In a bid to remove tough stains, and keep our homes clean and properly sanitized we might be tempted to get creative by combining cleaning products we should never mix.
People often feel that, since one product works well in removing stains, mixing it with another cleaning product will make it even better, but that’s not the case.
Certain products, which are safe and effective when used alone, can sometimes cause dangerous fumes or other chemical reactions when mixed with other products.
And even if the mixture isn’t dangerous or toxic to you, you can’t be so sure what effect it would have on a surface or fabric when combined.
Without further ado here are 6 cleaning products you should never mix and why
Cleaning Products You Should Never Mix
1. Bleach + Vinegar
Vinegar is an acid and its potential for toxicity shouldn’t be underestimated.
It has a low pH, usually under three. When vinegar is mixed with bleach, the combination sounds like a strong disinfectant, but it’s not, instead a toxic chlorine gas is formed.
Even at low levels, this gas can cause coughing, breathing problems, and watery eyes.
2. Ammonia + Bleach
Most times, this mixture occurs by accident because many cleaning products contain ammonia. The reaction of ammonia and bleach results in chloramines which can cause the same symptoms as bleach and vinegar — along with shortness of breath and chest pain.
Lots of glass and window cleaners contain ammonia, so never mix those with bleach.
3. Vinegar + Baking Soda
We’re sure you must have seen lots of cleaning hacks involving a mixture of these online, especially forcleaning microwaves. Although these household products are useful on their own, we suggest you avoid any cleaning hack that involves the combination of this duo.
Vinegar is acidic and baking soda basic, so when they’re mixed together you get mostly water and sodium acetate. Vinegar can cause the baking soda to foam up and If stored in a closed container, the mixture can explode.
4. Drain Cleaner + Drain Cleaner
We wouldn’t recommend mixing two drain cleaners, we also wouldn’t advise you to use one right after another.
Drain cleaners have powerful formulas and could possibly explode if combined.
Depending on the brand and type of drain cleaner, chemical compositions will vary.
Bleach will likely be an ingredient in a drain cleaner, and as such should not be mixed with another because it can potentially react and generate toxic fumes, so it’s advisable to stick to using only one drain cleaner at a time.
5. Hydrogen Peroxide + Vinegar
Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar is another set of cleaning product you should never mix. This is because vinegar contains acetic acid and when mixed with hydrogen peroxide forms a chemical called peracetic acid.
Peracetic acid is potentially toxic and corrosive, meaning it can damage or break down the surface it’s applied to.
Besides the effect of this mixture on surfaces, it can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system.
6. Bleach + Alcohol-Based Cleaning Products (Rubbing Alcohol)
Bleach and alcohol-based cleaning products are one mixture you should never, ever mix.
Alcohol-Based Cleaning Products are really good for cleaning and disinfecting but can be dangerous when mixed with bleach.
Most rubbing alcohol have a high concentration of alcohol and when they react with bleach results in chloroform and chloroacetone, both of which are toxic and dangerous.
Chloroform can knock you unconscious, and Chloroacetone is no better, having been used as tear gas in World War I.
What You Should Do If You Have Combined Cleaning Products You Should Never Mix
The best way to stay safe is not to mix two cleaning products, and if you must, then it should be with water. So if you don’t understand the contents of your cleaning product please don’t mix any.
But if you’ve accidentally or intentionally mixed cleaning products you should never mix, then take measures immediately to reduce their potency by opening up some windows or doors so the toxic gas can escape and be replaced with fresh air.
Also, we suggest you wear protective gloves when cleaning to prevent any chemical burns or irritation to your skin.
Finally, while cleaning, if you start having symptoms like shortness of breath or chest pain, quickly get out of the room and get as much fresh air as you can.