Cleaning products prepared for cleaning

Cleaning Chemicals That You Should Avoid Mixing Together

Some people are guilty of mixing cleaning chemicals at some point in their lives. Perhaps you’ve combined bleach and vinegar together thinking that it’ll be more potent, only to end up coughing excessively after inhaling the fumes. The reality is, mixing cleaning chemicals together can do more harm than good and it can seriously compromise your health. For the safety of you and your family, here is a list of cleaning chemicals that you should avoid mixing together.

Bleach and vinegar

Most homeowners make the mistake of mixing bleach and vinegar together. When combined, these two substances create chlorine gas which, if inhaled, can lead to throat pain and even poisoning. The fumes can also a burning sensation in the mouth and damage your respiratory system. For regular household cleaning, use bleach and vinegar separately so you don’t inhale harmful fumes.

Buying a new bottle of bleach is much better than combining it with vinegar. This is because bleach has a limited shelf life and its potency will decrease slowly over time. Keep in mind that bleach is more of a disinfectant and not a cleaner because it’s main job is to kill germs, not remove dirt from hard surfaces.

Bleach and ammonia

Let’s make one thing clear; mixing bleach and ammonia does not create chlorine. Instead, it produces nitrogen gas which is dangerous if inhaled in large doses. Inhaling nitrogen gas can cause vomiting, unconsciousness, nausea, and even death. Mixing these two substances can also produce compounds such as nitrogen trichloride, hydrazine, chloramine, and dichloramine. These compounds can cause severe lung injury when inhaled.

Instead of mixing bleach and ammonia, you can use non-toxic alternatives like floor cleaners and laundry detergents. For bathroom cleaning, opt for baking soda and distilled white vinegar. Baking soda works best for removing mildew growth and tile grout while vinegar serves as a disinfectant to kill bacteria. Make sure to use these two substances separately to avoid inhaling harmful fumes.

Bleach and acetone

If you’ve noticed already, mixing other cleaning chemicals with bleach is never a good idea. The same thing goes for bleach and acetone. When combined, these two substances can produce chloroform which is a very dangerous compound. This potent compound can knock you unconscious within minutes and can lead to organ damage if inhaled.

Chloroform can severely damage your respiratory system and it can also lead to death in some cases. Depending on the quality of the substances, combining bleach and acetone can also produce phosgene. It’s not as potent as chloroform, but it’s still a dangerous compound that can cause a burning sensation in the eyes and throat when inhaled. Your best bet is to replace the acetone with water.

For household cleaning applications, you can mix one part bleach to two parts water. When using bleach, make sure to have ample ventilation as inhaling bleach for long periods can be harmful to your respiratory system. Bleach can also cause skin irritation so make sure to use gloves when using it for cleaning.

Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide

Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are two of the most commonly used substances for household cleaning. This means that homeowners are also likely to combine both of these for cleaning applications. You can use vinegar and hydrogen peroxide while cleaning, but avoid mixing them in the same container. Mixing these two substances can produce peracetic acid which is a highly corrosive substance.

Peracetic acid can cause skin damage, watery eyes, and lung irritation. Peracetic acid is commonly used as an antimicrobial wash in poultry carcasses and fruits. A much safer alternative is to use bleach or a disinfectant spray. It’s cheap, it’s non-toxic, and is non-corrosive to surfaces it comes in contact with.

Ammonia and chlorine

Ammonia and chlorine react differently when combined together. If there is more ammonia, it’ll produce nitrogen and ammonium chloride. If there is more chlorine, it’ll produce nitrogen trichloride. These can create fumes that are harmful to your respiratory system and can cause eye and skin irritation as well. Just like with bleach and ammonia, a good alternative is to use non-toxic cleaning products or natural cleaning solutions.

Laundry detergent, vinegar, and baking soda are a few things that come to mind. These substances will do the job in terms of cleaning and deodorizing your bathroom.

Bleach and glass cleaner

Glass cleaner contains ammonia while bleach contains sodium hypochlorite. When these two substances are mixed together, it produces chloramine vapour which can cause watery eyes, chest congestion, and a sore throat. It’s not as harmful as chlorine gas, but it still puts you at risk of respiratory damage.

The best way to keep your windows clean is to skip the bleach and use a bucket of warm, soapy water. Scrub the windows with a sponge to dislodge any dirt or debris. To remove hard water stains, dip a cloth into a mixture of water and vinegar and rub it off using your finger. To achieve a glossy shine on your windows, finish it off with glass cleaner and a newspaper. Wipe the windows in a circular motion to achieve a squeaky clean look.

Be careful when using cleaning chemicals

When handling cleaning chemicals, always wear gloves and make sure the area is well-ventilated. Never attempt to mix any cleaning chemicals together as it can result in an adverse reaction that is detrimental to your health. Avoid mixing the chemicals in this list as much as possible and use them separately to prevent the formation of harmful fumes. Consult with a professional dry carpet cleaner like Chemdry Express WA first.