Bleach remains a go-to disinfectant for home cleaning mainly because it’s a multipurpose cleaning agent you can use in different areas of the house, particularly in deep cleaning bathroom surfaces. It effectively eliminates germs and bacteria or removes stubborn stains and grime. Despite its practical benefits, there’s some hesitation to using bleach when cleaning around family homes due to its strong chemical smell, otherwise known as bleach fumes. In this article, we’ll talk about how long bleach fumes stay in the air, its possible side effects, and what home cleaning professionals do to handle such cleaning products safely.
When Is Bleach Harmful?
Technically, cleaning with bleach is safe when it’s used properly according to the product’s instructions. The pungent chemical smell comes from the release of chlorine gas, which may not be harmful on its own and in small quantities and short exposure. On the contrary, inhalation of bleach fumes becomes problematic and dangerous when mixed with other cleaning products containing ammonia and acid, such as commercially available toilet bowl cleaners and even vinegar.
According to experts, significant exposure to chlorine gas can cause the following side effects:
- Shortness of breath
- Watery eyes
- Eye, throat, and irritation
- Chest pain
- Swelling, blistering, and burns in the skin
Factors Affecting the Duration of Bleach Fumes
How long bleach fumes stay in the air actually depends on several factors. These include:
- Ventilation: This is the most critical factor. In a well-ventilated area, bleach fumes dissipate faster, sometimes within just a few hours. In contrast, the smell can linger for days in a closed-off room with no airflow.
- Amount of Bleach Used: Naturally, using a large quantity of bleach will produce a stronger smell that lingers longer than when using a smaller amount.
- Temperature and Humidity: In warmer and more humid conditions, the evaporation rate of bleach and its resulting smell may increase. This could make the bleach fumes seem more potent initially, but they also dissolve faster due to the accelerated evaporation.
Safety Tips When Cleaning with Bleach at Home
- Before cleaning a specific area of your home with bleach, ask another family member to take children or pets out on a walk or spend time in the backyard to minimize risks of exposure.
- Optimize room ventilation before, during, and after cleaning with bleach. Open windows and doors, use fans or take other necessary steps to circulate the air.
- Limit exposure to bleach and other chemical cleaning products by wearing a rubber or non-porous mask and hand gloves while cleaning.
- Dilute bleach. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for diluting bleach. Often, a diluted solution is just as effective for cleaning but produces fewer fumes.
- Never mix bleach with any other cleaning product, whether chemical or natural.
- If you find bleach fumes particularly bothersome, consider using alternative disinfectants or cleaning agents that don’t produce such strong odors.
Or Better Yet, Leave the Cleaning to Our Experts!
Remember, a clean home doesn’t have to come at the expense of your comfort or health. Let our professional house cleaners expertly handle the cleaning and disinfecting. Take advantage of that extra pocket of time by doing something fun or with your family, and then come home to a freshly cleaned space minus the unnecessary stress of cleaning. Book a home cleaning today!