I was washing my clothes outside and I used bleach, ammonia, and laundry detergent, which unfortunately got into the soil in my garden where I grow herbs such as rosemary, tomatoes, ect. I washed the soil with water. But now I am afraid my plants will die from the bleach? Also, can I eat the tomatoes now that they have been exposed to bleach in their soil?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Ann: I think your herbs and tomatoes will be just fine. Of course they would not appreciate this happening more than once. I am assuming that it was only a small amount that actually ended up in the soil, and if you watered soon after this happened the soil would have been diluted and likely not taken up by the roots of your plantings. You would be able to tell if your plants were having adverse effects. The foliage would physically look wilted, burned, or defoliated. If there is not any sign of stress by now, I think they are fine to use. On a side note that has nothing to do with gardening, I am concerned that you are combining bleach with ammonia. This combination is very toxic even in very low concentrations. It forms chlorine gas that is very harmful to your lungs and can lead to respiratory problems. Please be careful!