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I accidentally mixed bleach and acetone trying to remove hair dye stains from my shower wall. The mixture turned orange when the bleach and acetone touched. Could I have created phosgene gas unintentionally? I’m really concerned for my families safety. I opened the window in the bathroom and closed the door. I poured water on the surfaces where the bleach and acetone mixture was a few times and all around the tub to make it sure there was none left. Should I be concerned or no?

I see the post was closed. I appreciate the feedback I received. Unfortunately poison control did absolutely nothing for me so that’s why I had to resort to online help. Thanks.

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Sodium hypochlorite (the active ingredient in bleach) and acetone react to produce chloroform.

Chloroform can slowly decompose into phosgene in air with exposure to oxygen $$\ce{2CHCl3 + O2 ->[h\nu] 2COCl2 + 2HCl}$$

but not in significant quantities under the conditions you describe.

You did the right thing by opening the window for ventilation and isolating the fumes to the bathroom and rinsing with copious water.

It is best not to mix bleach with anything except water and especially not household cleaning products.

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  • $\begingroup$ When someone says it SLOWLY turns into phosgene gas how slow are we talking? Could it be days, weeks or even hours? I’m moving from this house anyways so I really just want to make sure we are safe for the next 4 days till we move. $\endgroup$ – Williams Apr 26 at 22:53
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    $\begingroup$ The quantity is negligible, especially with your thorough rinsing with water. $\endgroup$ – BalooRM Apr 26 at 22:54
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    $\begingroup$ If the smell is gone, you should be fine. Be sure to ventilate well, as it seems you have done. $\endgroup$ – BalooRM Apr 26 at 22:57
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    $\begingroup$ @Williams fyi the odor would be that of "musty" or cut hay (no i did not randomly go around sniffing it, that's just what it said here -- cdc.gov/niosh/npg/npgd0504.html ) $\endgroup$ – ManRow Apr 27 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately my husband just weed whacked all around the property to get it ready for our move out so it smelled like that all inside. But it does not smell like it anymore since he weed whacked earlier so I have a feeling I didn’t accidentally create the gas. I’m still going to be on the lookout for symptoms of poisoning from the gas though. $\endgroup$ – Williams Apr 27 at 3:45

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