Safety For You: The dangers of mixing household cleaners

Safety For You

During the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), people are doing what they can to disinfect and keep their homes clean.  With a limited supply of particular cleaning products in many communities, people have often concocted their own cleaning solutions and unknowingly have created serious health risks.

With much of the country working from home, this is a good time for you and your family to understand the dangers of mixing household chemicals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people should routinely clean frequently touched surfaces, such as tables, doorknobs and faucets.

However, with any cleaning product, remember to always follow the instructions on the label and ensure safe storage which includes keeping the product in its intended container and never place combustible products near a heat source.

Be aware and avoid these deadly combinations:

Bleach + vinegar = chlorine gas.  Chlorine gas attacks the mucous membranes and can lead to coughing, breathing problems, and painful burning and watery eyes.  Chlorine gas and water also combine to make hydrochloric and hypochlorous acids which lead to irritation of the nose and throat and respiratory system.

Bleach + ammonia = chloramine.  This can cause shortness of breath and chest pain.

Bleach + rubbing alcohol = chloroform.  This is highly toxic.  Exposure may lead to dizziness, nausea, loss of consciousness and even death.

Hydrogen peroxide + vinegar = peracetic/peroxyacetic acid.  This can be highly corrosive. 

For more ways to keep your family safe from household chemicals, check out the safety tips sheet from the United States Fire Administration:

E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety reminds you to stay safe when you stay at home.

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