There’s a laundry list of reasons to skip chemical cleaners in your home, but if you haven’t been convinced before, maybe this can change your mind. Kate Bacon (@kbacon.irl) recently broke down in a video how bleach combined with many common household cleaners can literally turn deadly.
Kate’s video begins with a short clip of a family locking themselves in one room of their house and on the phone with poison control. The reason? Bleach and vinegar used to clean the kitchen. “Oh my gosh, that is so dangerous!” Kate responds.
“In case you didn’t know, mixing bleach and vinegar creates toxic chlorine gas,” she begins. “Unfortunately this is not common knowledge, but if you read the back of any bleach bottle, it’ll tell you not to mix bleach with anything other than water because, especially if you mix bleach with virtually any household cleaning product, you get a laundry list of toxic chemical gases.”
And she’s right. Bleach with just about anything in your cleaning cabinet can be a dangerous combination. Kate points out some of the most common culprits, which are bleach plus vinegar, rubbing alcohol, Lysol, Windex, or even lemon juice. All of those items, when combined with bleach, create different gases which, when ingesting too much of, can cause serious harm or even death.
It’s important to note that unlike the family in the beginning of the clip, if you are exposed to a dangerous gas in your home, the best course of action is to go outside, then call poison control.
How it’s helping
Being aware of the dangerous properties of bleach and other household cleaners could literally save your life. But it also may inspire you to make a switch from chemical cleaners that can be especially harmful to you and the environment.
When we use bleach and other cleaning products, especially in our kitchens and bathrooms, they’re going right down our drains and into our water systems. Once in our waterways, bleach can form dioxins or carcinogens that pose a serious threat to aquatic animals and wildlife.
But ditching the bleach doesn’t mean your home is destined to be dirty. There are a ton of natural cleaners you can use that are likely already in your pantry (that means you save money). Things like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon are DIYers’ favorites for environmentally friendly, effective at-home cleaners.
What everyone’s saying
The comments on Kate’s video really illustrate why awareness is so important. Many commenters shared their own horror stories of combining chemicals with dangerous consequences.
“The most important chemistry lesson I ever received in my life was when I inadvertently tear gassed myself after peeing in a toilet that had bleach in it,” one person shared.
“My husband sent himself to the ER,” another said. “Didn’t help we were in a massive argument at the time …… they thought I poisoned him 🙃” Oops.
“Thanks for this Bacon,” someone said. “I learned this in high school chemistry, but it is far from common knowledge and it should be.”
Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.