How Clorox Works
You guys all know that I use Chlorine bleach (Clorox
or other) for all sorts off magical transformations in the basement.
Nothing magic about it. It just happens to be a pretty good, cheap,
and easily available oxidizing agent that usually gets the job done.
Lets talk just a little about Clorox. What it
is, what it is not, what it can and cannot do for us. The
chemical that makes it work is Sodium Hypochlorite (NaOCl).
This stuff is sort of unstable. It would rather be something
other than what it is. The thing(s) that it wants be are caustic
soda, Chlorine gas, and "nacent" Oxygen, monatomic Oxygen,
or as we usually say now, "Ozone".
Everyone knows that it's that Chlorine smell coming
out of the jug that gets your shirt white, right? Sorry, it
just ain't that way. Chlorine is just a by-product of the
bleaching reaction. It's that Ozone that is getting the job
done. Ozone is a charged atom of Oxygen. Oxygen
atoms hate to be alone. They just gotta have a companion.
So it usually grabs another Oxygen and hangs on making the Oxygen
molecule O2. No charge. If you grab that sucker and
rip it apart you get two atoms of Oxygen both carrrying
a single negative charge I.e. O2-------> 2 O-.
I know you've all been dying to know that all your
life. But think about it, everytime you open that jug, Ozone
is escaping and replenishing our damaged Ozone layer. Guess
it's got holes in it like a pair of worn out Levi's. Now
it's that Ozone that does nearly all the bleaching, so what
about the Chlorine gas that is stinking up the place? Hey,
in the Basement we use that too. In the Basement we don't
usually get into all that domestic stuff like washing cloths etc.
That the wifes area of expetise. However, when that bleach
starts to break down and release all that good stuff it also produces
a current of electricity. That, basically, is what we are
using to oxidize stuff. remember "redox".
It 's not quite as simple as I am making it but it'll do for gumment
So, we got Clorox, right? It's cheap, readily
available, and gets the job done. Why would we want to "superize"
it? I know that some of you have had some trouble using it
because of the fact that the stuff from the store is very weak.
It is only 4-5% NaOCl, and 95 % water. For some things you
have to add so much that the water becomes a problem. Just
too much of it. Too much volume. And, many times you
have to eventually get rid of all that excess water. Sort
of a pain!
|Get On Wid It Already!
There are two pretty simple ways to skin that cat.
First, and easiest is to just buy dry NaOCl powder from a chemical
supplier, make a 10-50% solution of it in water. You got it.
The other way takes a little more doing but HEY, this
is Basement Chemistry too. Go down somewhere and buy a bag
of dry "swimming pool" Chlorine (Calcium Hypochlorite).
Measure out some. For example, 10 tablespoons Put it
in a container that you can see through, and add about 5 tablespoons
of baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate, NaH2CO3). Now add about
250 ml of water (or more, if you want a weaker solution).
Don't fill the container too full cause it's gonna do a little fizzing
and bubbling. At this point it's gonna look like sort of a white
paste. Not to worry. Ain't gonna leave you hanging
like that. Stir this mix around occasionally until you get
no more bubbling etc.
At this point you could just let it settle and pour
off the top layer. Probably faster to simply filter it through
a coffee filter. The filtrate probably wont be perfectly clear
but you will have gotten rid of a lot of Calcium Carbonate, etc.
Now you probably should dissolve a little baking soda in a
little water and add it to the near-clear liquid. This is a test
to see if you put in enough soda to begin with. If you get
more white precipitate, add more soda until no more precitate comes
down. or you could filter this again but I usually just let
it settle and pour off the supernatant, and put it in a bottle.
Now you got a strong solution of bleach!
Now the little woman can put a few tablespoons in the wash instead
of several cupfulls.
Proud a Ya!
You did that without even breathing hard!