“There are two types of cleaning products: bleach and things that should never be mixed with bleach”. To what extent is this true? And why?


u/shaneoffood posted this comment in a discussion about unscented laundry detergents.

I’m familiar with the fact that ammonia and bleach creating something like chlorine gas, and I get that mixing different elements can cause them to react.

But is the original comment a good rule of thumb? Are there exceptions? And why do they make “the best” cleaning products?

In: 491

The original comment is a good rule of thumb because bleach is a strong oxidizing agent, meaning it can react with other chemicals in a way that can be dangerous or harmful. Mixing bleach with certain other chemicals can create toxic gases, which can be dangerous to inhale.
For example, mixing bleach with ammonia can create chlorine gas, which can cause respiratory problems, nausea, and other health issues. Mixing bleach with acids, such as vinegar or lemon juice, can produce chlorine gas or other dangerous byproducts.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. Some cleaning products may contain bleach and other ingredients that are safe to mix together. It is important to read the labels of cleaning products and follow the instructions carefully to ensure safe use.
Bleach is a popular cleaning product because it is effective at killing germs and removing stains. However, it is important to use it safely and in accordance with the instructions on the label. Using too much bleach or mixing it with other chemicals can be dangerous and harmful to both people and the environment.

The vast majority of cleaning products should not be mixed with bleach. While I’m sure there are *some* exceptions, you are best off just not mixing anything with bleach unless you specifically check if it’s safe. Pretty much anything you can mix with bleach already has bleach in it. The only thing I would say is *maybe* safe would be plain bar soap, or maybe some types of dish soap or laundry detergent, but honestly I’m not sure that’s actually safe, or which ones are safe.

Bleach and ammonia is dangerous, (mustard gas) bleach and vinegar is dangerous, (chlorine gas) bleach and alcohol is dangerous (chloroform). Most cleaning products contain at least one of those four ingredients.

You don’t really need to mix anything with bleach for it to work extremely well. If you absolutely feel the need to, just use them separately. Clean with one first, thoroughly rinse, then use the other. Always use ventilation in case you accidentally mix something.

Lol, that’s not completely accurate but I love that saying.

There are basically three types of cleaners; acids, bases, and soaps.

Base is very good at breaking down organic matter. Cleaning mold, bacteria, and colors.

Bleach is a base. The OH^- of HOH. Bleach has a lot of O connected to chlorine. When it hits an acid, the H^+ of HOH, the H and O make water and the chlorine is left to poison the air.

Acids, like vinegar, are good at breaking down minerals. Like soda on your teeth. So they’re useful for cleaning sinks and faucets to get rid of rust and other buildup.

Soaps basically have one end that’s like water (polar) and one end that’s like oil (non-polar) so while oil and water famously don’t mix, soap will force them to, and that makes oil easier to rinse off.

In general cleaning products (aside from soap/detergents) work because they are reactive chemicals. They react with things bacteria/pathogens need to survive and kill them.

If you mix two very reactive chemicals together they tend to well… react. Reactions involving bleach generally form some sort of toxic, volatile chlorinated compound. So it’s best not to mix it. Also just don’t mix chemicals in general.

Pretty true. Bleach is Sodium hypochlorite. It’s a highly reactive chlorine compound (which is part of why it’s so good at killing microbes and breaking down dye molecules).

It’ll react with practically anything, and a lot of those reactions produce some kind of gaseous chlorine compound. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that “gaseous chlorine compound” is virtually guaranteed to be bad news.