For most people, cleaning up their house is not very fun. It’s a laborious task, and can cut into free time that you could be enjoying! While cleaning though, you need to take time and care about what you’re doing, not just fantasize about getting the job done and what you’ll do afterward. This is because chemical cleaners, unlike all natural, environmentally-friendly options, can be dangerous when mixed. For example, while a lot of people know that bleach and ammonia shouldn’t be mixed, they often don’t know what can happen when they are, or what common household products contain bleach and ammonia. These two chemicals are not the only things that should not be mixed. However, many other products should not be mixed, and that can be dangerous and result in injuries and also damage your property.


Here are six combinations that should not be combined:


  1. Ammonia & Bleach


There is a common misconception that combining ammonia and bleach will create mustard gas, a chemical used in chemical warfare. What it actually produces is chlorine gas, which was also a gas weaponized during World War I & II if you want to understand just how dangerous it is. There are a lot of products that contain these chemicals that you may not know about. Bleach is in Clorox and most toilet bowl cleaners, and ammonia is in Windex and most glass cleaners. These are incredibly common, and if you aren’t careful and they get mixed up, they have the potential to be deadly.


What happens when ammonia and bleach are combined is the bleach breaking down. This breakdown creates hydrochloric acid, which reacts with ammonia and produces chloramine vapours. When inhaled, due to their toxicity, they can be fatal. The combined ammonia and bleach also have the possibility of boiling, which results in a spray of toxic and boiling hot chemicals. Chlorine gas is also incredibly fast acting, and if enough of it is inhaled at once, a person can be rendered unconscious in seconds.


Familiarize yourself with what products contain bleach and ammonia in your home, and make sure they are never mixed and are stored separately.


  1. Bleach & Rubbing Alcohol


Bleach should only ever be mixed with water to dilute it to make it safe for cleaning use. When combined with other chemicals it will result in devastating chemical reactions that can cause lifelong damage to those exposed. When you combine bleach and rubbing alcohol, you can create chloroform. Bleach has sodium hypochlorite in it, which reacts with alcohol to make chloroform, as well as hydrochloric acid. You may have heard of chloroform from movies or television when someone is knocked unconscious by having a cloth saturated with chloroform pressed against their face. Chloroform can cause dizziness and nausea, like on television, but it can also permanently damage your eyes, lungs, liver, kidneys, skin, and nervous system. A high enough exposure to chloroform can even result in death.  


  1. Bleach & Vinegar


Bleach and vinegar are just like bleach and ammonia. They too can create chlorine gas which, at low levels, causes breathing problems, coughing and watery, burning eyes.


  1. Hydrogen Peroxide & Vinegar


Both of these are natural cleaners that, on their own, are great ways to clean your house. You can even clean a surface with hydrogen peroxide, wipe it down, then clean with vinegar and have no problems. They should never, however, be combined into one container. When combined in a container they create peracetic acid. Peracetic acid is a great sanitizer, but it is corrosive and irritating. Not only with it eat through the container that you have stored it in, but if it gets on your skin it can cause irritation, and if inhaled it can cause irritation and scarring to the lungs and throat.


  1. Two Different Drain Cleaners


If you mix two different drain cleaners, or if you use them one after another on a drain. These are incredibly powerful liquids, and it says on the bottle that only half a bottle is needed per treatment. If one treatment does not work, then you should not use a second, especially not a second type. Chances are that the blockage you have in your drain can’t be dealt with using a drain cleaner, and that you need to call a plumber to come and take a look instead. When mixing two drain cleaners you could actually cause an explosion, so take care and only use one.


  1. Baking Soda & Vinegar


There is nothing dangerous if you are mixing baking soda and vinegar. You won’t create any chemical reaction that will hurt you or your property when mixing these two things, but you will waste your time. Combining baking soda and vinegar causes a chemical reaction that creates water and sodium acetate. Sodium acetate is not dangerous; it is just a colourless liquid salt. You won’t get hurt mixing these, but it’s just not worth your time as a cleaning product. Unless you want to try to clean your bathroom with water and salt, which is not recommended.


Familiarize yourself with the cleaning products that you have in your home. Learn what is in them and what can and should never be combined. A general rule is that you should not mix any cleaning products, especially if you are not familiar with what they contain. Stick to one, wash it off, and if it has not done the job then try something else (unless you’re cleaning out your drain! Then call a plumber!). A great alternative to chemical products is to find a reputable green line of chemical free products. Not only are these environmentally-friendly, but they are made from safe products that won’t hurt you and your family.


If your house needs to be cleaned, but you’re not sure where to start, then call The Maids. Our professional and knowledgeable team will get your home looking beautiful and smelling great. We know what cleaning products are unsafe to combine, and will never expose your family to anything dangerous or harmful.