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The Many Uses Of Bleach

The chemicals we know today as bleach have been known to scientists since the 1700s. The most common chemical in the bleach compounds we use today are chlorine, oxygen, carbon and boron. These chemical compounds create an effect called oxidation to create their cleaning effect. This oxidizing effect breaks down the chemical bonds that cause molecules to reflect light, giving bleach its best know effect to whiten surfaces or clothing. In its capacity as a disinfectant, bleach works on a number of levels to kill microbes. In some cases the acidity of bleach will burn away the outer membrane of a microbe, killing it. In others, it forces a reactionary response in the microbes causing them to clump together and eventually die off.

Because of bleach's versatility as a cleaning agent, it has become an integral part of most cleaning regimens. Anyone who has ever cleaned a kitchen, commercial or residential, will have used it at some point. A solution of bleach and water has dozens of uses around the kitchen. Cutting boards should be scrubbed with a brush in a bleach solution to ensure no cross contamination between uses. Silverware, especially in restaurants where lots of people will end up using the same silverware, should also be soaked in bleach to kill off the microbes that may still be clinging to the surface even after being soaped and rinsed.

The bathroom is one of the most germ infested rooms in any building, and can benefit from regular cleaning with bleach. Any porcelain surfaces should be cleaned with bleach as bacteria are liable to quickly reproduce in the water that frequently pools there. You can also effectively clean shower curtains by adding bleach to the wash. Mildewed bath mats can also be tackled by soaking in a bleach and warm water solution.

Where Not To Use Bleach:

While bleach is an effective disinfectant, there are a number of places you should avoid using bleach products. Any product that is highly absorbent, such as surfaces made from organic materials like wood, suede, or leather. Some types of laminate flooring can also be damaged by bleach.

There are also rumors around that imply that mixing cleaning chemicals improves their cleaning power. While this is technically correct, you should never mix bleach with other cleaning agents as it is liable to have deadly results. For example, mixing bleach and vinegar will release chlorine gas, which breaks down mucous membranes like those in your eyes, nose, and throat and can kill you if inhaled. Mixing ammonia and bleach will create a gas that is functionally similar mustard gas, a chemical weapon developed in WWI that is absorbed through the skin and causes serious burns, therefore never ever mix these two chemicals, for safety's sake. However, when used properly, bleach can be an effective tool in your cleaning arsenal.

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