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A bulging can leaked inside our kitchen cabinet. I googled how to handle it. I followed the instructions I found online. I mixed 1/4 bleach and 2 cups water. Applied it on all surfaces. Then applied dish soap diluted with water.

Does this produce toxic fumes? And can the toxic fumes seep through food even if they are covered and placed about 3 meters away? The cabinet still smells like bleach. What should I do about it?

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  • $\begingroup$ A quarter cup of bleach? $\endgroup$ – SendersReagent Mar 2 '16 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I used a quarter cup of bleach $\endgroup$ – Polka rose Mar 3 '16 at 0:59
  • $\begingroup$ Just wanted to clarify. $\endgroup$ – SendersReagent Mar 3 '16 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, was typing too fast I didnt notice I didnt type proper measurement. $\endgroup$ – Polka rose Mar 3 '16 at 1:02
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Disclaimer: This answer is provided for information only. Use it at your own risk.

I mixed 1/4 bleach and 2 cups water. Applied it on all surfaces. Then applied dish soap diluted with water.

This was not smart. Bleach should never be mixed with other chemicals, cleaners, or detergents. Rinsing with plain water first would have been less risky.

With bleach it is important to ventilate the area. Bleach should be thoroughly rinsed if it gets on anyone. Gloves are highly recommended for this type of cleaning.

Does this produce toxic fumes?

Possibly.

Bleach attacks double and triple bonds in organic molecules. This action not only inactivates most disease causing organic particles, but also destroys the chromophores which give organic material their color. This reaction can sometimes liberate malodorous organic fumes which is best not to breathe.

Most inexpensive commercial bleach is a diluted form of sodium hypochlorite. Sodium hypochlorite can release chlorine gas; however, under normal usage bleach, nor its smell is likely to be harmful. The odor threshold for common bleach is 0.002 parts per million (ppm) which is well below the concentration it will cause any harm.

If on the off chance the smell is extremely irritating or if coughing occurs then get people and pets out of the area and ventilate the gas. Wait till the odor ceases to be irritating. If the odor is just annoying then it is likely safe.

And can the toxic fumes seep through food even if they are covered and placed about 3 meters away?

If ventilation is good over a relatively short period of time then seepage is unlikely. If ventilation is poor over several days then seepage could turn into a problem. If the food smells or tastes either odd or like bleach, it may be best to throw it out.

The cabinet still smells like bleach. What should I do about it?

Ventilating the cabinet till the smell goes away is best. Rinsing thoroughly with plain water, getting the water up as best as possible, and then allowing the surfaces to dry may work. Only after thoroughly rinsing and ventilating would it be worth it to clean with dilute vinegar help with the smell. Do not allow vinegar to mix with bleach!

A better disinfectant choice for just one bulged can may have been to use 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol soaked into a dry rag. No chlorine fumes, much less likely to discolor, while still effective with germs. This should go without saying... Do not allow alcohol to mix with bleach!

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