Clorox Precautions

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Clorox bleach can help keep your white fabrics clean.
Clorox bleach can help keep your white fabrics clean. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Versatile and inexpensive, Clorox bleach can help keep your home clean, deodorized and disinfected. However, Clorox contains powerful chemicals that can damage surfaces and fill your home with toxic residue and fumes if used improperly. Before using Clorox, take the necessary safety precautions to protect you and your family.

Discoloration

Clorox can damage various items, including fabric, carpet, wood and upholstery. When the bleach comes in contact with the surface, it can either strip the surface of its color or cause unsightly and permanent discolorations. By covering floors and furniture with a drop cloth you can help prevent damage to the item while cleaning with Clorox. If possible, move the item you are cleaning with Clorox outside and place on top of a plastic tarp.

Fumes

The Clorox itself produces harsh fumes that can cause dizziness, nausea, headaches and fatigue if breathed in for long periods of time. The fumes can also cause a burning sensation in the nose and throat. If you experience any of the side effects, move into fresh air immediately. Sit for several minutes, taking long, deep breathes until the feeling passes. By keeping the work area well-ventilated when using bleach, you will lower the possibility of experiencing these side effects.

Skin and Eye Exposure

Once Clorox comes in contact with skin, flush the area immediately with cool water and wash for 15 minutes. Consult your primary care physician if a rash or irritation occurs. To prevent contact, always wear rubber gloves, long-sleeved shirt and pants when using bleach.

Immediately flush the eye with cool water. Hold the eyelid open and allow cool, running water to rinse the chemical from the eye for 20 minutes. If the person whose eye has been splashed with Clorox is wearing contacts, flush the eye for 5 minutes with cool running water before removing the contact lens, and continue flushing for another 15 minutes. Contact a physician after flushing the eye for 20 minutes.

Ammonia

Like bleach, ammonia is an inexpensive and versatile cleaning chemical that is a common ingredient in glass cleaners. Mixing Clorox with ammonia or products that contain ammonia will result in dangerous fumes that could prove deadly. To prevent the toxic fumes, never mix Clorox with other cleaning chemicals.

Ingestion

Ingesting Clorox can lead to serious health complications that can be fatal. Never induce vomiting if someone you know ingests Clorox. Instead, have the individual drink a glassful of cool water and remain calm. If irritation, dizziness or vomiting occurs or the amount of bleach ingested was substantial, contact a physician.

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