This is the DIY era, which includes creating your own natural cleaning products. When it comes to natural cleaners some may think it’s okay to mix and match, but mixing the wrong household cleaning products can be extremely hazardous to your health.
Whether you’re into all natural cleaners or not, here are some harmful chemical combinations to be aware of.
Ammonia and Bleach
Ammonia and bleach are the two most common household cleaning products that should never be combined. When combined, they produce a toxic gas called “chloramine.” This gas can have different effects, including coughing, chest pain, nausea, shortness of breath, eye irritation, and in some cases severe lung damage or pneumonia.
Bleach and Rubbing Alcohol
Mixing bleach and rubbing alcohol creates chloroform. As you may know, chloroform is the chemical compound you see in the movies used on rags to put their victims to sleep. Now you probably won’t knock yourself out, but you will be at risk of irritating your respiratory system, skin, and eyes. It can also cause damage to your central nervous system and many other organ systems. Like many other chemicals, chloroform can be absorbed through the skin.
Vinegar and Bleach
Like most DIYer’s, vinegar is an important component of your household cleaning products. However, vinegar is an acid and combining it with bleach creates toxic chlorine gas. Low levels of exposure to chlorine gas can result in coughing, breathing problems, chest pain, eye, nose, and throat irritation. Exposure to high levels of this gas can be deadly.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar
While both are acclaimed as powerful cleaning products, they don’t go well with each other. Combining hydrogen peroxide and vinegar causes a chemical reaction that creates peracetic acid. Peracetic acid is known as a disinfectant in the medical field and the food industry; however, it is used with regulated amounts and concentrations. This combination can result in irritation to the skin, eyes and upper respiratory system, high levels of exposure can lead to permanent lung damage as stated by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Using bleach to enhance the strength of your household cleaning products can lead to very dangerous situations. When it comes to bleach, a good rule to follow is only mixing bleach with water. Mixing bleach with other chemicals is a bad idea unless you are certain it won’t create a hazardous chemical reaction.
Now, it’s better to be safe than sorry, if you aren’t certain which chemicals you can or cannot mix call the number on the bottle to ask the manufacturers for their advice. Or the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222