Friday, October 21, 2011

Old Enough to Know Better

Sometimes I wonder how I'm going to come up with new ideas for posts on my blogs.  I shouldn't worry.  Everyday life usually provides some fodder. And today is no exception.

I did something rather stupid today (Thursday).  My toilets needed cleaning, badly.  I usually use the Clorox drop-ins to help with automatic cleaning, and they had evidently long been dissolved.  I put it off (I know, gross, right?) until this morning, I decided to finally "eat the frog" (which is a productivity tactic of doing what you dread the most first to get it out of the way).

I dug under the main bathroom sink to find the toilet cleaner, something called The Works which my husband had bought some time before.  I had thrown away my toilet scrubber and had not replaced it (but will be soon!).  I decided to just use a washcloth.

So I squirted the stuff in there and went to work -- without gloves.  I wanted it done quickly, you see, and never even THOUGHT about there being any danger.  I noticed that my hands started itching, so after I cleaned the first toilet, I washed with soap and water.  I moved on to my bathroom and, same thing, itchy hands.  I washed my hands, then decided to look on the back of the bottle. Hazardous!  Use Gloves!  If it gets on skin, call Poison Control!   Whaaaaat?  So I ran cold water over my hands for about 5 minutes, and then called Poison Control for the first time in my life.  Fortunately, I already had the number in my phone.

Here it is for you:  1-800-222-1222  Put it in your phone.  You never know when you might need it!  (And, by the way, they also have a free app!)

The lady was very helpful.  She told me to run my hands under running water for another five minutes and to treat like any other burn, putting cold compresses on it throughout the day.  She asked me how old I was.  I told her, "39 - old enough to know better."  She kinda laughed and said it happens to all of us.

My hands were still red and I could imagine blisters forming.  I debated on calling my doctor and making my appointment.  I like my doctor, but I do NOT like the long wait time, especially with a cranky toddler.  This is my regular primary physician, not my OB-GYN.  My OB-GYN can do no wrong (after all, she delivered my baby).

Reading on the back of The Works bottle, I found out that the stuff is 20% hydrogen chloride, some derivative of hydrochoric acid, big bad stuff in the chemical department.  I started off as a chemistry major, switched to science education with a chemistry minor.  Don't be too impressed: I've forgotten 95% of anything I ever learned.  Except that HCl is some bad stuff.  I remember making the Lab TA get it for me because I was scared of the stuff!  This is the same reason why I do not clean my oven.  That is my husband's job, and before that, my mom's job.  Nope, not kidding, not touching it.

I remembered that the home remedy for getting jalapeno juice on your hands is to putting your hands in milk.  So I poured some milk in an oval, french white baking dish, and dipped my hands in.  COLD!  But it did the trick!  The redness went away.  I have it sitting on the counter to dip in every so often.

Now I think I will be on the lookout for some nonhazardous cleaning supplies.  I already tossed The Works in the trash.  Not going through that again!  I may just use some shampoo I don't like; after all, FlyLady says "soap is soap."
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  1. You poor thing! If I am gonna have to clean the grossest thing in the house then I want all of the nasty to die. I could so see how this could happen. Hope your hands continue to feel better. :-)

  2. Wow, I had no idea that stuff was so dangerous. I always use a toilet brush though. The oven is interesting...I clean it without gloves and have never had a problem. But I'm using gloves from now on after reading this! :) Hope you are feeling better now.

  3. I am soo sorry that you hurt your hands like that. That's terrible! Around our house we use vinegar and baking soda. Much safer and cost tons less too!!

    Did you know you can put milk in your eyes if you happen to get jalapeno juice in them?? It works! I tried it with my daughter who was right at counter-level-height at the time. It cleared her up in a 'jiffy'!! :) So glad you're doing better now!

    ~ Angela

  4. Thanks, y'all! I didn't have any problems after that.

    Angela - just to clarify, do you use the vinegar and baking soda for your toilet or for your hands? Ever since you wrote, I thought you meant you use it to help hurting hands, but it just occurred to me that you probably meant you use vinegar and baking soda to clean the toilet.