Why You Should Avoid Mixing Bleach And Vinegar When Cleaning

Nothing feels as good as a freshly scrubbed home, and the sparkling surfaces serve as a testament to your hard work. Everyone has different cleaning supply hacks and solutions they swear by, and some people have even begun combining certain chemicals to create stronger formulas. While some of these are great for homemade options, there are two cleaning agents that should never be mixed: bleach and vinegar.

When these two solutions are put together, the results can be extremely toxic to both humans and animals. While independently, they are extremely efficient at removing even the toughest dirt, together they are a match made in... well, you get the picture. Understanding how to effectively use each one of these staples will ensure you get the most out of your scrub session and save your family (and guests) from ingesting the harmful fumes created by this dangerous duo should someone be tempted to try and combine them.

They create a toxic gas

If you're ready for a quick chemistry lesson, the main reason bleach and vinegar should never be mixed is because of what you can find inside them. The ingredient that makes bleach so powerful is called sodium hypochlorite, which is an alkaline-based compound. This compound does not do well when it comes into contact with an acidic product, and vinegar contains both acetic acid and water. When acid and sodium hypochlorite come into contact, chlorine gas is the result, which can be extremely harmful to anyone who ingests it.

The biggest issue with this gas is that it is difficult to detect visually, though you will smell it because it gives off such a strong odor. Side effects from inhaling chlorine gas include nausea, eye and skin irritation, and even long-term lung problems from the fluid that can stem from this noxious combination. The cleaning properties each solution offers are tough enough on their own to defeat your grime, so they really don't need to be mixed for better results.

How to get the most out of each product

If you are looking to "amp up" your cleaning liquids, you can mix other pantry items with vinegar on its own to give it a boost. Adding bicarbonate of soda, dish soap, or even natural items like Rosemary sprigs and essential oils can give it a little edge, helping to defeat everything from grease to stains. Vinegar is great if you're looking for a cleaning product that doesn't contain harsh chemicals, and it still offers sanitizing properties while also removing odors.

Bleach should not be combined with other cleaners due to its existing ingredients. On its own, it works hard to disinfect surfaces and can leave your home feeling sparkling and fresh after use. It is already a powerful agent and, therefore, should be used individually without any homemade additives. Both solutions are ideal to keep in your cupboards, but leave the chemistry experiments out of it when it comes to bleach and vinegar.