This article will answer the following question: “Is Clorox Flammable?”, we will also reveal essential inquiries about liquid bleaching agents and precautions required to use it.
Is Clorox Flammable?
Clorox can be flammable depending on the product we’re talking about. Clorox cleaning bleach, a water-based disinfectant that has sodium hypochlorite as its active ingredient, is not flammable because it has no combustible materials in its ingredients list.
What is Clorox?
Clorox is a brand name. One of its most popular products is a bleaching agent that goes by the name Clorox, in which sodium hypochlorite is the active ingredient.
The Clorox Company is the name of an American global manufacturer, pointed as one of the 500 most profitable corporations in the U.S.
Under the name Clorox, there are three major cleansing brands owned by the company: Clorox, Clorox 2, and Clorox Healthcare. The Clorox Company owns hundreds of household and professional brands across the globe.
This article will focus on the most common Clorox product, a bleach that’s usually sold in a plastic bottle with a handle on the side.
Bleach is a generic term used for products that can remove colors from fabric and fibers, stains, or for the intent of cleaning, disinfecting, or sanitizing a surface.
Bleaches normally have broad-spectrum bactericidal properties and are oxidizing agents. They contain hypochlorites that can oxidize organic matter, killing microorganisms.
There are three broad bleach classes. The classes are made according to the product’s active ingredients.
- Chlorine-based bleaches;
- Peroxide-based bleaches;
- Sulfur dioxide bleaches.
Chlorine-based bleaches are the most common. Their active ingredient is commonly sodium hypochlorite, but there are versions that use calcium chloride, chlorine gas, or chlorine dioxide. In all of them, chlorine atoms are the stars that make the show happen.
The chlorine compounds mentioned have the ability to carry chloride reactive species attached to them, into the surface where they will be applied. Such a thing is required because chloride tends to be a gas, but it’s much easier to handle liquids.
As a result, bleaches can carry reactive chloride species in a liquid form so they can be released on time.
Bleach mechanisms of action
Most bleaches have the ability of whitening fabrics and are efficient against antimicrobial activity.
Both mechanisms of action are possible because bleaches like Clorox can promulgate oxidation, which is how many chemical reactions happen.
In organic materials such as fabrics, bleach can work by breaking chemical bonds that are the part of the molecules responsible for their colors. When these molecules (called chromophores) change, they lose the ability to absorb light.
The colors we see in a textile are the result of a physical-chemical interaction between the material and light. For any color besides white, the material absorbs some of the light or sunlight and liberates the rest. It’s like digestion.
The color the fabric couldn’t absorb is the one our eyes can see. The rest of it was absorbed by the cloth molecules, heating them, but not much. This is the reason why black fabrics get heated more easily since black absorbs almost all colors.
Likewise, white is the absence of colors. When light reaches a white cloth, almost all of the energy is reflected, and the result is light in its full capacity.
Most of the broad-spectrum effectiveness of bleaches is possible thanks to the reactivity they have with organic compounds. Overall, the oxidizers can denature and destroy proteins, even in considered low concentrations
Clorox Cleaning Bleach
One of the most common Clorox bleaches is the one made with diluted sodium chlorite. It is a strong oxidizer. Below we present a picture of a common label.
It’s important to say that the scents practically won’t change the properties of the product, so anything written in this article works despite the scents.
Here’s a list of its most important ingredients:
- Sodium Hypochlorite
- Sodium Chloride
- Sodium Carbonate
- Sodium Chlorate
- Sodium Hydroxide
- Sodium Polyacrylate
- Sodium Xylene Sulfonate
Since it’s water-based, Clorox doesn’t present any flammability.
Clorox products shouldn’t be mixed with other cleaning products. Since it’s a strong oxidizer, it can react with other products and liberate chlorine gas, which is quite toxic. It was even used during World War I as poison gas.
Here’s a small list of substances not-to-mix with bleaches:
Bleach + vinegar → toxic chlorine gas;
Bleach + ammonia → toxic chloramine vapors;
Bleach + alcohol → chloroform;
Bleach + other cleaning products → toxic chloramine vapors.
The Clorox bleach product evaluated in this article is not flammable. Its major ingredient is water, so it would be really challenging to burn Clorox even if one of its constituents were considered flammable.
Sodium hypochlorite, Clorox’s active ingredient, doesn’t present any flammability even in the form of dry powder. This is not only due to the fact that it’s inorganic, but because the molecule can suffer any more oxidation because it’s already oxidized.
Combustion is, essentially, a combustion chemical reaction where oxygen reacts with a fuel. The fuel then exchanges its own chemical bondings to connect with oxygens, losing electrons. When a molecule loses electrons we say it suffered oxidation.
Nearly anything that has the ability of oxidizing other compounds will not burn itself. With Clorox, this rule is no different.
Although, other labels that are sold under the name of Clorox might be flammable, depending on their ingredients. If the product contains at least one flammable compound in a higher quantity, we can assume that the whole thing is flammable.
Check this link to see ingredient lists for all Clorox products. Make sure you filter the search according to the product’s brand.
Aerosol forms of Clorox are probably very flammable unless the label has told otherwise. Other labels that contain alcohol are probably going to present higher flammability as well.
Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
One of the safer ways to acquire safety knowledge about a specific product is to look for its SDS. It is a document made by the manufacturer, it contains dense information about the most important safety aspects a product can have.
Below we present some of these documents. The readers can choose the one that suits them the best. None is considered flammable.
This one is for hypochlorite alone.
Clorox Cleaning Bleach is not considered flammable but may be hazardous to humans due to the fact that’s a strong oxidizer. Clorox solvent is water, and its active ingredient is sodium hypochlorite, substances that are not combustible.
There’s no fire hazard attributed to Clorox specifically.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS): Is Clorox Flammable?
Is clorox bleach?
Clorox is a brand, but bleach products are its flagship. There are several types of Clorox bleach products, you can search for them at this link.
Is clorox an acid or base?
Clorox bleach is a base, its pH value is above 8. The disinfectant contains sodium hypochlorite, a molecule that has a chloride ligand that can steal electrons from others, and also accept electrons from donors. A molecule that does that is known as a base.
Is clorox toxic?
Clorox products should be safe if used according to the label instructions. Clorox bleach may unleash toxic vapors if left uncovered and/or it’s heated. The vapors can lead to skin irritation and burning sensation.
Inhalation can cause discomfort and acute hazards, while long exposure can lead to chemical pneumonitis.