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Published on Nov 23, 2017
Do you remember those old episodes of MacGyver when he’d get away from the bad guys by making a smoke bomb with a combination of assorted cleaning products?
MacGyver knows his stuff, and more importantly, he knew which cleaning product would become corrosive or give off dangerous gasses when mixed together, but do you?
Mixing certain products together can have disastrous side-effects. From creating toxic gases to more explosive results, there are things that don’t just play well.
Make it a habit to read the label and check for product warnings. Ignoring such warnings increases the chance of having an accident. Here are some cleaning products you should never ever, ever mix (unless you're MacGyver trying to make an escape!).
Two great natural cleaners and disinfectants that can be used pretty much anywhere in the house, but together they form a highly corrosive peracetic acid. Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide actually make a very potent sanitiser, so potent that it may result in permanent scarring of the skin! Studies have shown that peracetic acid irritates the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Greater exposure can cause pulmonary oedema and affect the kidney and liver.
Mixing bi-carb soda and vinegar creates amazing volcano eruptions and is often used as an experiment by science teachers to teach the basics of chemistry, but once the reaction is over the remaining product has the potency of tap water. Avoid unexpected in-house explosions by keeping these 2 products apart, and only combine them when the situation is right.
The combination sure makes a powerful disinfectant but they also create toxic gasses as a by-product. Vinegar with bleach produces toxic chlorine gas that can cause coughing, breathing problems, and burning, watery eyes.
On their own, bleach and ammonia are two of the most potent chemical cleaners in the house. A lot of people will actually suggest you avoid using them altogether. Mixing them together is a BIG mistake! Toxic chloramine vapours produced by this combination causes throat burns and respiratory damage with reported cases of fatality.
Mixing alcohol with bleach creates chloroform — you know, the stuff they use in the movies to kidnap someone? Minimal exposure to chloroform may cause dizziness and nausea, but higher levels of exposure may prove fatal. So keep the two separated at all times unless you want to damage your nervous system, lungs, liver, kidneys, and eyes!
The rule of thumb with bleach is that you don't mix it with anything else. Just plain water. We don't even recommend using bleach at full strength (always dilute bleach). Or you can just cross it off your grocery list the next time you go shopping, and look for other SAFER cleaning products.
Never mix two different drain cleaners. Or even one after the other. If one solution doesn't work, call in a plumbing service. Mixing two different drain cleaners releases chlorine gas that could have explosive effects. So if you don't fancy the idea of having a Michael Bay kind of explosive reaction in your plumbing, just don't!
Aside from drain cleaners, it's best to avoid mixing one cleaning product with another. Err on the side of caution as you'll never know how one cleaning product will react to another. To really harness the full potential of a cleaning product, remember to let it sit for awhile and let it do its thing instead of applying the product and rinsing right after. Any cleaner will benefit from letting it sit for full effect.