You probably have a bottle of bleach at home, which you use for cleaning the bathroom or whitening clothes. Bleach has many uses due to its unique properties. Take this quiz to see how much you know about how bleach works.
What class of chemicals are bleaches categorized in?
Bleaches are classified as oxidative agents, which means that they cause a chemical reaction known as oxidation when they come into contact with certain stains, germs, organisms or dyes. The two main classes of bleaches are chlorine bleaches and non-chlorine bleaches.
In what year was bleach first manufactured?
Bleach as we know it was first manufactured in the U.S. in 1913. It was used as an institutional disinfectant and in water treatment.
What is the active ingredient in chlorine bleach?
The active ingredient in chlorine bleach is sodium hypochlorite (NaOCL). Non-chlorine bleaches have different active ingredients depending on the purpose they are being used for.
Which ingredient are you likely to find in color-safe bleaches?
Hydrogen peroxide is commonly found in color-safe bleaches, while sodium perboate is often found in "oxygen power" stain removers.
Which wavelengths of light are visible to the human eye as color?
The human eye can see wavelengths of light between 400 and 700 nanometers. They appear as different colors, depending on the wavelength. For example, a ketchup stain appears red because the wavelength of light it reflects is 650 nanometers.
Which colors of a substance reach the retina?
Substances are made up of electrons that are capable of absorbing certain light wavelengths, depending on the characteristics of the chemical bonds within the substance. The light that electrons cannot absorb will be reflected back to the retina and that is the color that you will see.
How does bleach remove stains on white clothing?
Chlorine bleach breaks down the network of carbon atoms that help to absorb light within a stain. This means the substance is no longer able to absorb light, so all the light is reflected. Since, white is the color that appears when all wavelengths hit the retina, the stain will now appear white, even though it is physically still there.
When was bleach first used as a disinfectant?
The use of bleach as a disinfectant was first recorded in 1846. Staff in Vienna's General Hospital used it to stop the spread of childbed fever, a severe infection that was killing many women after giving birth.
In which substance, used every day, would you find sodium hypochlorite?
Sodium hypochlorite is added to municipal drinking water in order to kill waterborne organisms such as Salmonella typhi, which causes typhoid fever.
Why is bleach such a valuable disinfectant?
Germs are unable to develop immunity against bleach.
How does bleach kill germs?
Bleach oxidizes cell molecules within the germs, viruses, bacteria, mold or fungi and kills them. It is believed that hypochlorous acid, formed when sodium hypochlorite is added to water, breaks down the cell walls of certain germs and may cause certain proteins to build up, causing a malfunction within the germ cells.
Which precautions must you take when using bleach?
Bleach can react with other substances, so it is important not to mix chlorine bleach with any other household products.
Mixing bleach with what substance produces chlorine gas?
Chorine gas is very poisonous and is produced by mixing chlorine bleach with vinegar or ammonia.
What can chlorine fumes cause?
Chlorine fumes can cause coughing, airway irritation or a sore throat and eye irritation. It is important to use bleach in well ventilated areas and to try not to inhale it. Wear gloves when handling bleach, as repeated skin exposure can cause redness and irritation.
What should you do if a child ingests bleach?
Don't induce vomiting if your child ingests bleach. Rather, immediately call the Poison Control Center and follow the adviser's instructions.
How much bleach should you add to a load of laundry?
Bleach needs to be diluted when using it on clothing. You need only 3/4 cup of bleach in a load of laundry, which you should wash on the hottest setting. Ensure you check clothing labels before bleaching, as bleach may ruin some fabrics.
How can you tell if a garment is bleachable?
To test if a garment can be bleached without getting ruined, mix two teaspoons of bleach with a quarter cup of water and put a drop of the solution on a part of the garment that is hidden during wear. Wait one minute and check for any color change.
What did the European Commission determine about long-term exposure to bleach?
The European Commission has determined that long-term exposure to small amounts of bleach is safe. The Environmental Protection Agency has found no evidence of risks for cancer, reproductive problems or birth defects when using bleach. It appears that bleach is pretty safe if used properly.
Sodium hypochlorite is broken down by _____ when released into the air.
Sodium hypochlorite is broken down by sunlight when released into the air. When absorbed into water or soil, sodium hypochlorite breaks down into ions of sodium, calcium and hypochlorite. This makes bleach reasonably environmentally safe, though it is unclear what effect the broken down substances of sodium hypochlorite have on the environment.
Which health issue has bleach found to improve?
A study found that bleach helped to improve children's eczema. However, all the children in the study also had signs of a secondary bacterial skin infection, so it is unclear whether the bleach actually helped the eczema or if it simply killed the secondary infection, which helped the skin to heal quicker.
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