If you read our blog regularly and follow us on Facebook, you probably have noticed that we advocate for natural cleaning methods. In fact, we only use green cleaning techniques when servicing the homes of our clients. We do, however, recognize that many people still use conventional cleaning solutions because they are convenient and readily available. But do you know that certain combinations of cleaning products can be do more harm than good? Yes, even the most commonly-used cleaning products can be harmful to your health. Most of these are probably already in your cabinets.
If you never did well in Chemistry class, don’t fret because we’ll break down these chemical reactions so that you can understand the effects. Here are a few combinations of cleaning products to avoid at all costs:
Vinegar and bleach
While vinegar disinfects surfaces and bleach removes stains, the combination of both can be quite dangerous. This is because adding any weak acid to bleach can release toxic chlorine. Vinegar is a weak acid and can form chlorine vapors when added to bleach. This can be harmful to your eyes and lungs, if exposed.
Ammonia and bleach
Combining ammonia and bleach creates toxic vapors. When both these chemicals are mixed, bleach breaks down into hydrochloric acid. This acid then reacts with ammonia to produce chloramine vapors. These vapors, if inhaled, can cause respiratory problems. If a large quantity of ammonia is added, then an explosive liquid hydrazine will be formed.
Bleach and rubbing alcohol
Mixing bleach with rubbing alcohol creates chloroform, which can be hazardous to humans. Chloroform can damage your eyes, lungs and skin and can even prove fatal when inhaled in large quantity.
Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide
Each product is safe for cleaning when used individually. However, when mixed together in a container it results in a peracetic acid (a clear liquid) and becomes corrosive. Exposure to peracetic acid can cause irritation to the eyes and skin.
Two brands of drain cleaners
Using two brands of drain cleaners to unclog the drain is very dangerous. Drain cleaners contain powerful chemicals to clear the gunk. When using a product like this, you probably do not check the ingredients before using it. Because different brands use different ingredients, which could be incompatible with other brands, it is safer to never mix them.
Vinegar and baking soda
Vinegar and baking soda are powerful when used individually. When combined, they do not produce any results in terms of cleaning. The reason is because vinegar is acidic and baking soda is basic. When an acid and a base are combined together, they form water, which cannot clean anything alone.
Bleach and toilet cleaner
The combination of toilet cleaner and bleach creates dangerous fumes that can create breathing problems and irritation to eyes.
The bottom line here is to use one product at a time. Combining two or three products or brands of cleaning products can do more harm than good.