Cleaning Chemicals That DO NOT Mix

When it comes to residential and domestic cleaning there seems to be a cleaning product on the market for every type of stain you want to remove, window cleaners, carpet cleaners, tile and grout cleaners and so on.  These conventional cleaning products can be efficient and effective when it comes to house cleaning, however there seems to be little awareness and knowledge of the chemical compounds that make up each product.

There are some cleaning projects around the home you may be thinking of getting stuck into, whether it is your end of lease cleaning or spring cleaning, before you begin, it is worth getting a thorough understanding of the chemicals you are working with and what not to mix them with.  You might even consider finding professional end of lease cleaners or spring cleaners upon discovering the potential dangers, after all, they are chemicals and chemicals can react when mixed together.

Cleaning chemicals that don’t mix

Bleach and Ammonia – when mixed together, toxic fumes known as chloramine is formed. Chloramine exposure can cause irritation to eyes, nose and throat, trouble breathing, nausea, wheezing and exacerbate asthmatic symptoms.  Ammonia can be found in glass and window cleaners, floor wax and even urine.  So inadvertently cleaning your toilet with bleach can activate this harmful chemical reaction.

Vinegar and Bleach – create chlorine gas, a high concentration of chlorine gas is hazardous when inhaled and can cause issues with breathing and burning eyes due to the gas being more reactive to internal tissue.

Rubbing Alcohol and Bleach – isopropyl alcohol reacts with sodium hypochlorite that is found in bleach to produce chloroform, a dangerous chemical that irritates the skin, eyes and respiratory system.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar – both are commonly used as a natural cleaner, although it is appropriate to use both on the same surface however, when combined in an enclosed container it creates a corrosive acid that can highly irritate the skin, throat, lungs and eyes.

Safety is the key when it comes to anything and cleaning is not any different.  Take some time to understand the chemicals you are dealing with and the need for you to be mixing them.  Don’t hesitate to call the poisons information centre for advice if you find yourself experiencing respiratory symptoms and difficulty breathing when exposed to any cleaning chemicals.

Why we shouldn’t clean with bleach?

Chlorine Bleach is most known for its ability to keep garments white, to help in eliminating mould and mildew from the bathtub or shower and its stain removing properties. For these purposes, chlorine bleach can be classified as successful; however the dangers of this product and the side effects associated with use of this cleaning product have been discussed in the spotlight.  In Australia, there are 90,000 child related calls made to Poisons Information Centres annually and 2500 of these require a child to be hospitalized due to poisoning.  It is no surprise that household cleaning products and bleach top the list with the highest poison frequency.

The threat of Chlorine Bleach is printed clearly on the label. It is a corrosive material capable of irritating the eyes, skin and respiratory tract often by inhaling the gases its use emits. This inhalation has been noted to deteriorate the lungs and oesophagus lining in addition to the scarring of the tract. The impact of the chemical is never favourable, especially over a long period.

Bleach is also very harmful towards our environment, every time bleach is used as a cleaning agent, harmful chemicals and toxins get washed down the drain and flushed from our toilets, the chemicals end up in lakes and rivers and spread throughout our environment and into our food resources.  Volatile Organic Compounds are toxins formed in the air we breathe; long term exposure can lead to health issues including cancer, asthma and respiratory illnesses.

Bleach Alternative

The Power of Baking Soda, White Vinegar & Lemon

These easy and non-corrosive or poisonous components are true powerhouses when it comes to cleaning around the home. Baking soda is perfect for removing odours and freshening clothes; lemon juice is for cutting through grease excellent and white vinegar is an awesome glass cleaner.

Safety guidelines

Under the assumption that consumers will continue to use Chlorine Bleach in their households, the following safety precautions are widely recommended:

  • Dilute the chlorine bleach with water. The concentration that is lower poses a potentially lesser risk of exposure that is unwanted.
  • Wear a safety mask and rubber gloves when working with bleach as a preventative measure.
  • Only use chlorine bleach in a well-ventilated area to allow for adequate air flow and to avoid the unwanted gasses from staying stationary in the working area.
  • The fourth and final recommendation is especially worth noting because combined with ingredients -such as ammonia -found in some household cleaners the fumes produced can become potentially fatal and even more deadly. Shortness of breath and chest pain, nose bleeds disorders, headaches, are simply a small number of the potential side effects that can be experienced.

As we’ve found with chlorine bleach, there are always choices. Be sure to conduct your research and make decisions about the products you bring into your home and expose you and your loved ones too. Keep in mind that your understanding should go beyond the label! Even cleaning products which are labelled as “natural”, “healthy” or “organic” should always be looked into, and because of the internet, that information is most often easily available.