What Chemicals Are Dangerous To Mix?

Cleaning your house can turn deadly when you mix chemicals incorrectly. If you use chemical cleaning products around the home, make sure you know which should never mix in order to keep your family safe and healthy. Even natural cleaners like vinegar should not be mixed with certain substances.

Ammonia and Bleach

It's fairly common knowledge, but in case you didn't know—ammonia and bleach should never be mixed. These chemicals are included in many cleaners, so always read the labels if you're using more than one cleaner on a project. This potentially explosive combo can cause severe burns and harm your throat and lungs with the resulting gas.

Peroxide and Henna Hair Dye

Though not technically a home cleaner combo, this pairing is dangerous enough that it makes the list. Hair dyes will warn you on the back of the package about the dangers of mixing different types, but if you don’t listen, you could end up wig shopping. Combining peroxide and henna dye can result in crisped, burnt hair—or worse.

gloved hands applying hair dye to a scalp

Rubbing Alcohol and Bleach

Have you ever heard of chloroform? Well when you combine rubbing alcohol and bleach, chloroform is essentially what you create. While a mild exposure to this combo causes dizziness and fainting, prolonged exposure could cause permanent nerve and organ damage, or even death.

Bleach and Vinegar

Notice a pattern here? Bleach is a powerful and dangerous chemical. This combo can cause chemical burns, and doesn't even need to touch your skin or tissue to cause serious damage to your eyes with the chemical vapors it creates.

hands applying nail polish

Hydrogen Peroxide and Acetone

Peroxide and acetone have the potential to combust, especially when things warm up or another acid is involved. Though it’s unlikely that you would ever clean with these two products at once, they do often reside next to one another on bathroom shelves or in cupboards. To avoid the big ka-boom, never combine these two, especially if you live in a warm climate. Acetone is a frequent ingredient in nail polish remover, and hydrogen peroxide can be used to clean fingernails, too. Either is fine, just not both.

Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide

While these two chemicals can be used on the same surface at different times while cleaning, you should never mix them together in a container. Though less dangerous than some of the explosive interactions on this list, combining vinegar and peroxide can still cause irritation to skin and eyes. The powerful acidic nature of both of these cleaners can cause harm when they come into contact with skin.

white bubbles in a steel pot and silver spoon

General Rules

Avoid Mixing Cleaners - This especially important with different brands. When in doubt, read both labels carefully.

Keep Incompatible Products Apart - Storing chemicals that shouldn’t be mixed on different shelves or in different cupboards is a good idea. This will keep leaks from turning dangerous and will help you keep your cleaners straight when you go to scrub something down.

Don't Mix Bleach With Anything - This powerful substance and products based around it are strong enough on their own.

Keep Aluminum Foil Away From Hydrogen Chloride - These two produce a hazardous mix that can cause burns. The Works toilet bowl cleaner is an example of a product containing HCl.

If chemicals aren't your thing, try a few all-natural cleaning remedies. Essential oils, for example, make great cleaners, provide natural pest control, and can be made in the comfort of your home.