During a pandemic, fears can sometimes get the best of us. Many Americans are cleaning and disinfecting more than ever to ensure they, and their loved ones, stay healthy. Keeping items clean in the home is a good idea but try not to get too creative in how you clean. If you mix certain cleaning supplies, it can be a bad combination.
While most cleaning products are safe when used as indicated, if they are mixed with other products, it can cause a chemical reaction that can result in potentially toxic fumes and even explosions. Remember to ALWAYS read the label and warnings thoroughly. Here is a list of some household items you should never mix:
1. Bleach and Ammonia: When these are mixed together, they can produce a toxic gas called chloramine. This toxic gas can cause irritation to your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs and can even be deadly. If you do accidentally mix these two chemicals together, get out of the room immediately and into fresh air and call the poison center right away.
2. Bleach and Vinegar: Both products are powerful on their own. Mixing bleach and an acid like vinegar can create a chlorine gas that can be very toxic and potentially deadly at high levels. It can cause breathing issues, coughing, and burning/watery eyes.
3. Baking Soda and Vinegar: While these two chemicals mixed together turn into mostly water, if they were contained in a tight container, they could explode.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar: Many people use these two separately to clean fruits and countertops. What you do not want to do is mix these two chemicals together. By combining them in the same container, it creates a peracetic acid. This toxicity can cause irritation to the lungs, eyes, and nose.
5. Bleach and Rubbing Alcohol: These two chemicals together cause a nasty chemical called chloroform. It can cause irritation to your nose and eyes and can be a toxic mix. You are probably seeing a theme here: do not mix anything with bleach!
6. Drain Cleaner and another Drain Cleaner: Never mix two different types of drain cleaners. These are packed with powerful chemicals and if mixed can cause explosive reactions.
7. Pesticides and Water: Some pesticides, when mixed with water, can create a deadly phosphine gas. Make sure to read the labels when using pesticides and follow the directions carefully.
There are many other combinations of chemicals that can be harmful. If you find yourself in a situation where you have mixed chemical agents, either on purpose or by mistake, please do not hesitate to call the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222. They can answer your questions or concerns 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also visit their website at www.poisoncontrol.org.