When an appliance breaks, sometimes water damage is the ultimate result. Even after you repair the appliance, the damage to the floor, walls, and nearby materials from flooding water comes with its own challenges. As appliance repair pros, we know a lot about dealing with the aftermath. Water damage can have devastating effects on your home, from rotting the materials to allowing mold infestations.
The worst part about mold after an incident of water damage is that even after you dry the home out and restore damaged materials, mold can still linger anywhere it found moisture to thrive. If you can smell or suspect mold, it’s common to look up ways to get rid of it. The internet suggests a wide range of solutions ranging from essential oils to old fashioned bleach.
Most of us are familiar with bleach as a cleaning product. Our parents used it, and you probably have known at least one person who uses bleach to clean everything. While bleach is a powerful disinfectant and it does kill mold, it can also do serious harm to your family and your home in the process. Bleach is a very harsh chemical that is barely safe to use in very low concentrations.
Today, we’re here to highlight nine of the biggest risks that come with using bleach to fight mold in your home.
1) Skin Burns and Eye Damage
The reason bleach can be used to fight mold is because of its corrosive nature. It is a powerful base that eats away at all living tissue, whether that’s a mold fungus or your own skin. Undiluted or under-diluted bleach can cause real physical harm if it comes into contact with skin or eyes. Bleach causes chemical burns that can burn the skin of you, your children, and even your family pets.
Bleach is also incredibly dangerous to expose to the eyes. If bleach is dripped or rubbed into eyes, the same corrosive effect will cause burning in addition to temporary or permanent damage.
2) Lingering Headaches
The dangers of bleach aren’t limited just to contact with the substance. Bleach also gives off powerful fumes that are almost as harmful as liquid and powder bleach alone. The fumes from bleach can cause eye-watering, stinging, and burning sensations. Those exposed to open containers of bleach can begin to experience headaches as a result of damage going up through the nasal passages toward the brain.
Even cleaning with bleach can leave a residue on the surface that gives off a continuous pollutant of fumes. These fumes can cause subtle health problems. throughout the family including lingering and constantly returning headaches and watering eyes.
3) Exposure to Children
Parents often have to come face to face with a mold problem while also keeping their children safe from the solution. Cleaning mold with bleach is the least child-safe option available because it is a toxic chemical that no parent should expose their children to. Bleach in a bottle can be consumed or simply cause skin and eye burns if children come in contact with it.
Bleach used to clean surfaces doesn’t always wash away completely. Even residual bleach can harm children if they touch bleach or put a bleached object into their home. Minor ailments in children cannot be ignored when bleach has been in their environments.
4) Consumed by Pets
Bleach can even be harmful to your pets. Pets will not voluntarily eat bleach or lick a bleach-covered surface, but carpets and floors that have been cleaned with bleach can leave a chemical residue on the fur of your pets. Dogs and cats then lick themselves to stay clean or to relieve the itching that the bleach chemical has caused. As a results pets have gotten sick in the past from being exposed bleach used to clean the home.
Very young and very old pets are at a much higher likelihood of taking permanent damage from bleach fumes or ingesting bleach residue. Just like humans, pets can get chemical burns, have their eyesight damaged, and get very sick.
5) Unexpected Bleach Stains
Most people think of bleach as a cleaning chemical that removes stains, but it can also damage any fabric or material it is exposed to that is not already perfect white. Bleach when used at home often splashes around a little. Tiny droplets of bleach or even diluted bleach then act to leech out pigments and corrode organic cells. Even without the harmful health effects, bleach is a danger to all pigments in your house and can cause unintentional bleach stains.
Be careful when wielding bleach in your home. You can accidentally bleach droplets of your favorite jeans and t-shirts, your carpet and upholstery, and even bleach little drops in furniture stain and flooring.
6) Spontaneous New Allergies
Bleach is associated with illnesses from the corrosive chemicals and fumes, but few people are aware that bleach’s volatile nature can also trigger new allergies. and we don’t mean allergies to bleach itself. When bleach fumes and exposure damage a person’s nasal passages, it has a chance of triggering new allergies that the victim had not experienced before.
When bleach is used regularly in a home, the family has an increased likelihood of developing new allergies to things they had not been allergic to in the past. Bleach used in homes of young children can result in the children growing up to have more allergies than they would have naturally.
7) Cracked & Dry Skin
Bleach is a highly corrosive base that must be diluted. But even diluted, it is a powerful soap that dries out your hands and skin along with any other organic material it is exposed to. If you clean with bleach on a regular basis, you may quickly begin to notice that your hands become dry and begin to crack at the creases. This is very common for bleach cleaning and one of the many reasons why it’s worth your time to seek more natural remediations to mold rather than constantly scrubbing with hand-destroying bleach solutions.
8) Breathing Trouble & Asthma
Bleach is also associated with higher instances of childhood asthma and a return of asthma symptoms that had gone into remission. This is likely because bleach is harmful to the esophagus and lungs when breathed and the fumes can cause internal damage to the respiratory system over time. Children in bleach-cleaning households are more likely to develop asthma at a young age and adults with asthma may experience a return of symptoms. Even for individuals without asthma, bleach can cause both short-term and long-term breathing problems a result of inhaling the fumes from open bottles or residue on cleaned surfaces.
9) Reaction to Other Chemicals
Even if you are ultimately carefully with your bleach, always wearing rubber gloves and diluting carefully, it is still a dangerous and volatile chemical to keep in your home. The problem is that bleach can respond dangerously when mixed or even exposed to other very common cleaning substances. Bleach and ammonia, for example, react together to form Chlorine Gas, a harmful and corrosive chemical weapon that can cause blindness, respiratory damage, and even death. Homeowners and children have been killed in the past by accidentally combining these chemicals and releasing the gas into their homes.
Bleach can have a similar response when it comes into contact with other acids like vinegar and even old urine that is to be mopped up. This is the primary reason why bleach is a terrible hazard in the home. Fortunately, fighting mold after appliance-related water damage doesn’t require bleach. There are several brands of natural-ingredient mold cleaner and stain remover as well as reliable restoration services that can help get your kitchen or utility room back into ship-shape after an appliance flooding fiasco.