Using dryer after walls were bleached

So a technician guy used bleach to clean my laundry-room walls. Presumably I should air it out a while before doing any more laundry - but doesn’t bleach vapor get sucked into dryers all the time due to it being used for the washing first? Does bleach vapor turn into something else if heated?

Assuming he used chlorine-based bleach, then the vapor you speak of will be chlorine. If your laundry room smells like a swimming pool, then yep, that’s chlorine. You can run the dryer for an hour or two on a non-heating cycle to suck out chlorine-contaminated air from the laundry room. The heat from a hot dryer cycle won’t do anything to the chlorine, but leaving the heat off will save energy.

Ah ok thanks. Apparently sodium hypochlorite boils at 101 C and decomposes. Wonder what it decomposes into? (This is now morphing into a chemistry GQ instead)

Well, originally I thought it was just salt and water but, now, I’m not so sure. Looking at the decomposition products for hot sodium chloride, it looks like this is one way make sodium chlorate, with sodium chloride as a by product and some oxygen as well.

At room temperature, bleach solutions are only really stable in tightly sealed containers. Letting the gas escape throws the equilibrium out of balance. And then your bleach won’t work.

Regardless, you probably have nothing to worry about except your house smelling line a pool.

Just don’t store it in stainless steel containers. We learned this the hard way at work.


Another thing that confuses me: sodium hypochlorite is described as being “solid at room temperature” but also melts at 64 F?

Where did you see “solid at room temperature?” Wikipedia describes its appearance as “greenish-yellow solid”, but that of course depends on which standard temperature and pressure are being used. If you go with IUPAC’s STP, it’s 0 degrees C - although that’s not considered “room temperature” anywhere other than Scandinavia.

Open a window.

As hypochlorite is only Chlorine and oxygen, if it decomposes, it must decompose to that I guess.

Depending on conditions, you could end up with that, or some other stuff.

That melting point of 64 degrees F refers to the pentahydrate, NaOCl·5H2O. It decomposes at room temperature so you need to keep it refrigerated. Anhydrous sodium hypochlorite will decompose explosively at room temperature if you even look at it funny and is nothing to mess with.

The dilute 5% solution used in household bleach is relatively stable but will slowly decompose into chlorate and chloride ions.

Decompose explosively at room temp?"…

So it just turns into sodium chlorate powder on the floor?

What does sodium chlorate itself turn into if heated up by hundreds of degrees C or F?

There are several pathways for the decomposition of sodium chlorate. all of them liberate O2 and either sodium chlorite, sodium hypochlorite, or sodium chloride. In actual decompositions you’re going to get oxygen gas and a mixture of all three solids.

You don’t have to heat it much to get this to happen, in fact you have to work pretty hard to keep it from happening. Don’t let it come nto contact with organic materials, that’s for sure.

In my old job I used to go through a railcar of sodium chlorate every day, around 110 tons of the stuff. We used to to generate chlorine dioxide.