25 Jun 7 Cleaning Products That Should Never Be Mixed
There are plenty of different cleaning products on the market, and it might be tempting to try and combine some of your favorite substances to see if they can make even more of an impact.
Unfortunately, chemistry is a fickle mistress, and while some cleaning product combos are perfectly fine, there are a few that you should try to avoid mixing at all costs.
Here is an in-depth look at the products that you need to keep separate, as well as why this is so important from a health and safety perspective.
Bleach & Ammonia
Bleach has plenty of household uses and can kill off lots of nasty germs when applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
You shouldn’t let bleach touch your skin or inhale its fumes in normal circumstances. If you blend it with ammonia, the resulting reaction creates chloramines, which is much more problematic.
Chloramine is a toxic gas, and if it gets into your lungs it will make it difficult to breathe and could also create a pain in your chest. So for obvious reasons, you really don’t want to get bleach and ammonia too close to one another.
Drain Cleaner & Drain Cleaner
No, that isn’t a typo, but a great piece of advice. If you have two different brands of drain cleaner to hand, avoid the temptation to bang both of them down the sink at the same time.
There are lots of different formulas used by drain cleaner manufacturers, so no two products in this category are alike. Since you won’t know how two different cleaners will react when they are mixed, it is best to steer clear of finding this out.
This isn’t just about the potential for a violent chemical reaction occurring, but also down to the fact that different drain cleaners have different guidelines for use. So rather than playing Russian roulette with your drain cleaners, follow the instructions and keep them separate.
If you’ve tried to unblock a particularly stubborn clog and it won’t shift, don’t keep pouring drain cleaner down the sink and hoping for the best. In this situation, it’s important to get in touch with a plumber, as professional assistance is the only answer.
Baking Soda & Vinegar
We’ve all done the experiment as children; you take baking soda and vinegar, mix the two in a test tube and pop a balloon over the top. The result is a reaction that produces gas, inflating the balloon and entertaining young science-lovers everywhere.
When these two ingredients are used in household cleaning products, the effect is similar. Unfortunately, a lot of homemade cleaners involve a combination of baking soda and vinegar, which is a recipe for disaster.
Not only will they create a bad smell and a residue, but if you put both of them in a sealed bottle or container and leave them on a shelf, the pressure will build up to the point that the lid pops off, spraying your freshly-cleaned home with brackish suds.
This is a word of warning about following instructions for do-it-yourself cleaning solutions that you find online. Not all of them will be effective, but in some cases they might be actively unhelpful.
Hydrogen Peroxide & Vinegar
If you have hydrogen peroxide knocking about in your cupboard, then you’ll already know that this is a corrosive substance that needs to be treated with care. It can be handy when combined with vinegar in a spray bottle, letting you apply small amounts to your kitchen surfaces to keep them sparkling and free from germs.
The mistake you want to avoid making is leaving hydrogen peroxide and vinegar mixed in a container for extended periods. They react with one another, generating peracetic acid that will damage skin, irritate eyes and cause issues if inhaled.
To avoid this, always make sure to dispose of any homemade cleaner involving hydrogen peroxide and vinegar after you have finished with it.
Bleach & Vinegar
Our old friend vinegar is up to its old tricks once again, causing a kerfuffle when combined with bleach.
This time the outcome of the unholy union is chlorine gas, which once again is toxic enough to create all sorts of problems for anyone who is unlucky enough to come into immediate contact with it.
From respiratory issues to a burning sensation on exposed skin, you do not need to have much chlorine gas in the vicinity to start feeling the ill effects of its presence. Keep your bleach well away from your vinegar so that you don’t end up brewing up any by accident.
Bleach & Rubbing Alcohol
As our chemistry lesson continues, it’s time to look at how bleach interacts with rubbing alcohol. Both of these substances are often found in the same place in a domestic environment, but when they join forces they will conjure up chloroform.
Chloroform isn’t strong enough to make you fall unconscious, no matter what you might think after watching films about the kidnapping. However, it is still fairly toxic and will leave your skin feeling itchy and irritated, as well as causing harm to any other part of your body that comes in contact with it.
Your eyes are especially sensitive, as are your lungs, so even if you don’t actually touch the substances we’ve mentioned so far, you can still be adversely affected by them. It is always better to play it safe and stick to cleaning products that you know are stable, rather than coming up with your own concoctions.
Bleach & Any Other Cleaning Products
If it hasn’t become obvious already, bleach is not something you want to be blending with other cleaning products, no matter the task you are intending to tackle.
Everything from window sprays to liquid soaps will be a bad match for bleach, so experimentation simply isn’t worth the risk.
The only thing you can add to bleach is water, and it’s important to reiterate that you should always read the label of any cleaning product to make sure you use it correctly, without putting yourself or others in danger.
Extra Tips To Consider
When you have a lot of cleaning to do at home, it might seem best to throw everything you can at the problem and use as many cleaning products as possible. But in reality, you should steer clear of a trial and error approach, as only those with chemistry degrees should toy with toxic substances.
Whenever you do use potentially dangerous products like bleach, remember to give the surfaces a good rinse with clean water afterward. This is important because most cleaning products are designed to kill germs, but are themselves harmful to humans.
Ideally, you should opt for a gentler alternative to bleach and ammonia, which is where DIY cleaning solutions can come in useful. Just be aware that there is no sure-fire combination that works in every situation.
Finally, you should endeavor to keep all of your cleaning products in a place that leaves them inaccessible to young children. Even vinegar is enough to give a youngster an upset tummy if consumed, so store everything out of reach and you’ll have total peace of mind.