6 Common Cleaning Products You Should Never Mix

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6 Common Cleaning Products You Should Never Mix

Making your own cleaning products can be fun way to play chemist while saving money, but it can also go wrong very easily.

While Pinterest makes it seem like combining cleaning products in your pantry is the best way to fight tough stains and harmful bacteria, DIY solutions aren't always better. In fact, products that work well alone can be very dangerous when combined with another agent.

The chemical reactions of mixing cleaning solutions with each other can create toxic liquids and fumes that are not only harmful to the surface you're using it on, they're also dangerous for your health and could even be fatal.

Here are 6 common cleaning products that you should never mix:

1. Bleach and Vinegar

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On their own, both bleach and vinegar make fantastic disinfectants, but they should never be combined. When mixed they create a toxic chlorine gas that could lead to chemical burns and breathing problems.

2. Drain Cleaner and Drain Cleaner

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Mixing two different drain cleaners doesn't make a more effective solution. Stick to the directions on one product per treatment and if that doesn't work then it may be a good idea to call a plumber.

"I would never recommend mixing two different drain cleaners or even using one right after the other," says Carolyn Forte, director of Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. "These are powerful formulas, and could even explode if combined."

3. Rubbing Alcohol and Bleach

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Ethanol or Isopropyl alcohol react with the sodium hypochlorite in bleach which results in chloroform, you know, the same stuff kidnappers use on their victims to knock them unconcious. Even in small doses, chloroform can cause nausea and dizziness as well as damage to your extremities including your skin and eyes. When inhaled it can harm your lungs, kidneys and liver. In higher concentrations, the chemical can be fatal according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Click on the next page for more cleaning solutions you shouldn't mix including the popular combination of baking soda and vinegar.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar

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Both hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are natural cleaning products that should never be used together. They're effective sanitizers when used on the same surface separately, but can be very corrosive if combined.  The resulting peracetic acid can be very irritating to the skin, eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs.

5. Ammonia and Bleach

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If you'd like to spare yourself from chest pains, shortness of breath and burning eyes, stay away from mixing bleach with ammonia. The two agents create a toxic gas called chloramine which has similar properties to chlorine gas. Ammonia is a common ingredient in many cleaning products like Windex, so make sure to read product labels before you mix them with bleach.

High concentrations of ammonia in bleach can also cause an explosive liquid called hydrazine to form. The general rule of thumb is to never mix bleach with anything but water.

6. Vinegar and Baking Soda

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It seems like everyone from your grandmother to Pinterest keeps touting the combination of baking soda and vinegar as an ingenious, foolproof cleaning solution, but they've actually been wrong all along. Using them separately works great however mixing a basic like baking soda with an acid like vinegar results in a mixture of water and sodium acetate (it's mostly just water) which doesn't do anything at all for your cleaning needs.

Have you ever mixed these products together? Let us know in the comments!

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.