Forget what you know about cleaning products — this shocking secret really blew my mind.
We all know that feeling of defeat that comes when you’ve been cleaning all day and you want to give up.
No matter how bad we want to relax and call it a day, most of us will suck it up and finish what we started — even if we’re painfully exhausted.
When I found out some cleaning tricks I’ve been forever using that were so dangerous, I knew I needed to share this life-saving secret before someone else found out the tragic way.
After an excruciating cleaning job, it’s easy to get frustrated — and soooo tempting to apply your creative powers to win that war. But before you get desperate and start playing chemist with every cleaning product under your sink, please pay close attention to this terrifying truth:
“Certain products, which are safe when used alone, can sometimes cause unsafe fumes or other chemical reactions when mixed with other products,” says Nancy Bock, Senior VP of Education at the American Cleaning Institute.
“People often think that if one product works, mixing it with another one will make it even better,” says Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute.
And even if your improvised cleaner combo isn’t dangerous or toxic, it’s impossible to know what effect two products can have on a surface or fabric when combined. Experts suggest to always read the warning and ingredient labels on cleaning products — and NEVER mix these:
#1: Drain cleaner + drain cleaner
Use one product according to package directions and if it doesn’t work, try another product later. If it doesn’t work, it’s probably best to call a plumber.
“I would never recommend mixing two different drain cleaners or even using one right after the other,” says Forte. “These are powerful formulas, and could even explode if combined.”
#2: Baking soda + vinegar
Unless you’re in the mood for an entertaining science experiment that will give you an even bigger mess to clean, it’s best to stay away from this dangerous combination. Baking soda and vinegar cleaning recipes are all over Pinterest, but these pantry staples are best when not combined.
“Baking soda is basic and vinegar is acidic,” says Bock, “When you put them together you get mostly water and sodium acetate. But really, just mostly water.” Plus, vinegar causes baking soda to foam up; if stored in a closed container, the mixture can explode.
#3: Hydrogen peroxide + vinegar
Although it’s safe to spray fruits or countertops with alternating mists of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar and wipe down the surface between sprays, experts warn us to not mix the two products in the same container. When hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are combined it creates peracetic acid, which is potentially toxic and can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Yikes!
#4: Bleach + vinegar
This combination might sound like a dream-come-true when it comes to disinfectants, but the two should never be mixed — unless you want to wage chemical warfare on yourself.
“Together, they produce chlorine gas, which even at low levels, can cause coughing, breathing problems, and burning, watery eyes,” says Forte.
#5: Bleach + ammonia
When bleach and ammonia are combined, a toxic gas called chloramine is produced. Many glass and window cleaners contain ammonia, so never mix those with bleach.
“It causes the same symptoms as bleach and vinegar — along with shortness of breath and chest pain.” says Forte.
#6: Bleach + rubbing alcohol
Mixing bleach and alcohol is a horrible idea because the chemicals react to make chloroform — a dangerous chemical that irritates the eyes, respiratory system, and skin. It can damage the nervous system, eyes, lungs, skin, liver, kidneys, and other organs and may cause cancer.
It’s best to just never mix bleach with anything but plain water! Bleach is highly reactive and forms dangerous compounds when mixed with any of a number of chemicals, according to experts.
“Even other products like window and toilet bowl cleaners can have ingredients, like acids or ammonia, that shouldn’t be mixed with bleach,” says Forte.
These dangerous cleaning product combinations shocked me to the core.
If you want to save a life, share this article to show your friends what cleaning products they should NEVER mix together! They’ll be thankful you did.