# Safely Neutralize Bleach

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Someone spilled a jug of bleach down the hall and it's making the hallway smell really bad. Is there any chemical that can be dumped on it that will safely neutralize the smell or the chemical itself without producing another gas or a worse chemical?

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You could dump 3% H2O2 over it. H2O2 and bleach react with each other to make oxygen, water and salt. But if you spilled a lot of bleach, then you may need quite a lot of H2O2.

I would just try to clean up everything and then after cleanup wipe all of the floor with 3% H2O2 to get rid of the smell.

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Thanks a lot. It's mostly gone by now but, since we're on the same floor as the laundry room, it'll probably happen again.

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Yep, Na2SO3 is even better than H2O2, good that this one is mentioned as well.

It is called sodium sulfite. At shops, which sell stuff for making wine, you can also buy sodium metabisulfite, Na2S2O5, or potassium metabisulfite, K2S2O5. These also are suitable, but they are somewhat more smelly. This smell, however, does not stick to everything and quickly disappears. At low concentration, I do not find that smell (SO2) unpleasant. At high concentration it becomes pungent though.

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• 2 weeks later...

It should be noted that the area should be ventilated and that the user should try to avoid the SO2 fumes, which will choke those who are exposed to it.

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not at low conc it wont, its actualy used as a food preservative!

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not at low conc it wont, its actualy used as a food preservative!

Well, perhaps dwarfs and babies should be kept out of the area as SO2, as well as Cl2, are fairly dense gases and will tend to hang out in low-lying areas.

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You could dump 3% H2O2 over it. H2O2 and bleach react with each other to make oxygen, water and salt. But if you spilled a lot of bleach, then you may need quite a lot of H2O2.

I would just try to clean up everything and then after cleanup wipe all of the floor with 3% H2O2 to get rid of the smell.

Just out of curiousity what provides the counter ion for the Clorine in this process to create the salt stated?

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NaOCl + H2O2 => O2 + H2O + NaCl. Remember, bleach is a solution of sodium hypochlorite so the counter ion is the free sodium ion.

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NaOCl + H2O2 => O2 + H2O + NaCl. Remember, bleach is a solution of sodium hypochlorite so the counter ion is the free sodium ion.

Oh didn't realise there was sodium in it...

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• 13 years later...
On 12/25/2006 at 11:33 AM, jdurg said:

NaOCl + H2O2 => O2 + H2O + NaCl. Remember, bleach is a solution of sodium hypochlorite so the counter ion is the free sodium ion.

To put it another way, Bleach is simply salt with an extra oxygen atom, and Hydrogen peroxide is water with an extra oxygen atom. Put them together and they degrade into their more stable (and thus more common)  forms.

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I'm sure the questioner is grateful for your feedback these 15 years later

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