dye stains out of my bathtub.
posted by amro at 1:40 PM on September 26, 2006

You have probably mixed bleach with an acidic toilet cleanser. This releases copious amounts of chlorine gas, which is both unpleasant and dangerous. See this PDF "Common Cleaning Products May Be Dangerous When Mixed".

I'm not sure what you should do. The responsible thing would be to report it to your school, but it may be overkill if the gas has dissipated. I don't know enough about the physiological effects of chloring to know if you have made yourself or other people sick.
posted by unSane at 1:41 PM on September 26, 2006

Chlorine gas mostly affects the mucous membranes of the eyes, mouth, nose, and lungs. Extreme or prolonged exposure can cause irreparable damage. Be careful, and air the place out very well.
posted by chrisamiller at 1:48 PM on September 26, 2006

I already reported it to my area director (one step above the RA), and she pretty much told me to do what you're all suggesting. I don't think it's hair dye, since it's traditionally been a male room (although it certainly is a possibility!)

The stains are on the floor. It appears to be small (1" x 1") tiles. The bleach appears to be dry, but part of the floor now has a coating of white. Is this the sodium from the sodium hypochlorite?
posted by fvox13 at 1:49 PM on September 26, 2006

Assuming you're working with a chlorine bleach, the answer is to the health risk part is
Bleach is bad for almost everything.

Which is why they use(d) it on battlefields
and in surgical theaters.

Don't breath the fumes, don't let other people breath the fumes. The fact that you can buy it at the grocery store means that people usually underestimate the effects of this elemental poison.

This is worth calling the maintenance professionals at your school, who should be better equipped to handle this.
posted by dragonsi55 at 2:05 PM on September 26, 2006

Did you just feel dizzy, or did you immediately start choking and coughing? If it's just the former, you probably just used too much bleach. There's a reason you're supposed to dilute it heavily before use.

To the people who suggested that fvox13 created chlorine gas: it's an asphyxiant and will make lungs/throat swell immediately. It's different from getting dizzy from powerful bleach fumes.
posted by rxrfrx at 2:06 PM on September 26, 2006

Also, in the future, should you encounter blood or blood products in your living space at the time of move-in when you are fortunate enough to have professional maintenance staff on hand, don't try to clean it up yourself. There are people there who are trained to deal with exactly these situations.
posted by zachlipton at 2:15 PM on September 26, 2006

People are going way overboard here. All you are talking about is plain old household bleach. If you use the stuff undiluted it can cause irritation to your eyes and nose but it isn't going to kill you. It is the same stuff used to sanitize swimming pools. In fact household bleach is very handy for disinfecting contaminated water for drinking in an emergency. Just put in a few drops per liter and wait an hour.

Mixing bleach with ammonia or acids can release chlorine gas, but all you need to do is leave the room and air it out. In this case it does not appear that the poster mixed anything with the bleach.

By the way, contrary to all the stuff you hear on the internets, chlorine gas is not the same as mustard gas used in warfare. Mustard gas is much more deadly.

All you need to do is mop up the excess bleach, taking care not to splash it in your eyes, and air out the room.
posted by JackFlash at 3:30 PM on September 26, 2006

First of all, I mixed bleach and some sort of amonia once and it nearly killed me. I coughed for like 3 weeks straight and ended up with pneumonia. Be ye not stupid. Don't mix bleach and anything.

And, according to my sister who asked me answer this question, hydrogen peroxide will get rid of most blood stains
posted by jodic at 7:50 PM on September 26, 2006

According to the link posted above:

When bleach is mixed with ammonia, toxic gases called chloramines are produced. Exposure to chloramine gases can cause:
• coughing
• shortness of breath
• chest pain
• wheezing
• nausea
• watery eyes
• irritation to the throat, nose and eyes
• pneumonia and fluid in the lungs
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:56 PM on September 26, 2006

« Older Know any good cleaners in south London?   |   Who has the most icons? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.