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Now that the weather is warmer and you’re ready for some spring cleaning, it’s time to break out your favorite array of cleaners to tackle all the built-up mess from the past year. While that particular drain may be causing you trouble, don’t overdo things – mixing chemical cleaners, or even overuse of a single cleaning product can result in some dangerous situations. Be sure to avoid mixing any cleaners, and always follow the instructions provided on stronger chemical agents.

Avoid These Particularly Dangerous Combos

As a general rule of thumb, you should never mix bleach with anything else. As you likely already know, bleach is a very effective cleaner – but the same properties that make it great for getting stains out also make it highly reactive with other household cleaners. Household bleach usually contains an oxidizing agent (think oxi in OxiClean), which on its own can be dangerous to our health. When mixed with other strong chemicals, such as rubbing alcohol or even vinegar, these oxidizers can release harmful vapors and can cause damage to the lungs, skin, and eyes.

Mixing bleach isn’t the only potentially dangerous chemical mix. In fact, it may not take a mix of chemicals at all. Using more than the recommended amount of drain cleaner can result in a buildup of toxic gas in the drain trap of your sink, creating a small gas leak. Mixing two different drain cleaners is potentially even more dangerous. Not all drain cleaners use the same formula, and similar to bleach, some contain a potentially dangerous combination of chemicals that could result in a serious injury.

In Case of Emergency

If you do accidentally expose yourself to a dangerous mixture of these chemicals, leave the area of your home immediately and get outside for fresh air. If you can, provide as much ventilation to the area as possible by turning on your fans and opening any available windows, as long as you can do so safely. If you’re feeling any serious symptoms such as trouble breathing, irritation, dizziness, or lightheadedness, and they don’t subside once you reach some fresh air, call 911 for assistance. 

When cleaning your home, the safest route is simply to avoid mixing your cleaning products at all. Use products as advised, and ensure that one product is cleaned from the area before applying another.