When we spring clean, it is common for us to use various household cleaning products to serve as a helping hand in making our beloved house or condominium sparkly clean and free from stains, molds, and pests. However, there are some stains and grime that are so hard to remove it’s like they cling to the walls and tiles for their life.
Sometimes wiping and scrubbing might not be enough and even the ‘best cleaners’ (as their advertisements claim) stand no chance against these hard-to-remove stains and molds.
How about mixing every cleaning product you can find in your closet and create the ultimate cleaning weapon to get rid of the persistent stains and molds? You may think that is a genius idea but hold on Mr. Rocket Scientist! Mixing random cleaning products may trigger a chemical reaction that can produce toxic fumes which are detrimental to your health. Before you start pouring and mixing stuff, it is important to know which products go well along with one another and which don’t at all.
So hop on today and we will take a short trip to Chemistry class!
Baking soda and vinegar
Baking soda and vinegar are two of the most powerful and effective natural home cleaners when used individually. Combining them together? Well, the new solution may not be as potent as everyone thinks.
You see, vinegar is an acid and baking soda is a base. The acetic acid found in vinegar reacts with baking soda’s bicarbonate; creating a new and unstable compound called carbonic acid. This compound eventually decomposes, leaving you with only carbon dioxide, water, acetate, and sodium ion. The carbon dioxide is the one responsible for the ‘bubbles’ you see during the reaction. After all that mixing and reacting, a watery solution was left.
Mixing baking soda and vinegar does not double up their cleaning power– it actually does the opposite! And don’t even think of mixing these two inside a water bottle or container as it might explode.
Ammonia and bleach
We all know that these two are corrosive and harmful as they are individually, and combining them may result into danger. Ammonia breaks down bleach and creates a new compound called hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid reacts to ammonia and creates chloramine fumes, more commonly called as toxic gas due to its harmful effects on the body. It can cause chest pain, throat burns, and respiratory damage.
Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar
Combining hydrogen peroxide and vinegar creates peracetic acid– a corrosive compound that can hurt or irritate your eyes, nose, and the mucous lining of your respiratory system. You can still use these two to clean your kitchen countertops, just let the vinegar dry out first before applying the hydrogen peroxide on the same surface. Do not consider mixing them in a container or in the same bowl.
Bleach and rubbing alcohol
The sodium hypochlorite found in bleach when mixed with isopropyl alcohol creates chloroform– yes, the same thing you see in movies that bad guys use to knock someone unconscious. Exposure to chloroform at low levels may cause dizziness and nausea. Higher levels of exposure cause damage to the eyes, skin, nervous system, kidneys, lungs, liver, and may even lead to death.
In the event that you accidentally mixed bleach and rubbing alcohol, leave the room immediately and wait for the gases to evaporate before entering back. Dilute the solution with loads of water before pouring it down the drain.
Different drain cleaners
Using drain cleaners is really satisfying, especially when you see all the clogs and build up break down from the drain. However, if your sink is severely clogged, you may be tempted to pour a different drain cleaner. According to Jason Marshall, a laboratory director of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell as mentioned in this Reader’s Digest article, “Mixing two types of drain cleaners, which contain acid and other ingredients, can release chlorine gas or other hazardous byproducts.” He also advised to avoid mixing drain cleaners in the same container.
Bleach and toilet bowl cleaner
Mixing bleach and toilet bowl cleaner produce chlorine gas which may cause breathing problems, watery eyes, and nose and throat problems. Exposure to high levels may even cause death.
Vinegar and bleach
This killer duo creates chlorine gas, giving a burning sensation to your eyes, nose, and throat if you are exposed. You may also experience chest tightness, difficulty in breathing nausea, and vomiting.
Bleach and mildew cleaners
Just like when you mix vinegar and bleach, combining bleach with mildew stain removers produces chlorine gas which causes irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat burns.
Different brands of household cleaners
We cannot emphasize enough how mixing these household cleaners could pose a serious threat to your health. Cleaning products are made differently, with different ingredients so mixing random stuff together may cause harmful chemical reactions. Or, instead of enhancing their cleaning power, you might actually neutralize and render them useless.
Pesticides and water
Cleaning your house sometimes leads you to a not-so-pleasing discovery like ant or termite mounds, spiders, and other pests that made your home also their home. Don’t ever think about mixing pesticides with water to wash away these insects as certain pesticides react with water and produce dangerous phosphine gas.
Using household cleaning products really cuts the tough job of cleaning up messes and removing stubborn stains. While we all want a sparkly clean and spotless house, you should consider your and your family’s safety. Cleaning your house seems an easy (and fun) task but it’s not all smiles when your family’s lives are put into danger.
With this list of cleaning products you should never mix, we hope that you will have a safe spring cleaning day, and remember, do not create your own homemade cleaners! Make sure to always check and read the label of might and do not combine anything and just use the cleaning product on its own.