Both vinegar and bleach are household items that can be found in most of our cleaning cupboards. They are both outstanding cleaning products on their own but should never under any circumstances be mixed together.
Why Should Bleach and Vinegar Never Be Mixed?
Mixing bleach with the acetic acid that can be found in vinegar can release something called chlorine gas. This gas is highly dangerous when inhaled and can even be potentially lethal.
Most household bleach is chlorine bleach, which is made up of sodium hypochlorite, or NaOCl, which becomes hypochlorous acid when dissolved in water. This acid is an excellent oxidiser and is one of the best things for killing germs and bacteria.
However, if this hypochlorous acid is mixed with other household acids, such as the acetic acid that vinegar is made up of, then chlorine gas is the result. This gas is invisible so you will not immediately realise when it has been created.
The best way to know that this gas has been released is if you notice a stronger than usual bleach smell emanating from the mixture, or if you start to feel any of the potential symptoms.
What Could Happen If You Have Been Exposed to Chlorine Gas?
If you think you have accidentally exposed yourself to this chlorine gas you will be able to know if you begin to experience specific symptoms.
This gas attacks the mucous membranes in the eyes, throat, and lungs and it can cause burning in the nose and throat, blurry or painful vision, coughing, nausea or vomiting, wheezing with the feeling of a tight chest, and potentially skin lesions.
What Should You Do After Exposure?
If you are feeling any of the symptoms that indicate exposure to the dangerous gas, there are several things you should immediately do.
Firstly, leave the contaminated space straight away and get yourself to an area with fresh air, ideally outside. Remove any items of clothing that may have been exposed to the chlorine gas.
If you can access a shower that is in a place away from where the gas is, get into the shower straight away and scrub your skin with soap all over your body. If your eyes are burning, use plain water to rinse them out multiple times.
If you have more severe symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately!
Bleach should not be mixed with vinegar, or any other cleaning products except for bicarbonate of soda (baking soda).
Mixing bleach with other cleaning products can produce various dangerous chemicals and fumes. If you’re not sure whether a particular product can be mixed with bleach, don’t do it!
An adventurous book lover with an animal obsession and a proclivity for travel and spontaneity. Used to passionately despise cleaning but has grown to enjoy it thanks to learning all the best tricks and shortcuts to guaranteeing a stress-free routine and a spotless home.