Fun in a Bottle

(Important disclaimer: anything described in this posting is likely to be a bad idea, and may be harmful to your or others’ health or wellbeing; this posting must not be interpreted as encouraging or advocating any activities described herein; the author will not be held liable for any results or side effects of attempts to replicate any activities described.)

It seems the trend these days is to restrict access to anything potentially harmful in the interest of protecting people from themselves. It’s irritating at best — I mean, can’t we just let the most foolish individuals conveniently remove themselves from the gene pool? At worst it’s infuriating, when you want a particular chemical for something, but there’s just no way you’ll legally obtain it. Fortunately, you can still get some fun chemicals at your local supermarket. One such chemical is chlorine-based mould remover. This stuff is great — it can be quite harmful, but it gives you a lot of warning signs before it does any damage. Contact with skin can cause burns, but you’ll get uncomfortably itchy before you reach that point. The fumes can attack the lining of your throat, but you’ll have trouble breathing long before that happens. The fumes can also damage your eyes, but they’ll feel dry and itchy first. In general, if you start to feel uncomfortable, move away and ventilate the area before coming back. It’s really just common sense.

I used quite a lot of this stuff to clean my bathroom in Sydney and stop the mould growing back (warm humid weather encourages mould to appear everywhere). It has some fun side effects. If you don’t use gloves, it can make your hands smell like you’ve been at the swimming pool for days! Getting drops of it on dark-coloured clothing produces weird, kind of pinky splotches (don’t wear clothes that you like the way they are). One time while I was using it, there was a fly on the ceiling; three days later, the fly was still crawling around up there — the fumes had caused it to forget it had the ability to fly. (Does that make it a “walk” or something instead of a fly?).

Of course the bottle has a whole bunch of warnings on the back about what you shouldn’t do with with it. Most of them are bad ideas for obvious reasons — you shouldn’t really need to be told that you want to use gloves, and you should never ever drink the stuff. But some warnings are less obvious. There’s one against mixing it with acids. That’s fair enough — it would result in an exothermic reaction producing hot, toxic, flammable gas that’s likely to spontaneously combust. There’s another warning that I can’t really work out though: you’re told not to mix it with other cleaning products, especially not toilet cleaners.

Can someone please tell me what it is in toilet cleaners that they’re worried about mixing with, and what the potential results are? A guy I know suggested that it’s ammonia they’re worried about, and mixing them may produce nitrogen mustard gas. I can’t see this being correct — the chemistry looks wrong to me. Another person suggested that it may produce an explosive like ammonium perchlorate or something. Can someone please give me a definitive answer?

This entry was posted on Sunday, 12 June, 2011 at 5:19 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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