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Old 04-12-11, 06:48 AM   #1
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WARNING on Oxalic Acid - READ

Before you use oxalic acid (wood bleach) to remove rust, please READ the warnings on the container first.

Sounds obvious, but many people (like me) do not read the warnings on their cell phones, coffee makers - or their OA containers.

-So I had the idea that some Chlorine bleach could extend the usable life of my OA solution.

BAD idea! - the stuff instantly boils up huge volumes of toxic gas.

(Fortunately, it was just a small bucket, so I just stepped outside with it - but if someone did this when soaking a whole frame, it literally could be lethal. )
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Old 04-12-11, 06:58 AM   #2
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Never mix chemical cleaning products with anything but water unless you know what you are doing. Sometimes even water is bad but most people don't have elemental sodium or things like that around the house...

Bleach is one of the big no-nos that you never want to mix with anything but straight water unless you are a chemist. Ammonia is another one of the no-no chemical mixing items. Putting the two together is STRAIGHT OUT.

The only thing other than water that one should ever need to mix with OA is Baking Soda when you want to neutralize it before dumping it out. As always, read the instructions when using any chemical product. This is why we go to school to learn our ABC's. Reading in FUNdamental.
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Old 04-12-11, 06:59 AM   #3
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It's because of people like you there is all that mumbo jumbo written on the bottle

Bleach is for laundry and killing mold on your vinyl siding, it is one of the most deadly things you have laying around you're home mixing it with a number of things can become toxic real fast. Lucky,
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Old 04-12-11, 07:06 AM   #4
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It's because of people like you there is all that mumbo jumbo written on the bottle
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Old 04-12-11, 07:13 AM   #5
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I obviously have a low tolerance for chemical off-gassing, because even in weak solutions OA makes me light headed and gives me headaches. I used it once in a small container indoors and noticed it immediately. Even when I come close to it outdoors it has the same effect on me. YMMV
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Old 04-12-11, 07:14 AM   #6
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AUCHEN! How could you!? seriously, though, may I ask, what made you think that some chlorine bleach might extend the life of the OA solution? Not trying to bust yer chops here. Just curious. Yes, you are lucky. Didn't breathe any, did you?
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Old 04-12-11, 07:38 AM   #7
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AUCHEN! How could you!? seriously, though, may I ask, what made you think that some chlorine bleach might extend the life of the OA solution? Not trying to bust yer chops here. Just curious. Yes, you are lucky. Didn't breathe any, did you?
Rootboy -
If your OA solution gets continuous use like mine, it soon gets pretty rank, and since I commonly use chlorine for cleaning, I had grown just a little too complacent with it.

And yes. - I knew I'd have my chops busted for posting here, but I don't want anything bad to happen to anyone.

PS - I got a whiff, but not quite what I would call a "snoot-full" (thanks).
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Old 04-12-11, 07:39 AM   #8
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I've had good luck using white vinegar instead of OA. But the same warning applies about mixing with bleach.
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Old 04-12-11, 09:06 AM   #9
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When I worked in a McDonalds while in college we had someone working the close crew who decided to mix two cleaning products to try to get their job done faster. We heard an "OH SH*T" from back by the cleaning closet and this guy comes flying out...turns out this literal green cloud started forming in his bucket and started wafting out. Couple of us had the presence of mind to prop a couple doors open as we flew out as well. Went to the business next door, called the fire department, they came out with the hazmat and fans....three hours later we were allowed to go back in. Served as my one and lifelong example of why not to mix things.
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Old 04-12-11, 09:07 AM   #10
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Glad you're ok, Auchen!

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Old 04-12-11, 09:12 AM   #11
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I usually just drink the bleach solution as a chaser for the OA. Hasn't affected me yet.



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Old 04-12-11, 09:15 AM   #12
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I usually just drink the bleach solution as a chaser for the OA. Hasn't affected me yet.

Neal, we're going to have to customize your browser to block access to Google images. You're incorrigible!
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Old 04-12-11, 09:20 AM   #13
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Glad you're ok, Auchen!

Scott
Ditto.

Imagine what would happen if someone were to add bleach to OA (or ammonia for that matter) in large quantities indoors where it would be impossible to quickly get it outside to fresh air. Basically one has created a toxic smoke bomb indoors that could fumigate the entire building and create a serious health risk for everyone inside. Dumping a gallon of bleach into a 5-gallon bucket with a gallon of ammonia would be a disaster indoors. Dumping a few cupfulls of bleach into a larger container of OA wouldn't be much better I don't imagine. In a multi-family dwelling I'm sure a person would not make a lot of friends with the neighbors

Thank the lucky stars that this wasn't much worse. I tend to do all my OA soaking outdoors unless it is a small drywall mud container under a wheel truing stand for rims, or an old plastic jar with a lid for small parts (old jumbo peanut-butter jars are great for this.) I have never been bothered by off-gassing of a weak OA solution indoors but I don't use more than a teaspoon or two of the crystals with a gallon of water at the very most. Any more than that is overkill anyhow. You don't need much at all to get results and if you get the stuff too strong it is just more work neutralizing when you are done with it.
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Old 04-12-11, 09:23 AM   #14
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I'm lazy (and probably keeping myself safe in my laziness): When the sludge at the bottom of the tray starts getting too think, I dump the load out and mix a new batch.
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Old 04-12-11, 09:30 AM   #15
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Off-gassing? Sounds like what happens when I eat Mexican.

