Wednesday, August 21, 2013

On Doing Acid

Today, I did acid. I didn't mean to, it kind of just happened in the way that surfing the internet often leads to using dangerous chemicals. It wasn't planned. When I woke up this morning, I was just looking for a solution, something to help get through the day. And let me tell you, the acid worked. But not without a scary side effect and a few moments of panic.

Let me explain...

I currently live with three other people; David, J and BP. A couple of weeks ago, we received some uninvited guests in the form of drain moths. Drain moths are those little black flies that at first glance seem like fruit flies as they invade the kitchen where fruit is often kept, but then they also invade the bathroom where we don't tend to store fruit. At first, it is no big deal, a single solitary fly. And then there are hundreds. On the cabinets, the counter, the dishes and toothbrushes. We have tried to get rid of them, but to no avail and this morning just before leaving for the day, David says he is going to look online to see how to get rid of them. Being laid up and with not many options for action right now, I volunteered for the task and started my research. I learned things I never knew I was lacking and before I knew it, I had identified the culprit not as the fruit fly, but as the drain moth. Drain moths are commonly called that as they tend to breed in the drains of kitchens and sinks, feeing on the decaying flesh and slime that lines the inside of most, if not every household drain. They are annoying to get rid of, because you have to kill the eggs, and to do so is no so easy.

One solution was to use a non-toxic drain cleaner and insecticide to both get rid of the attracting scum and slime and also kill the unhatched eggs. Just as I found the solution, J yells at me to come talk to her so she can complain about the flies and I, of course, happily offer up a solution and my bank card for her to go to the corner hardware store to pick up supplies. She does just that, but instead of bringing back a biologically friendly and safe solution, she brings back something that contains sulfuric acid. The plastic bottle is wrapped in another protective bag and there are skulls and crossbones all over the label. I don't have the best feeling about. That is some serious stuff, and people on CSI have been known to use it to get rid of a body. When I mention that I said biologically or eco-friendly, she told me it was all they had and that the guy told her it would work.

Being on crutches with a questionable balance at best, I decided to leave it up to J to carefully pour the liquid in the the drains, wait fifteen minutes and then rinse thoroughly. I remind her to open all the windows and make sure the dog is secured. I also give her some sunglasses just to make sure she doesn't accidentally blind herself. I am in my room, and I can hear her shouting out random updates. “Wow, this stuff is amazing!” “Oh my God, this is really working!” “This stuff smells like rotten eggs!” That last thing she said as the unmistakable smell of sulfur wafts into my room. Then I hear her scream “Robb! Robb! Get in here now!” I have visions J melting like the witch from Wizard of Oz. What would I tell the police? Would they believe me? Would I need to give DNA? And I had no alibi except that I was in my room. Alone. That never goes over very well.

I decide to hop my way across the hall and in the bathroom, is a formerly white bathtub that has turned the color of poopy brown. My first thought was that J had poured acid all over everything, but it turns out, it was a reaction to the fumes. It looked so bad, I made the immediate decision that all future showers would be done outside, under the hose. We rinsed and rinsed, filling the bathtub and letting drain. The color lifted slightly, but not to where it made any difference. J went back to the hardware store and they gave her those magic eraser sponges. I can tell you with certainty, they don't work. At least not on bathtub stains caused by a chemical reaction to the sulphuric acid fumes. All I could think was that I did not want to buy a new bathtub, and I started thinking up all kinds of plausible excuses to give the landlords. 

We knew right away that we would need some sort of detergent, but the acid liquid is not to be mixed with any other chemical, so we filled and drained the tub. Making sure all the acid was rinsed away and then tried a tiny bit of the toilet bleach gel, the kind that sticks to the sides. We tried a tiny little spot and it worked perfectly. We filled the bathtub with water and put a little bleach in it to let it soak. That combined with a little of the gel bleach to get the higher areas and the tub looks better that it ever has.
As of now, the flies in the bathroom are gone and hopefully, they will stay that way.

Whoever said dropping a little acid couldn't be a good thing?


  1. I am not sure who said that, but we now all know better, don't we.

    Listen, I have many fruit flies here (no, not drain moths), would you mind having a look to see if we can maybe shoot some horse, or dump a bit of speed to get rid of them?

  2. LMAO thanks Robb, I needed that chuckle! (although I was mildly panicked when I read the title of your posting and naive me thought "No Robb! No! Don't try it!"

    I'm such a dork.