Leslie asked: What is the chance that accidental mixture of bleach and Mr. Clean is toxic to humans or a cat? I accidentally mixed one fourth cup Mr. Clean Floor Cleaner with one eighth cup or less of half water and bleach solution. I dumped it down the sink and ran water for a few seconds after I got frightened. I opened the doors and windows. Is there any danger?
The short answer is no, it’s not safe to mix cleaning products with bleach. When people use the term “bleach” they usually are referring to chlorine bleach, the kind used in the laundry. Chlorine bleach is one of the most dangerous chemicals to mix with other cleaning products because there are a wide variety of chemicals that react with it instantly to produce deadly or toxic fumes. Some of these reactions can even explode and burn your skin. Even using one chemical and then another on the same surface is dangerous; you should always rinse or wash an area between applications of cleaning products.
In general, mixing any cleaning products is not a good idea. There are such a wide variety of products and ingredients used that you never know when you may be blending two reactive chemicals, or producing toxic fumes. In some cases, the different ingredients will neutralize each other and weaken the cleaning power, rather than strengthening it.
What About Laundry Detergents?
The primary reason that chlorine bleach is sold is for laundry purposes, which is why it is available on the laundry aisle of stores and not the cleaning products aisle. The laundry industry has built-in safe guards against this to protect consumers from making mistakes. For example, most laundry machines come with a bleach dispenser, which will mix the bleach into the wash for you at the ideal time. Also, laundry detergents intentionally are made without chemicals that can react with bleach. It’s when you start using chlorine bleach for something other than its intended purpose that you can get in trouble.
Dangerous Mixtures of Common Household Cleaners
Acids Plus Bleach
- Acids should NEVER be mixed with bleach. The combination creates toxic gases.
- Most toilet bowl cleaners contain a strong acid like hydrochloric acid.
- The rule about acids even includes weak acids like white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- All-purpose cleaners often contain citric acid.
- Drain cleaners sometimes contain strong acids.
Ammonia Plus Bleach
- Ammonia mixed with bleach creates a toxic gas. If enough of the two products are used, they can even explode.
- Ammonia is found in many common household products. It is the chemical most often used in window cleaners and dish liquids.
- The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser also contains ammonia.
- Strong disinfectants, including medical grade disinfectants, often contain ammonia.
Acids Plus Bases
- You should also be aware that acids and bases react and neutralize each other, which usually creates an explosion of fizz and foam as the chemicals react. Sometimes this reaction is desired, such as when mixing weak acids and bases like vinegar and baking soda in a drain so that the foam cleans out the slime and build-up in the drain. However, the mixture of strong acids and bases like muriatic acid and ammonia is very dangerous; the explosion could cause burns on your skin or worse.
What About Oxygen Bleach?
Oxygen bleach is not the same chemical as chlorine bleach and the above information does not apply to it. However, oxygen bleach should not be mixed with other cleaning products either; it has its own profile of chemicals that it can react with. Again, it’s never a good idea to mix any two cleaning products unless you know exactly what you’re doing.
I have a cleaning product that I want to duplicate. I know what’s in it, but I’m not sure how to make it. My question is: is there a company that can dissect a product and tell me the amounts of each of chemicals in it so I can duplicate it?
I work at this place where my coworkers would usually mix Javex with everything, such as Kemsol products, Pine Sol,and Mr. Clean. Is it hazardous to the skin or breathing it in? Please help; I want to say something about it, but I need something to back it up. Much appreciated.
One of the easiest ways to check for health hazards is to read the labels on the bottles; some products are clearly marked with information like “do not mix with bleach,” or “use in a well ventilated area,” etc. You may be able to find an image of the product label online or just go to the store to check the labels. You can also check the company website for information or get the product’s MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) from the company website.
The Javex webpage has a “Precautions During Use” section that says, “Do not mix with any other chemical” and recommends that you wear gloves when using the product, among other things.
Source: The Clorox Company – Javex 12 Bleach by Clorox
I once mixed bleach and Mr. Clean together to wash my floors. It almost instantly started to take the oxygen out of the air. We ran upstairs and phoned for help. I was expecting a small car with maybe one or two firemen. To my shock, three large trucks came flying up my road with lights and sirens. They actually had to wear their masks and oxygen equipment in order to be able to breath inside my house. They then set up large fans to blow everything out the windows. They were there for about one hour. Had I not taken my cat out of the house immediately, he wouldn’t have lived.
Just me says
Your story is utter B.S. I mix Clorox and Mr. Clean all the time. It doesn’t take the oxygen out of the air. And “you ran upstairs to phone for help.” Humm. Why would you run upstairs… And the cat wouldn’t have survived had you not taken it outside, but you ran upstairs. Your story has so many holes. Fear monger much??
There are many different Mr. Clean products, some of which do (or used to) contain ammonia. It is always best to read the label and exercise caution when mixing chemicals.
Question is mixing all-purpose cleaner and dish soap, in a half gallon of water okay to clean my floors with?
Dish soap usually contains ammonia, so if the all-purpose cleaner contains chlorine bleach, then no, it’s not safe.
In general, only one product or the other should get the job done by itself. It is important to make sure that the cleaner is safe for your specific floor as well. For example, wood does better with a more acidic cleaner (whereas dish soap is usually alkaline). Also, you want to be sure that you don’t use too much cleaner as it will leave a residue on the floor. Good luck!
My toilet stopped up and I live alone in a rural area so after plunging I mixed Pine-Sol and bleach in it (Clorox dissenfecting). The fumes ran me out of there and it foamed up. My dog and I are in my bedroom. How long will it be until they stop reacting? HELP!
Call the fire department. They have gas masks and will be able to help you. You also may want to call poison control (800-222-1222) just to make sure you’re ok. Good luck!