Cleaning & Organizing
20 Common Household Cleaning Products You Should Never Mix
Ignorance isn’t always bliss. These cleaning product combinations can be deadly.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking soda and vinegar can be wonderful, cheap alternatives to household cleaning products on their own, but together they’re not the best team. Because baking soda is basic and vinegar is acidic, combining them results in mostly water, which isn’t toxic but it’s not a cleaning powerhouse.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar
Alone they’re considered great natural cleaning ingredients, but when combined, hydrogen peroxide and vinegar can result in peracetic acid. While the combination will sanitize, it can also be corrosive.
Ammonia and Bleach
These two ingredients are found in quite a few cleaning products, so be sure to check the ingredients lists of your bottles before using them together. Inhaling the vapors can result in respiratory damage and throat burns. Yikes!
Vinegar and Bleach
Despite the combination making for a good disinfectant, when combined, these common cleaning agents are a no-no. The acid in vinegar releases toxic chlorine and chloramine vapors when added to bleach. Beware of this combination causing chemical burns to your eyes and lungs.
Bleach and Rubbing Alcohol
Bleach and rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol make chloroform—the scary stuff you see the bad guys in movies put on rags to knock people out. Although you might not pass out, cleaning with this combo is not recommended.
Different Drain Cleaners
There’s something satisfying about dumping drain cleaner into a clogged sink. But if the clog isn’t breaking up, you may find yourself at the store for more. Remember to purchase the same kind you put down your sink the first time. Mixing different drain cleaners can cause the release of chlorine gas and may even lead to an explosion.
Mildew Stain Remover and Bleach
Mildew stain remover contains acid, which, when combined with bleach, produces chlorine gas. Avoid irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs by steering clear of this combo.
Bleach and Toilet Bowl Cleaner
The mixture of an acidic-based toilet bowl cleaner with bleach is bad for your health. It releases toxic fumes that can cause breathing issues and watery eyes.
Vinegar and Castile Soap
It may not be a dangerous combo, but it’s certainly an ineffective one. Combining vinegar and castile soap (fine, hard white or mottled soap made with olive oil and sodium hydroxide) merely creates a chunky, oily mixture, since the acid in vinegar breaks down the castile soap.
Lysol and Bleach
The disinfectant Lysol shouldn’t be mixed with bleach. The bleach oxidizes the 2-benzyl-4-chlorophenol that is in Lysol, resulting in various irritating and toxic compounds.
Oven Cleaner and Bleach
Bleach is often considered the go-to for getting all sorts of cleaning jobs done, but there are many things it shouldn’t be mixed with, and oven cleaner is one of them. The combination can produce chlorine gas, resulting in irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.
Dish Detergent and Bleach
Many dish detergents on the market today, like Dawn, add ammonia to boost cleaning power. If used in combination with bleach, the reaction will result in toxic gas being formed.
Bleach and Lemon Juice
It makes sense that if acidic commercial cleaning products mix poorly with bleach, a simple addition of acidic lemon juice does too. Avoid the harmful result of chlorine gas by choosing one or the other.
Glass Cleaner and Bleach
Mixing bleach with glass cleaner like Windex releases toxic gases and produces toxic chemicals. One of the ingredients in Windex is ammonia. The combination of ammonia and bleach’s main ingredient, sodium hypochlorite, produces chloramine vapor.
Vinegar and Water (on Hard Wood Floors)
It may not be dangerous, but the combination of vinegar and water to clean your hardwood floors could be costly. Vinegar is acidic, and can damage the finish on your floor, resulting in a dull appearance. Furthermore, a solution of vinegar and water to clean is mostly water and while the combination works for other surfaces, it can result in moisture damage to your hardwood floors.
Antibacterials/Disinfectants and Detergent
Mixing a disinfectant that uses quaternary ammonia with a foaming cleanser (think of mixing Formula 409 Multi-Surface Cleaner with a foamy soap), may seem like the perfect combo to double down on picking up grime, but it actually results in quite the opposite. The combination neutralizes the disinfectant.
Certain Pesticides and Water
Cleaning up around the house can result in some yucky discoveries, like finding bugs and spiders. But before you combine a strong pesticide with water, don’t. Certain pesticides, when combined with water, create deadly phosphine gas.
Different Brands of Cleaning Products
With all the potential combinations listed so far, it’s best to avoid using multiple cleaning products at once. You never know if the mixture could cause irritation, or result in a medical issue. They may even neutralize each other. Avoid dangerous chemical reactions and more by keeping things simple with only one of each cleaning product on hand.
Bleach and Other Cleaning Products
Whether it’s a glass cleaner, dishwasher detergent, toilet cleaner, floor cleaner, wood cleaner or more, combining bleach with various other cleaning products can result in the production of chlorine gas, resulting in severe respiratory and ocular problems. If you must use bleach, use it by itself.