Things just aren't what they used to be. Clorox Bleach weak as water now?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by tcmtech, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. tcmtech

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    Well it was my time to get into the poison Ivy again this year during haying season. Happens every year no matter how hard I try to avoid it. :oops:

    I read about the different things that are supposed to kill the rash and #1 on the list was Clorox Bleach. Supposedly back in the good old days a person would mix it aobut 4:1 with water (so it didn't eat your skin) and do a quick rub down of the poison ivy rash followed by a good hard soapy rinse which would have the rash drying up within a few hours.

    Well I tried it. 4:1 did nothing. same with 2:1. Cripes 1:1, slight tingling but barely any change. Full on right out of the bottle. Hmm, tingly with a very weak underlying almost definable as a sting sensation that lasted for maybe 5 minutes after I washed it off. :(

    So what the heck? Is bleach right out of the bottle so diluted 'for our safety' it's darn near useless now? I can recall as a kid that whenever mom opened the bleach bottle everyone in the house knew about it within a minute or less and when she went to dilute it with water the stuff would make a fog as she poured it in.

    This new bottle of Clorox is so damn weak I can take a good breath right over the top of the jug and barely smell anything. As a kid if I had done that it would have put me in a hospital with dissolved lungs! :eek:

    Well it does explain why when I bleached my well the last few times it lasted about a week before the smell came back and I never noticed the chlorine smell plus dry tight skin after a shower like I used to when I mixed a cup or two with 10 gallons of water and poured down my well.

    The bottle I have right now can't even do that straight on. :mad:
     
  2. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
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    Buy some calcium hypochlorite and make your own.

    Mix 2 Tablespoons to 3 cups of water.
     
  3. tcmtech

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    It's getting pretty sad when a guy has to go back to the methods used before mass production made everything into convenient easy to work with products just to get a workable solution of their own again. :p

    I'm going to town tomorrow so I will try a few other brands and see what I get from them. I'm hoping this bottle was just from a bad batch or something. If not bleach has become so safe it's useless now. :(

    The itch is driving me nuts today. Wrists to elbows all the way around on both arms this time. :mad:
     
  4. jpanhalt

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    Clorox has or can have the same or greater concentration of sodium hypochlorite as before. In fact, old Clorox was about 5%, new stuff is 6.25%, as I recall. At least the stuff I have is like that. Be sure to read the label. Were you using Clorox or an "oxy-clean" type of bleach. The latter is not a hypochlorite..

    John

    Edit: Check the MSDS for your product. I didn't realize how many versions of bleach Clorox sells. Here is a link to one that should be comparable to the old: https://www.thecloroxcompany.com/downloads/msds/bleach/cloroxgermicidalbleach12015-06-14.pdf
     
  5. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    How about a bottle of chlorine liquid they use for pools.
    Says it's 10% available chlorine.
    I suspect that will clean you sinuses. :eek:
     
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  6. jpanhalt

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    Sinuses?

    I think he is trying a home remedy to destroy the allergenic catechol (benzene ring with two hydroxyls) in poison ivy:
    upload_2016-8-25_5-26-30.png
    In the case of poison ivy, the R usually has 15 carbons according to Wikipedia. It may have double bonds or be saturated.

    BTW, my earlier comments were only in regard to the principal chemical in old Clorox bleach. I am not recommending it as a treatment for poison ivy.

    John
     
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  7. tcmtech

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    That's the problem!

    I wasn't aware there was more than just one either. Maybe I grabbed the wrong bottle? o_O
     
  8. GopherT

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    Nov 23, 2012
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    The active head of poison ivy, in John's post, imbeds itself in the fatty tissue of your skin. These oily compounds have very low solubility in water. The trick to get it out is to convert those -OH groups to sodium salts (-ONa) groups and make the molecule much more soluble (in water). The -ONa is very ionic and much more water-loving than the R groups is fat-loving - and it is eventually extracted into the wash water.

    Chlorine bleach is a simple reaction of NaOH (sodium hydroxide) and Cl2 (chlorine). So, in your remedy, the base (NaOH) is doing the work.

    Chlorine in chlorine bleach is oxidizing and can damage the molecule (or chlorinate the catechol head) but, the easily deprotonated -OH groups (vs aliphatic alcohols) is the likely mode of action from my view.

    If my theory is correct, a paste of baking soda with soapy water (dawn dish soap) should do the job.

    I've never had poison ivy - not for lack of trying. Bailing hay, fishing in back woods streams and everything in between. Other people around me get it but I am either naturally careful or naturally immune. Wither way, no chance to test my mixture.

    It does work with most bug bites and the sooner it is used, the better because the poison does migrate below the surface and more tissue has to be traversed to extract the allergen as it is given more time to diffuse into your skin.

    I am guessing bleach became a folk remedy because it is one of the few bases available at the grocery store. Baking soda can be effective, it just takes more time but is much less damaging than bleach.
     
  9. #12

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    Nov 30, 2010
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    Me too. I played in a poison ivy patch for 5 years before I found out it was poison ivy.:D
    Marketing!:mad:
    In recent experience, 70 bottles of over-the-counter sleeping pills: 68 are Benedryl (diphenhydramine) and two were anything else. There must be something profitable about packaging the same thing 68 different ways and using up about 18 square feet of aisle space for one product. You're challenge? Half a dozen products labeled, "Clorox" and half of them don't contain anything that resembles chlorine bleach...but the Clorox name dominates the aisle face, so you pick one instead of the, "house brand".

