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Cleaning products -- What could turn the clear Dettol antibacterial spray fluorescent yellow?

  1. Jan 28, 2015 #1
    Hello,

    I was wondering if someone knew what product/chemical could turn the clear Dettol antibacterial spray fluorescent yellow. I sprayed some Dettol onto a bit of kitchen towel and wiped my tap with it and the Dettol on the kitchen towel instantly turned fluorescent yellow.

    I tried it again a few minutes later but it didn't do it again. Clearly there must have been something on the tap that either was fluorescent yellow (I really doubt it...) or something that reacted with the Dettol. But what could it have been?

    Any ideas?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 29, 2015 #2

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    What have you used to clean the tap before applying the spray?
     
  4. Jan 29, 2015 #3
    Nothing, I only ever use my Dettol spray :-/
     
  5. Jan 30, 2015 #4

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    You didn't even wash it with a water and some kind of detergent?

    I don't want to even try to imagine how it must look like if that's the way you treat it ;)
     
  6. Jan 31, 2015 #5
  7. Jan 31, 2015 #6

    Quantum Defect

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    This sounds to me more like you have something on the faucet that is being dissolved in the Dettol. I have used dyes before, where it is very difficult to see a spilled bit of dye, but when wiping up the spill, you suddenly see lots and lots of color!

    This is actually how the first synthetic dye (Mauve) was discovered. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_William_Henry_Perkin

    Some natural pigments will also change color when exposed to different pH (indicators) -- If your cleaner is alkaline it may be taking something that is near colorless and making it bright-bright. There was a funny story of a chemsitry teacher with a beard who had eaten some food (with turmeric). His students noticed the yellow in his normally snow-white beard and laughed at him. He went to wash the stuff out with soap (alkaline), and the color became a very bright, day-glo orange! Here is a Youtube video showing this (minus the beard):

    Here is the link to the turmeric beard anecdote:
    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/ed072p540
     
  8. Jan 31, 2015 #7

    Borek

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    That's exactly why I asked about what happened prior to applying the spray.
     
  9. Feb 10, 2015 #8
    Thank you all so much for your replies! vemvare, it's the Dettol Surface Cleanser, at the bottom of the list.
    Borek, yes I just use the spray straight onto the appliances. Shouldn't I? Oops!
    Quantum Defect, thank you for the funny story and the video, very interesting. Maybe there was some kind of spice on my tap, it is a possibility.
     
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