My wife just mixed bleach and 409

  1. That's right. Half a bottle of 409 (dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride) and the other half bleach. The bottle started getting hot, so I put it outside for now. The question is, what abomination is in that bottle? Am I dealing with chlorine gas? Thanks for any answers.
  2. jcsd
  3. jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Any chemical mix with bleach is a bad combination:

    I had a friend do this and his wife, a nurse nearly killed him. I was really surprised as he was an engineer with a fairly rigorous background but I guess not in chemistry. This is one example of what you don't know can truly kill you.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2013
  4. thanks for the reply. My old lady was saying that it isn't bad because ammonium isn't ammonia. do you know if that small technicality makes a difference?
  5. Yes, I believe you're dealing with chlorine gas. The 409 likely lowered the pH of the bleach's buffer solution which will allow chlorine to come out of solution.
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  6. thanks!
  7. well, 409 spray cleaner is not really dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, it is a mixture of ingredient
    it contains mostly water, then a mixture of surfactants (nonionic and cationic) and a proprietary mixture of solvents, alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride @0.3% and Lauryldimethylamine oxide @1.0%, ph adjusters, fragrance and dye. The 0.3% is sufficient for surface disinfection.
    Clorox doesn't recommend mixing it with anything,

    Mixing anything with bleach is risky,
    However for severe cleaning I do use a mixture of double strength "Bleach" and potassium hydroxide (potassium lye).
  8. chemisttree

    chemisttree 3,717
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Proprietary mixture of solvents = butyl cellosolve (ethylene glycol monobutyl ether)

    Edit: That's wrong. It looks like Chlorox reformulated 409 without EB and they are now using ethanolamine. That explains the reaction with bleach. It made the monochloramine of ethanolamine and perhaps a bit of the dichloramine. It is also possible the alcohol end was oxidized to the carboxylate. Likely non-volatile and would act as a pretty good disinfectant. If the OP complained of irritating gases, perhaps chlorine is the culprit.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013
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