SAFETY: Common Cleaners Can Turn Into Poison Gas

This personal story is a reminder to heed warnings and precautions noted on the labeling and Safety Data Sheets of all cleaners and solutions used in the home and shop!

by Brew Dude at BREW Bikes LLC (
American Iron Magazine (Article Published 2009)

“Yep, I thought I was a goner this time! How simple it was to get in trouble. After seeing and reading so many warning labels, we tend to no longer pay them any heed. We buy chemicals and spays at a local parts house and think “How can this be so bad, health-wise, if I’m buying it over the counter?”

I had a rush job to do welding four diesel tanks. I had to patch where they were pitted by road salt corrosion. Normally, I spray a little carb cleaner on the spot I’m going to weld, wipe it off, and then preheat the area with acetylene torch to get rid of any solvents. Where I normally get carb cleaner was sold out, so I got a can of brake cleaner and went through my regular routine. To be on the safe side, I even had the shop door open and the exhaust fan on.

I started TIG welding on Thursday afternoon and had no problem at first. But when I started welding across a really pitted area, I found a couple of drops of cleaner that were lurking in a deep dimple. As I came close to the cleaner, a small puff of white smoke popped up, and I almost passed out.”

This is just the beginning of Brew Dude’s story of how a small whiff of smoke turned into an extended life-threatening incident… just by substituting one cleanser for another.

Download the PDF to read the full story!
FULL ARTICLE: Common Cleaners Can Turn Into Poison Gas

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Garn (Brew Dude) is the owner of BREW Bikes LLC, a machine & fabrication shop located in the mountains of northwest North Carolina.  The name BREW is the acronym for Blue Ridge Electric & Welding.

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