DO NOT MIX ALCOHOL & BLEACH

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DO NOT MIX ALCOHOL & BLEACH

Postby WIski » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:03 am

I was reading on another thread that this was a dangerous thing to do. I had never heard of this before and since the bleach bottle is a standard stock item in my shop and frequently used to clean stuff up I decided to do a little research. I was shocked at what I found and I think all here should be aware of the dangers of mixing alcohol and bleach.

Ordinary household bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, which reacts with ethanol or isopropyl alcohol to produce chloroform (CHCl3), hydrochloric acid (HCl), and other compounds, such as chloroacetone or dichloroacetone.


Danger of Chloroform

Chloroform is a dangerous chemical that irritates the eyes, respiratory system, and skin. It can damage the nervous system, eyes, lungs, skin, liver, kidneys, and other organs and may cause cancer. The chemical is readily absorbed into the body through the intact skin or from inhalation or ingestion. If you suspect exposure to chloroform, remove yourself from the area and seek medical attention. It is important that you leave a chloroform-contaminated area, even if you're not sure that's what you have because chloroform is a potent anesthetic and can knock you out! It is also a cause of what is called "sudden sniffer's death", which is a fatal cardiac arrhythmia some people suffer upon exposure.

Over time, chloroform in the presence of oxygen (as in air) naturally degrades to produce phosgene, dichloromethane, carbon monoxide, formyl chloride, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen chloride. The process in the air takes from 55 days to about two years, but you definitely don't to mess with these molecules.

Phosgene is a notorious chemical agent. It was responsible for around 85% of the deaths due to chemical weapons in World War I. So, not only is the chloroform produced by the mixture dangerous but if you store it, you get even worse gases.

Disposing of a Bleach and Alcohol Mixture

If you accidentally mix these chemicals and need to dispose of the waste, don't try to neutralize it. First, use caution and do not enter the area if you smell chloroform, which has a heavy, sweet-smelling odor. When you can, dilute the mixture with large volumes of water and wash the mixture down the drain as quickly as possible.
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Re: DO NOT MIX ALCOHOL & BLEACH

Postby Bushman » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:31 am

Thanks for the post it would also fit in our safety related section.
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Re: DO NOT MIX ALCOHOL & BLEACH

Postby bluefish_dist » Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:59 pm

Bleach and mold also make tca which can ruin spirits. So IMHO is is one more reason that bleach has no pace in a distillery.
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Re: DO NOT MIX ALCOHOL & BLEACH

Postby Desvio » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:28 pm

This is great info, but why in the ever loving hell would anyone distill bleach???
People say that I'm a bad influence. I say the world's already f#cked -- I'm just adding to it.
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Re: DO NOT MIX ALCOHOL & BLEACH

Postby thecroweater » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:46 pm

Read around, every so often some genius is posting about cleaning a still with bleach or using a bunch of dumb arse chemicals to clear/filter whatever some wash or low wines.
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. Benjamin Franklin
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Re: DO NOT MIX ALCOHOL & BLEACH

Postby Yummyrum » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:30 am

Its quite common for housewives when trying to clean a stubborn mess to try everything in the cleaning cupboard .
Methylated spirits is a great solvent and bleach is used to kill germs , so why not pour a bit of each into a bucket of water . :D
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Re: DO NOT MIX ALCOHOL & BLEACH

Postby sltm1 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:29 am

The only time to use bleach, is when sterilizing a mash tun to kill any bacteria after washing thoroughly, then rinse the bleach out, (no odor should be left in the container) dry the container and cap it till ready to use again.
Every new member should read this before doing anything else:
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Re: DO NOT MIX ALCOHOL & BLEACH

Postby Lawfish » Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:04 am

I use bleach only to sterilize my glass carboys for fermenting beer and I rinse them out thoroughly so there's no smell. I ferment my sugar washes and corn mashes in plastic 5-gallon buckets and only use Star-san to sterilize them. Bleach has a tendency to weaken plastic as well as to infuse itself into it, so I would not use bleach on plastic buckets.
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