I’ve always associated the smell of bleach with being clean and germ free. I’ve used it diluted with water in a spray bottle to clean my counters, poured it into my toilets, cleaned my grout, and freshened my lawn furniture. I dye my own fibers for my artwork so my hands have been all kinds of colors. I’ve been known to pour it straight from the bottle onto my hands to get the color off. I knew not to mix it with ammonia and to use it in ventilated areas, but I never knew the real danger until this last week. My friend was doing spring cleaning over spring break vacation. She had diluted bleach in a sprayer cleaning her roof. The full container was there on the roof with her too. She was wearing sneakers and socks and a sweat suit. I don’t know how it happened, but somehow the full container turned over on her and soaked her feet, legs and one side. The bleach made the ladder slippery so she couldn’t get down fast. The bleach soaked clothes clung to her. Now this is unbelievable, but in the time it took her to get down and get those sneakers and socks off, the bleach gave her THIRD degree burns. Third degree. That’s the worst that can happen to you in a fire. The top of her foot is burned so badly that the joint will have to have skin grafts. Her knee is also badly burned but may escape needing grafts. Honestly, I was horrified. When I saw her back at work, I felt sick. These are serious wounds. Flashback to all of the times I had poured bleach over my fingers to get that dye off. Flashback to having a container of it sitting in the bathroom with a child in the house. As much as I thought I knew about cleaners and sanitizing items, I had no idea that this could happen. Stow that bleach in a safe place and guard your children and pets. The nerve endings on the top of her ankle are dead, and she now faces serious surgery. If you want to sanitize your counters, use diluted hydrogen peroxide or vinegar. And spread the word: bleach burns!