It’s arguably the single most important health and safety rule when it comes to cleaning; never mix two cleaning products together. But why is this the case? Or to put it another way, what exactly can happen when cleaning products are mixed?
Well, the simple answer is that it could lead to any number of outcomes. It could be that the product you mix up simply won’t work, or it could be that it could kill you. Suffice to say therefore, it just isn’t worth taking the risk.
Contrary to popular belief, mixing two effective cleaning products together will not result in the creation of an even more effective third product. Even if the two products are fairly safe in their own right, you’ve no idea what you’re getting yourself into when it comes to combining them with one-another.
A few examples to illustrate the point:
1 – Any Two Drain Cleaners
Starting off with a bang…pun very much intended…drain cleaning products are often so powerful that if mixed, they have the potential to become explosive. Designed to power through blockages, they contain the kinds of chemicals, acids and other elements that can prove nothing short of deadly when mixed with others. As such, mixing drain cleaners is widely considered to be just about as dangerous as it gets.
2 – Baking Soda + Vinegar
There are two reasons why cleaning products containing baking soda and vinegar aren’t advisable. First of all, the fact that you are mixing an acid and a basic means that you come out with little more than sodium acetate and water…so largely useless. Secondly, the vinegar will cause the baking soda to foam up massively, meaning that whatever you put them in could quite literally explode under the pressure.
3 – Hydrogen Peroxide + Vinegar
Never read into any ‘recipe’ for a cleaning product that sees vinegar mixed with hydrogen peroxide. Though relatively safe to use separately, mixing them together results in the creation of peracetic acid, which is extremely dangerous for the respiratory system, the eyes and the skin.
4 – Bleach + Vinegar
Equally safe and effective on their own, a mixture of vinegar and bleach will result in the release of chlorine gas – nothing short of a chemical weapon. Painful enough in small doses, it could easily kill you with sufficient exposure.
5 – Bleach + Ammonia
Be very wary of mixing glass cleaning products with bleach, as if they are made with ammonia they could result in the creation of chloramine. This is a highly-toxic gas that causes similar symptoms to chlorine gas exposure, with the addition of chest pain and breathing problems.
6 – Bleach + Rubbing Alcohol
Last but not least, chances are you’ve seen chloroform used in all manner of Hollywood flicks and TV shows – you might not want to run the risk of accidentally creating your own. But you will, if you mix rubbing alcohol with bleach, which produces a toxic and irritating chemical that will cause you nothing but harm.