Dangers of CLR Cleaner
CLR Cleaner is fantastic at removing rust. I have used it many of times in our washbasin. Our faucets leave a rust stain down the back of the basin and it looks terrible. Whenever the rust stains got bad enough to bother me, I would clean them up very easily with CLR. I started using CLR all over my bathroom and kitchen. It powered through all of the buildup around all of my faucets and it cleaned my shower and made it look better than ever. When I find a great cleaner I tend to stick with it. However, once I found out about the dangers of using CLR, I threw it away and found a much safer alternative.
CLR Cleaner is a very strong acid. Its corrosive nature is the basis for its tremendous cleaning power and why you have to wear heavy rubber gloves when using it. Only use CLR in a well-ventilated room. Make sure that you rinse anything that you have cleaned with CLR with tons of cool water. You must be absolutely positive that you have removed all of the CLR residue before any other cleaning agents touch the surface. Mixing CLR with other cleaners can release extremely toxic fumes that can harm you and your family. I have read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) from Jelmar's site, it explains the concerns that you should have when you use their product.
Having to give up such a great cleaner was a simple choice. I will always choose the safety of my family over saving a little elbow grease. Luckily, I have found a great alternative that is completely safe. White vinegar can easily replace Calcium Lime Rust Cleaner for every task that I had ever used it for and it costs a whole lot less. I have to say that I have a problem with the smell of vinegar, but I would rather suffer through a little smell than hurt myself or my family. White vinegar is also a great way to kill mold and sanitize bathrooms! If you have a clogged shower head, remove it and soak it in a bowel full of vinegar overnight. It will be like new in the morning!