Cleaning Products You Should Never Mix
A clean home is an important key to living a healthy life, regardless of whether one lives in a house or an apartment building. Cleanliness not only makes a home presentable, but it also reduces one's exposure to things such as pests, dust, and other allergens and contaminants. A dirty living space can make people more susceptible to colds, food poisoning, infections, respiratory problems, and other illnesses caused by germs and bacteria. For most people, keeping a clean home requires the purchase of commercial cleaning products that can be used to not only clean dirt, but disinfect and sanitize surfaces. Common cleaners often include detergents, soaps, various window and surface cleaners, bleach, and even ammonia. These cleaning products are meant to work for a specific purpose, and should not be combined. Unfortunately, some people may be tempted to combine cleaners in the hope of creating something stronger. This is a dangerous gamble and should be avoided. Cleaners are made up of various chemicals that allow them to accomplish what they were intended to do. As a result, not all chemicals can be safely combined and a consumer may unintentionally cause a chemical reaction that is dangerous for themselves and others in the building. This is true when it comes to homemade cleaners as well. A do-it-yourself or eco-conscious individual may make their own cleaners; however, this too can lead to potential problems. It is important, then, for consumers to understand which cleaning products should never be mixed together.
Chlorine bleach is a chemical that causes one of the most problems when combined with other cleaners. It should not be combined with numerous products that are on the market or in the home. In general, bleach should not be mixed with ammonia or with products containing acid. When combined with ammonia or products that count ammonia as an ingredient, it results in the creation of chloramine gas or vapors. This is a toxic gas that may cause problems such as chest pain, coughing and wheezing, nausea, shortness of breath, fluid in the lungs and irritation of the eyes, the nose, and the throat. When mixed with acids, bleach creates chlorine gas. Exposure to high levels of this gas can result in death, and low-level exposure causes symptoms similar to those caused by chloramine gas. Items that contain acid include glass cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, rust removers, drain cleaners, and even vinegar. People should also know which products may contain ammonia, such as certain window cleaners. Rubbing alcohol is another ingredient that should never be mixed with chlorine bleach as this combination will produce chloroform. People who are exposed to this level of chloroform can suffer from a number of problems, including a loss of consciousness.
The mixing of two cleaners of the same kind may seem harmless, but if they are cleaners that are made by two different brands, the effects can be dangerous. Different manufacturers use different chemicals and chemical combinations when making similar products. These combinations are what makes their products unique on the market. Even if the differences are slight, two similar products may not mix well and a toxic reaction may occur. An example of this can be seen with drain cleaners. If switching brands in an attempt to clean or unclog a sink's drain, wait until traces of the first cleaner are gone. This means waiting no less than 24 hours before using the new brand. When unclogging or cleaning the sink with vinegar, never use drain cleaners right before or after, as this may also create fumes that are dangerous to inhale. When buying cleaners it is important that consumers check the labels so that they are aware of what ingredients are in the products they use, and to avoid toxic accidents. Even more importantly, people should altogether avoid mixing cleaners together.
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- Common Cleaning Products Can be Dangerous When Mixed Brochure (PDF)
- Dangers of Mixing Bleach with Cleaners
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- Chlorine Gas From Household Cleaners?
- Selection and Use of Green Home Cleaning Products (PDF)
- Is it Safe to Clean With Bleach?
- The Best Non-Toxic Ways to Clean Your Home
- Household Cleaning Products - What About Substitutes (PDF)
- Harmful Ingredients in Household Cleaning Products (PDF)
- Do It Yourself Home Cleaners (PDF)
- Clean and Green (PDF)
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- Why You Should Never Mix Different Drain Cleaners
- Consumer's World: Coping With Household Cleaners
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