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Fun With Science/Toxic Fumes!

The other night we had to clean up a bit for inspection. (Ah, the joys of renting.) It was a bit frantic because we started late, so we were all over the place doing various insane cleaning-related things. It was tough to keep track of who was doing what. Usually I follow my mother around during cleaning because she has this odd tendency to do things she really shouldn't while cleaning. (You can see where this is going.)

BACKSTORY: Last year, the night before inspection, my mother nearly filled an old spray bottle that had contained something else entirely with bleach. I had to yell at her not to do it, and convinced her that if she wanted to spray bleach on the walls we should go to Home Depot and get her a brand new spray bottle. She bitched about wasting money the whole time, but I knew that it was for the good of everyone. I mean, seriously.

FLASH FORWARD BACK TO WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT: Anyhow, yeah, no one could really keep track of anyone as we were all furiously cleaning. My mother vanished somewhere to do something, and I thought nothing of it--I continued to dust in peace when suddenly, this really intense, burning chlorine odor filled the entire house. I mean, it was tear-inducing. I was like "OMG, what the hell, did my mom spill the bleach all over the place or something?" She comes running out of the bathroom with her shirt over her mouth and yells at everyone to get outside with the cats. We gather up the cats and go outside while my mother stays inside, trying in vain to get the fumes out of the house. Everyone started getting pretty sick, so she called the paramedics and they came over (with a firetruck!) and checked us out. My mom was holding a spray bottle in her hand and explained to them that she thought there was nothing in the in it, so she tried to fill it with bleach. (FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUU--) The paramedics sighed and asked if any of us would like to go to the hospital. (We were mostly fine, and just needed to sit down outside for a couple hours. At midnight.) I suggested that my mom should go, since she was in the house much longer than any of us. She went, got checked out, and was thankfully fine.

While she was gone, I read the bottle: The cleaner that it had held was made with glycolic and phosphoric acid. It said in GIANT LETTERS, "DO NOT MIX WITH CHLORINE BASED PRODUCTS, WILL RESULT IN POTENTIALLY DEADLY TOXIC FUMES" and "DO NOT REUSE BOTTLE." >< I don't know, it was just...such a stupid night what. We ended up cleaning into the wee hours of the morning because of this. It was lamesauce for serious.