I don't want to simply replace one hazardous chemical with another. The bleach is stubbornly clinging to my shower walls and I feel its effects every time I take a shower.

Ascorbic acid seems like the most natural solution to me, since it's a regular part of our diet. Online sources recommend ascorbic acid "but you should never use any other type of acid". I'd like to ask you chem experts: what's the difference? From what I've found, ascorbic acid plus bleach will create chlorine gas just like any other acid. It also forms sodium hydride, which appears to be a pretty nasty substance as well.

Are there any options? I looked into sodium theosulfate, which is recommended for fish tanks, but it seems it too is an irritant when inhaled. Why replace one irritant with another?

PS It is likely that NaOH is also present.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Stop it. Just stop. Chemophobia is a thing, and it can drive you nuts all right. $\endgroup$ Dec 9 '20 at 9:01
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Just rinse the surfaces down thoroughly with water. All the components of bleach are fully soluble $\endgroup$
    – Waylander
    Dec 9 '20 at 10:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This question it is so avulsed that should be closed. Saying so I am actually helping OP, not making fun of him/her. $\endgroup$
    – Alchimista
    Dec 9 '20 at 10:18

I also find the smell of chlorine bleach smell annoying and have developed a rapid way to safely remove the smell, likely with more disinfecting and odor removing benefits.

Start by placing dilute hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle. Proceed to apply to the areas that were the subject of a bleach application. Spray also into the air. Interestingly, in a few minutes, not only is the chlorine smell removed, but the air has a fresh smell to it!

Now, the chemistry is also interesting indicating the creation of the transient but powerful hydroxyl radical ($\ce{.OH}$). Per a source from the field of atmospheric science, the neutralization reaction of hypochlorite based chlorine bleach (active ingredient: $\ce{NaOCl}$), proceeds per this 2008 work: Hydroxyl radical from the reaction between hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide in three steps. In particular, cited Reactions (1) to (3) are discussed below:

$\ce{OCl- + H2O2 -> .OH + .ClO + OH-}$ (1)

There is also the creation of an intermediary compound described as, $\ce{OH-ClO}$:

$\ce{.OH + .ClO -> OH-ClO }$ (2)

that apparently breaks down in alkaline conditions:

$\ce{OH-ClO + OH- -> ^1O2 + H2O + Cl-}$ (3)

where the net effect is the previously well known decomposition reaction given by:

$\ce{OCl- + H2O2 -> H2O + O2 + Cl-}$

Further, I suspect an interaction between the formed Singlet oxygen and oxygen gas leading to yet other transients, but active oxygen species, which are likely responsible for the fresh smell.

As a safety precaution, I would advise waiting at least an hour before returning to the treatment area (as not all reactive oxygen species are people-friendly).


For example, at 80 °C, with NaOCl and NaCl concentrations of 80 mM, and pH 6–6.5, the chlorate is produced with ∼95% efficiency. The oxygen pathway predominates at pH 10.[17] This decomposition is affected by light[18] and metal ion catalysts such as copper, nickel, cobalt,[17] and iridium.[19] (wiki, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_hypochlorite)

Its NaClO, ideally you want it to decompose to NaCl, table salt, without producing free Cl. Acid will likely decompose it into something that does release Cl.

NaOH isnt likely to help, NaClO becomes only more stable in base pH (reverse of an acid).

H2O2 also makes bleach decompose quicker into NaCl, without chlorine formation, but it is also deadly to microscopic life, probably even more so than bleach. And it is also decomposed by heating. But H2O2 decomposes much quicker than NaClO.

If you want to make water+bleach safe for microscopic life, without releasing chlorine gas in a process, I would suggest adding just enough H2O2 to react with the bleach, and then heating the water with copper being present. Heating and copper both make bleach and H2O2 decompose safely, releasing oxygen.

P.S. if someone knows a better answer, let me know, i need to solve similar problem too. That is, making bleach+water safe for microscopic life.


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