My Greatest Fear #21: Chemical Explosions

Remember the original Batman movie? Back before Batman movies were good?

In the movie, The Joker (Jack Nicholson, in a role that people called “not as good as Heath Ledger”) devises a plan to infect the chemicals in commonly used cosmetic products. If used alone, the products have no negative reaction. But when they’re combined, they have a very creepy effect on their victims.

This is one of my greatest fears.

Not that there’s some diabolical madman out there trying to disfigure people. But I worry that mixing the wrong two chemicals–cosmetics, cleaning agents, soda and Mentos–will have disastrous results.

For example, today: I came home and found that Biddy had thrown up a little bit on my carpet. As throw-up goes, it was pretty cute. So I pulled out my trusty foaming carpet cleaner and sprayed the area to scrub it out.

But the bottle was almost empty. So I had to pull out another cleaning agent. And I have to admit, for a half second before I sprayed it on top of the foam, I thought for a second, “What if this explodes in my face?”

Fortunately, that did not happen.

Do you ever worry about this? Perhaps it’s a generational thing limited to people who saw that Batman movie when they were younger. I’m just curious if there’s anyone else out there who is slightly worried that their skin is going to burn off if their toothpaste touches their facial moisturizer.

5 thoughts on “My Greatest Fear #21: Chemical Explosions”

  1. In general, I don’t worry about this, as most things marketed now have to be pretty stable, and have warnings out the yin-yang. But I will say that it s always surprising when something DOES happen. As treatment for the sticks we use for this sport we play (everybody go wikipesda “Hurling” now), we rub them down about once a year with lindseed oil, which you can get at any hardware store. One of our club members discovered the hard way that rags with leftover oil or residue can start a chemical fire, as was the case in the corner of the closet of his Washington Avenue apatrment. He caught it early enough that there was no damage, but nonetheless, I knew oil was flamable, but I had never heard of that kind of thing before. It’s like in Fight club when Edward Norton gets a chemical burn on his hand.

  2. Yes, I fear this FREQUENTLY! There is definitely something to be said about cleaning chemicals, especially if they cause you to cough insanely after using them or someone warns you if it touches your skin your children will be born with three arms. These are the risks that one takes when going into Art school, or merely just thoroughly cleaning their bathroom.

    On another note…

    There is a special type of wood glue my parents used when they were up, (they were trying to fix my drawing table) and apparently if the applicator you use isn’t cleaned out after a certain amount of time, it will combust on the spot. The applicators they used; old socks without mates. For three weeks now I’ve left these socks on my patio under an outdoor ottoman for fear of them bursting into flames. Surely its safe now considering how much rain we’ve had and considering my parents are very thorough when it comes to their woodworking skills, but still, its not a risk I’m willing to take. I just consider the socks to be part of the pretty landscaping.

  3. (o.o) You think Biddy’s puke was cute? Do you want a side of poo with that? Just joking. But the thought of hairball… eww.

    Anyway, I think as long as you are not pouring one can of cleaner liquid into another can of cleaner liquid, you should should be fine. This post reminded me of how a friend of mine made a new nail polish color by pouring one polish into another, shook it, ran to Mom to show her the awesomeness, and exploded midway of the journey in her hands and coloring her and parts of the kitchen floor. If you are really concerned of using one cleaning agent after another, you can rinse the area with some water and let it dry before using the other cleaner to finish the rest. Look no chemical burn holes on the floor or on your clothes or you!

  4. I DO have this fear! I think my fear comes from my mom freaking out like I was going to die after finding out I cleaned the bathtub with windex and then bleach when I was a kid.

    Also, not sure I’ve ever seen cute puke… 🙂

  5. 1. The original Batman was fantastic. “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

    2. When I run out of carpet cleaner, I use laundry detergent on my cats’ decidedly uncute puke. It doesn’t work as quickly, there’s a bit more scrubbing involved, but I know I always have it and eventually it will come up. It has to, the carpet is beige and rented.


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