I for one applaud Auchen's sense of frugality. Where would we be if not for the first person to try OA on rust....I shudder.
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Old 04-12-11, 09:51 AM   #16
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Real men don't need instructions!.... Right?
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Old 04-12-11, 10:09 AM   #17
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Anytime you add chlorine or ammonia with another cleaning solution or acidic based solution you run the risk of manufacturing an ad hoc version of good old fashioned WWI mustard gas. Mix chlorine and ammonia and you get straight up bath tub style mustard gas.

Never a good idea.
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Old 04-12-11, 10:22 AM   #18
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Speaking of chemical hazards at work.....My first "real" Job out of college was with a contractor/builder firm where we designed and build institutional facilites and resort parks all over the country. It was a very "macho" firm in the middle of the dairyland where my request for dust masks and gas respirators were pretty much laughed off by most of the other employees and some of the older bosses. Yeah, they were a real tough bunch of guys who did not see anything wrong with inhaling painting furmes (lots of epoxy painting...bye bye liver if you don't watch out) and being around powerful parts cleaning solvents that they used to clean up everything in the shop everyday. We also did a lot of plastic welding and the gasses coming from the melting plastic welding rods were especially nasty. The mastic we used for building our construction models was also really bad, especially when it reacted with the blue and isocyanurate rigid foam insualtion boards we were using to mass out our models.
I think about that place of work once in a while and wonder who might be dead already from taking all that suff in. God knows how many other fresh faced college kids went through the same thing as I did since I left. I still think too that although I did try to always wear the particle masks and respirators when I'm near or handled the chimicals and materials that prooduced particulates and gasses, I could be in much better shape today if I never worked in there, but I guess that's pretty typical of first jobs with peanuts for pay.
So everyone watch out when working with any chemicals as the damage (I suspect genetic damage is not a long stretch) they can do might not just fade away but be permanent and stay with you for the rest of your life and suddenly show up as disease or sickness many years after you encounter them.
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Old 04-12-11, 10:22 AM   #19
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well, live and learn Auchen. Glad you didn't poison or burn yourself.
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Old 04-12-11, 10:24 AM   #20
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Oxalic acid is found in toxic rhubarb leaves. I understand it is a stomach poison. A Wikipedia entry estimates a 25g dose is fatal for a 140 lb human.
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Old 04-12-11, 10:43 AM   #21
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Oxalic acid is found in toxic rhubarb leaves. I understand it is a stomach poison. A Wikipedia entry estimates a 25g dose is fatal for a 140 lb human.
Luckily, eating it isn't required when treating a frame for rust.
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Old 04-12-11, 11:19 AM   #22
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I'm sure if you ate/drank 25g of highly concentrated vinegar it wouldn't be very good for you either. Vinegar is harsher by far than a weak OA solution but nobody seems to have much issue with that. They are both weak acids.

P.S. Don't mix Bleach with Vinegar either -even table vinegar that is safe to drink as it still releases toxic chlorine gases. It's the bleach that is the dangerous stuff to have around the house -not the OA or Vinegar. It's probably one of most dangerous chemicals you have in your house right now as far as volatility when mixed with other things. I don't even like mixing it with laundry detergent in the washing machine and a lot of people don't think twice about using it for cleaning. Nasty dangerous stuff.
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Old 04-12-11, 11:44 AM   #23
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I enjoy this thread. The thought of ominous green smoke encoraching on me is funny yet terrifying. I've done some pretty dumb things while working at my research lab so no judgement here.
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Old 04-12-11, 01:30 PM   #24
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I enjoy this thread. The thought of ominous green smoke encoraching on me is funny yet terrifying. I've done some pretty dumb things while working at my research lab so no judgement here.
Happiness is the new guy with a beaker in his hand and heading for the waste stream drums in the satellite area
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Old 04-12-11, 01:38 PM   #25
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I was working in a lab building doing a remodel job. There was a laborer cleaning up near where I was doing some demolition work ripping out the wiring in the floor boxes preparing for some serious floor cutting that was going to be happening the next day. He kept putting his hand to his neck and saying that something was dripping on him. I looked up above what was left of the drop ceiling in this room to see a clear glass wastewater pipe overhead that was leaking slightly and letting a drip fall every 30 seconds or so. I told him to get the flock out of there because any waste-water that had to be run in a glass pipe was NOTHING he wanted to get all over him.

Laborers aren't hired for their high IQ's...
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