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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering if bleach can go bad. Not in the sense that it isn't usable, but in the sense that something happened to cause the bleach to make a bottle swell up?

I'm in the process of cleaning out my Dad's house since he passed away and I came across a bottle of bleach that is all swelled up. Swelled up in that the plastic bottle doesn't even sit flat on the floor, and the handle is all swelled up that it's hard to fit my hand on the handle.

The frugal part of me says "don't waste it", so I've taken it down to the cellar waiting for the next laundry load that needs some bleach. I'm going to open the bottle very carefully - with my face AWAY from the opening, and slowly twist the cap off, and if the seal is still "sealed", slowly pry it open.

But I wonder what made it swell up to begin with. I have no idea how old it is, although I'm guessing almost 5 years old at least. I don't think it froze (it's inside the house). Being inside, I would guess over the 5 (+?) years it's seen temperature extremes of 50 degrees to 90 degrees.

It apparently hasn't reached "the exploding" pressure yet, so I will be careful in opening it to let the pressure off slowly, but any idea what would cause it to swell up to begin with? Or does "old" bleach do that?
 

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I don't think that I would drink it.

I did find this:

A little known problem with long term storage of bleach in your disaster emergency supply cache is that it degrades over time. Consulting a Chlorox bleach representative produced this statement:

“We recommend storing our bleach at room temperatures. It can be stored for about 6 months at temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. After this time, bleach will be begin to degrade at a rate of 20% each year until totally degraded to salt and water. Storing at temperatures much higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit could cause the bleach to lose its effectiveness and degrade more rapidly. However, if you require 6% sodium hypochlorite, you should change your supply every 3 months.”
From: http://www.survivaltopics.com/survi...-use-calcium-hypochlorite-to-disinfect-water/
 

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Be very very careful opening it, wear gloves and do it over a sink, protect your face just in case, but I don't think bleach ever "spoils."
 

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I knew that bleach weakens with time, as Oggie posted, but I've never heard of it swelling up. Why not e-mail the maker of your bleach & ask? Then post their answer here so us curious types will know!
 

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Bleach is light sensitive, that's why it's always sold in white plastic bottles. I would guess that it has started to break down from being exposed to light too long, and the pressure inside is from chlorine gas. Don't know that for sure, but I wouldn't open in inside the house. Go out the back door and open it outside in fresh air.
 

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Actually the chlorine ends up as part of salt from the decomposiiton. The gas builup is oxygen gas. I still would be careful opening it though. Gas under pressure can cause contents to spray, and if the decomposition reaction isn't complete you could end up spraying bleach where you don't want it. It wouldbe a weaker solution but still could be bad if it got in eyes or on surfaces you don't want bleached.

Kendall
 

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Sometimes in higher elevations packages can swell up. When we go up to the snow which is in the 5000ft and up mark, our lunches and anything that was sealed bloats up. It's funny to see the kids bags of chips and soda bottles all blown up the kids get a big kick out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I inspected the bottle and Yes, it is a bottle of bleach - not something else in a bleach bottle. (Dollar store kind - no name brand or anything.)

So I gently and slowly unscrewed the lid. Nothing. I tired peeling back the seal on top of the bottle - why do they put those seals on with nothing to grab onto to pull? So I ended up using the end of my key to slowly put a small hole in the seal. It slowly leaded out some pressure - and that was it.

It looks like bleach and smells like bleach, so I would say it is bleach - not some deteriorated prodect.

Sorry guys - no major bottle explosion or opening the bottle and getting bleach all over everything!
 
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