Mixing Household Chemicals

Mixing Household Chemicals - The Deadly Combinations

With people using more and more products to keep germs and viruses at bay at home these days, the awareness of the dangers of mixing household chemicals has become crucial. When used together, some chemicals form a deadly combination that can turn toxic and cause serious injury.

Much like knowing this funny yet useful guide - “Whiskey on beer, never fear. Beer on whiskey, very risky”, we’ve come up with our list of common household chemicals and products that should not be mixed.

Mixing Household Chemicals - Combination #1: Chlorine-Based Products + Vinegar

There is a general rule that acid and chlorine should not be combined. Vinegar may be a mild form of acid but it is still acid, while bleach has sodium hypochlorite as its active ingredient. Mixing bleach with vinegar can produce chlorine gas and it can be toxic.

During WWI, chlorine gas was used as a chemical weapon and it affects the eyes, nose, and lungs. Using this, especially in an enclosed, non-ventilated place can result in coughing, breathing problems, and burning and watery eyes.

Chlorine gas can also combine with water to produce hydrochloric and hypochlorous acids, both highly corrosive. While hypochlorous acid is relatively safe, hydrochloric acid is corrosive to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes. Short term inhalation can cause irritation and inflammation. It can also cause buildup of fluid in the lungs.

It’s important to remember that it’s not enough that you DO NOT MIX these two chemicals to clean your home. They should also NOT BE STORED in the same location.

Here is an example of an Acid+Chlorine combo:

Mrs Meyer’s Cleaner Vinegar No Rinse Lemon Verbena + Clorox Bleach

Mixing Household Chemicals - Combination #2: Chlorine-Based Products + Ammonia

Ammonia and bleach are the most common cleaning products found in households. They are both effective in eliminating bacteria and most viruses. However, in combination, they can be deadly.

When mixed together, they produce Chloramine. This substance can produce rash, itching, dry skin, and other skin diseases. When inhaled, it can cause shortness of breath and chest pain. Long term exposure can also damage the digestive mucosa and cause digestive disorders. In extreme cases, exposure to Chloramine can be fatal.

Here is an example of an Ammonia+Chlorine combo:

Windex (ammonia based) + Comet (bleach)

Mixing Household Chemicals - Combination #3: Chlorine-Based Products + Rubbing Alcohol

Chlorine combined with alcohol produces Chloroform and Chloroacetone, two highly toxic substances.

Chloroacetone can severely affect the skin and the eyes and can lead to possible eye damage. Breathing its fumes can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs which leads to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. A common use of chloroacetone is in tear gas.

This highly toxic combination that produces Chloroform can affect the central nervous system. It can cause nausea and vomiting. Other adverse effects are slurred speech and poor coordination, dizziness, drowsiness, and convulsion. In the worst cases, it can cause coma, respiratory failure, and sudden death.

Here is an example of an Alcohol+Chlorine combo:

Lysol All Purpose Cleaner Spray (active ingredient is benzalkonium chloride) + Rubbing Alcohol

Mixing Household Chemicals - Combination #4: Hydrogen Peroxide + Vinegar

Combining these two chemicals produces peracetic/peroxyacetic acid. This substance is found to be toxic and can be highly corrosive to many surfaces. When it comes in contact with the skin, it can cause severe irritation and burning. It can cause eye damage when it gets into the eyes.

Breathing in peroxyacetic acid also irritates the nose, throat, and lungs which leads to coughing and shortness of breath.

Repeated exposure to the chemical can affect the liver and the kidneys.

It’s also important to note that peroxyacetic acid is highly reactive and can pose a dangerous explosion hazard.

Here is an example of an Hydrogen Peroxide+Vinegar Combo:

Lysol Bleach Free Hydrogen Peroxide Bathroom Cleaner Spray + Heinz Cleaning Vinegar

Safety Tips When Using Household Chemicals

When used properly, household chemicals can help keep your home clean and free from dangerous pathogens and viruses.

As we’ve discussed above, certain combinations of common household cleaning products can be dangerous, even highly toxic. While you may think that double the products used, double the efficacy of the cleaning power, it’s not always true.

Here are some safety tips to follow when using household chemicals:

✔️ Always read the caution labels on household cleaning products before using. These will usually indicate what chemicals you should not combine it with.

✔️ The labels also list down the ingredients in the cleaning products. Read them carefully to ensure against mixing products that may become toxic.

✔️ Store them in a location away from children and pets.

✔️ Only use the products as intended by the manufacturer.

✔️ Handle the chemicals safely by following the manufacturer’s directions.

✔️ When using cleaning or household products, keep the area well ventilated. Open windows and doors. Never use cleaning products in a small, enclosed space.

✔️ Use plenty of hot water to rinse surfaces where you used chemicals.

✔️ NEVER mix household cleaning products despite what others tell you.

Finally, a tip on water heaters and household chemicals. When it comes to this combination, you can never be too careful. We recommend not storing anything next to your water heater, including cleaning chemicals that can be highly flammable.

New generation water heaters are made more safe now with sealed combustion chambers. This means the chambers are not exposed to the space around it. However, it’s always better to err on the side of caution than be regretful when an accident happens.

If you have questions about this topic, and other plumbing concerns, So Cal Services is happy to answer them for you.

Call Us Today

So Cal Services is a locally owned and operated plumbing, heating, and air conditioning service provider. We have been servicing commercial and residential clients in Riverside, Orange, and San Diego counties for over 20 years now. With experience like this, you are assured of top notch service. 

One of our offered services is water heater installation, repair, and replacement. If your water service is not performing well as it used to call us today. Our expert technicians can come to you quickly and diagnose the issue efficiently.

We assess your problem and suggest a solution. If you need a replacement, we have a range of products. We are sure we have the perfect unit suited for your needs and budget.

We have energy efficient water heaters that not only save you money on your energy bills, they also comply with the national regulations that mandate the use of more efficient home appliances.

To ensure that your water heater serves you for many years, we recommend an annual tune up that can extend the life of your unit while enabling you to save up to 15% off your water heating expenses. Ask us about our Cool Club Service Agreement maintenance program to hear all of the benefits of becoming a Cool Club member.

Reach out to us:

Call  (951) 926-1978

Text (951) 662-4894

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