    Read the label!
    Deception is everywhere in retail marketing.
    Here's a reason I don't go to Winn-Dixie: Eight different brands of something I wanted. They were labeled as cents per ounce, euros per kilo, dollars per pound, camels per cubit...anything that couldn't be compared to the one next to it. Then I stepped back and saw that all eight of them were 32 ounces for $1.98:confused:

    A corporation trying that hard to obscure any useful information doesn't deserve my business.
     
  10. jpanhalt

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    Exactly! Cigarette companies learned a long time ago that market share was directly proportional to the number of brands/versions offered. That is true for any commodity or even non-commodities that may be viewed as commodities. There are several case studies of that seemingly intuitive observation.

    Now, if the cost of producing a "different brand" is significant (as it may be with cars), that changes the equation. For for sodium hypochlorite in water, you can name it anything you want. The incremental cost is just ink on the label. Different perfumes add little to the cost.

    John
     
  11. wayneh

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    Sep 9, 2010
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    I recently had a minor bout of poison ivy (it may have been wild parsnip, which is the same chemical but a different plant) that turned into a week of annoying hives.

    I found most over-the-counter remedies such as hydrocortisone cream or antihistamine pills to be nearly useless except for the latter to send me into a nap. I got more relief from Advil (ibuprofen).

    One product I used for the poison ivy actually did help. It's stupid expensive but really did help dry up the annoying blisters. It contains a gentle abrasive (tiny plastic spheres?) and some active ingredients, probably an astringent and some others. My blisters stopped getting worse and started healing as soon as I used that product once.

    If the caustic nature of bleach is a benefit, I'd try lye (sodium hydroxide) or Drano (basically, liquid lye). Both are cheap and long lasting. Bleach ages over time, especially with light exposure and gets weaker. Some claim that a year-old bottle is useless but I've seen activity last longer than that.

    I really don't think bleach and/or lye are a good idea for skin treatment. Both will yellow your skin afterwards. Dawn dishwashing detergent and a vigorous rub with a washcloth is probably at least as effective.
     
  12. #12

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    I am nowhere near being a proper chemist but there are plenty of chemical supplies on the Interwebs. Half a dozen photo developer sites ("hypo") pop up on the first search page.

    I don't expect we can get the kind of stuff we make fireworks with 50 years ago, but laundry supplies and a few weak acids are easy fare.
     
  13. tcmtech

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    Well that's more informative than the hour plus I spent trying to figure out what's what behind the reaction, thanks!

    I'll try the baking soda today. (Or some drain cleaner.) :p
     
  14. shortbus

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    Like Gophert and #12 I've never had poison ivy. But my brothers do get it. As a kid when we visited my uncles farm, if one of them got a case of poison ivy they put castile soap on it. Make a lather of the soap and apply to the blisters, like calamine lotion. Worked back then, don't know if the castile soap of today is the same though.
     
  15. SLK001

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    Nov 29, 2011
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    Clorox will loose its potency in about 6-8 months. Get yourself a new bottle.

    I had a friend as a kid who got PI if he just walked by it. I could play in the stuff and not be affected. If I touched him after I trapsed through the stuff, he would break out with a rash.
     
  16. tcmtech

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    That was me as a kid. Immune to it without concern then one time my HS girlfriend and I went for 'a role in the bushes' and two day after it was pretty obvious what we were doing by where the rashes were. I've been that other kid ever since. The price a guy has to pay for fun sometimes. :oops:

    I tried the baking soda and dish soap on one arm today and some straight dishwasher soap that has sodium hydroxide and chlorine plus a warning to avoid contact with bare skin on the label. The second one seems to be working better than the first. The baking soda and dish soap worked out into a sort of smooth paiste that felt oddly tingly yet cool but over all did nothing over the day. The dishwasher soap burned like Mthr Fckr but that arm is noticeably less irritated now. :eek:;)

    I'm tempted to do the dishwasher soap on the other arm tonight but holy hell that burned this morning. :eek:
     
  17. GopherT

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    You should ask the Mods to change your username to "human guinea pig".
     
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  18. cmartinez

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    Either that, or reclassify him as Test Tube Member :D
     
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  19. tcmtech

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    Oh if you have something itch bad enough you'll start experimenting on yourself too to try and make it stop. :eek:
     
  20. jpanhalt

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    Glad it worked for you. Although baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is used in a lot of home remedies, it is probably not alkaline enough to extract the alkyl catechol (urushiol) from fat into water easily. Old chemists know that 5% bicarbonate will extract carboxylic acids, but not phenols into water. Something at least a alkaline as sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) is required for that. The pKa of phenol is 9.95. Catechols are a little more acidic with pKa's of 9.48; however, the effect of the alkyl side chain in urushiol would be to decrease its acidity (raise its pKa). I couldn't find its exact pKa, but its phenol analogue (pentadecaphenol) has a pKa that is 1.55 higher than phenol. Thus, one might assume that the pKa of urushiol is close to 9.64. In other words a little more acidic than phenol, but not by much.

    Sodium carbonate might work, as might any cleaning product that is alkalinized with sodium metasilicate ( a lot of car washes have that). Of course, laundry products with sodium hypochlorite are also quite alkaline. The advantage to using a laundry detergent is that despite the label warnings, we can be reasonably sure getting it on your skin will not result in instant and permanent scaring.

    We have lots of threads here about what idiots do. I would be reluctant to leave some readers with the impression that because something with "sodium hydroxide" worked for you, maybe lye used for clearing drains would work even better. Burns from lye heal very poorly and usually with scarring. So, I would strongly suggest sticking with household cleaning products and perhaps sodium carbonate or sodium metasilicate. Dilute (1%) trisodium phosphate might also work to extract catechols in the laboratory.

    John
     
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