How should I clean my bathroom? Meg is a conservationist who permits only Bon Ami into the house but I want a clean white tub at home and believe that only Ajax-style bleach with cleanser can do the job. Can this marriage be saved?
enter OxyClean laundry supplement :
As a chemist I was skeptical that a bleach alternative would do the job in the bathroom but I tried it anyway: poke a hole in the cardboard side of the Bon Ami cannister, dump in Oxy Clean (sodium carbonate & sodium percarbonate), enough so that it is half an inch deep on the cleanser pile. Shake it all to mix it up. Now use the Bon Ami and a scrubbie to clean your sink, tub, or toiliet.
I did this yesterday, mixed up some 10:1 Bon Ami Cleanser andOxy Clean and I, The Skeptical Chemist, am pleased to announce that it worked! My tub is whiter even than Ajax makes it! Caveat: I would assume that sodium percarbonate probably decomposes when exposed to air so the cleanser will probably poop out before you finish the can. Either add more bleach alternative every 5 months or store it airtight somehow.
I've been busy this semester with a new class: Forensic science. The science of crime solving is my new strategy for spreading the good news of science to the portion of the student body who previously didn't want to buy what I'm selling.
So far it seems to be working; parents and other teachers report positive chatter about forensics outside of class.
I like forensics as a science class because it allows me to go broad, touching on all the different disciplines I like to teach. In a typical week I teach them biology, a little chemistry, a little physics, a LOT of math [a great achievement for this particular student audience], and even English and history.
Thursday and Friday we spent two days on the microscope looking at $35 worth of pollen bearing flowers that I bought in the neighborhood. Fairly cheap student light microscopes gave decent views for them to sketch the pollen of Lillies, daisies, gladiolas, and a few flowers that I haven't gotten the correct name for. If we had more time there are routes of inquiry I wish we could follow on this, because the flowers that DIDN'T yield viewable pollen interest me as much as the ones that did. (One of the main things they taught us in research at Ohio State is that a negative research result can be exploited just as well as a positive one if you're clever and curious.)
I didn't take any pollen pictures under the microscope yet but here is a picture of my own skin cells that I took Tuesday with a hand held camera and the microscope at 400x power: