Bleach in Electrical outlets

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by windsmith, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. windsmith

    windsmith Wind Turbine Tech. II

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Albert Lea, MN
    I have just recently had to evict a tenant from a rental property that i have. When i finally was able to get into the house after they moved out, i found bleached stains around all of the outlets and light switched streaming down to the floor. The house reeked of bleach, so i am guessing that they sprayed bleach into all of the outlets and switches. Does anyone know if this could potentially be a fire hazard or any kind of hazard? I have never seen or heard of anyone doing this before. Any advice is very much so needed.
  2. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,239
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    I don't think there are a great number of chemists in the forums that can positively tell us what the long-term effects of a diluted bleach solution on a receptacle.

    If it were mine, I wouldn't worry about it unless there were symptoms of degradation.
    Actually I wouldn't worry about it then either, I would just change the receptacles.
  3. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    988
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Don't you wish you could take someone like this into an alley and give them what they deserve?? :mad:

    Why is it folks who are in the wrong usually go on the offensive like this. I had the same kind of thing happen to my mother years ago. I wanted to kill the guy!!

    So sorry that you can't pay your rent and I am not in a position to let you live there for free. I have a mortgage and taxes to pay.


    Sorry for the rant, I also have no idea if this is a long term problem. I don't think bleach's toxicity lasts after it evaporates.
    Hey, at least they didn't use cat pee.
  4. windsmith

    windsmith Wind Turbine Tech. II

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Albert Lea, MN
    Yeah, the house actually smelled very clean, like bleach. Yes, i am grateful that they didnt relieve themselves all over the carpet (that i am aware of anyway). And yes, they were completely on the offensive. the dude was straight up psycho! Glad to have him out! They were so bad the renter next door moved out. Back to the bleach though, I do know that bleach doesn't just evaporate. It leaves little granules behind, kind of like sand. I know this because it was all over the kitchen counter and floor. I think I may just replace the outlets. They are inexpensive enough and with any luck, when I present all of this to the Judge, they will end up paying me back. Thanks for the advice and Yes, he best hope he doesn't meet me in a dark alley:)
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,315
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; they will end up paying me back.

    What you mean is that you will get a judgement, and HOPE you can collect on it, for which the chances are slim and none.
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Actually, he does have three chances of collecting from them: Slim Fat None
  7. windsmith

    windsmith Wind Turbine Tech. II

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Albert Lea, MN
    Well, thanks for the helpful and encouraging words. No chemists here but I guess we have some lawyers.

    Just looking for some advice on the bleach in outlets. I don't care what you think about me getting my money. I am fully capable of taking care of that.
  8. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Messages:
    1,331
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    I would just replace the recepticals and that way you know are safe.
  9. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,786
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I agree, especially if all the cover plates were on when the bleach was sprayed on the walls and outlets/switches. Wipe off the back of the plates while they are off with a damp cloth or replace them if they got corroded.

    Enjoy the 4th today!
  10. when it's undiluted or almost totally undiluted, it performs one kind of action chemically.
    With a bit more water to dilute it, it does another action. Not bad.
    With more water it turns into soap.

    There are lots of articles you can read here and there that can help you understand what "bleach" is.

    So, you could spray water onto the bleach. (cut power first). It turns it into soap, and then it dries. If you have the time.

    From where I sit, I cannot see smell or sense how much they sprayed. If power was "on" the whole time, it cannot have been much spray. I cannot guess if they intended to be clean freaks, or to sabotage your house. It is not likely that the quantity of bleach is so much that it will damage your drywall to the point that it loses its ability to remain rigid. But, how can I tell from here?
  11. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

    Messages:
    3,820
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    If you do spray it with water, Then I would use deionized water, or you could have other problems.

    Replacement would be best, If the bleach did indeed get into the electrical contacts. You will know if the lights start blinking.


    DonL
  12. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Be glad they were dopes and didnt use Draino or muriatic or nitric acid. Then we could talk!
  13. Ichabod

    Ichabod New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Statesboro, GA
    Bleach is made from sodium chloride and water. When it breaks down the chlorine goes into a gas and the remainder is water and salt. The salt will form crystals. Diluted bleach is an electrically conductive liquid and it is corrosive. If this were my house I would be concerned the recently evicted tenant were doing some illegal cooking in the house that he tried to conceal with the bleach. I think I would get some DEA types in there to sniff around.

    Ichabod
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