The drain is clogged. You’ve spilled red wine all over your sofa. You’re faced with a tough cleaning job. You try combatting it in the quickest way possible before your guests arrive, but it turns out to be a futile, frustrating experience. But rather than reaching for every cleaning product – toxic as it may be – under your kitchen sink, turning your house into a chemistry lab, it’s best to read this article, to better inform yourself.
Many people mistakenly believe that mixing two good products will make it even better and faster acting than one alone. Yet the shocking truth is that certain products mixed together can cause dangerous, toxic chemical reactions such as fumes, not to mention the unknown effect two combined products can have on a surface or fabric.
Here are a few products JF Group – providers of domestic and commercial cleaning in Malta – insist must never be mixed, for health and safety purposes.
Bleach & anything that isn’t water
Perhaps you’ve heard of chloroform? The colourless stuff kidnappers in the movies put on rags to knock their victims out? Although it might not actually make you pass out, this combination can be irritating and toxic. Products like window and toilet bowl cleaners can also have ingredients like acids or ammonia, that shouldn’t be mixed with bleach. Therefore, make it a rule to never mix bleach with anything but plain water.
Bleach & Ammonia
These two products combined produce a toxic gas called chloramine, which causes chest pain and shortness of breath. Many glass and window cleaners contain ammonia, so never mix those with bleach.Drain Cleaner & Drain Cleaner
Drain cleaners aren’t created equal; some are acids, some are bases, while others are bleach, and these chemicals don’t necessarily get on well. They are powerful formulas which could even explode if combined. Therefore, it’s critical to follow package directions and never mix two different highly toxic drain cleaners or use one right after the other.
Baking Soda & Vinegar
Both baking soda and vinegar are handy staples when used alone as they can help clean all over the house, yet they aren’t such a dynamic duo. Baking soda is basic and as vinegar is acidic, it causes baking soda to foam up, which if stored in a closed container, the mixture can explode.
Hydrogen Peroxide & Vinegar
You may have heard that you should spray fruits or countertops with alternating mists of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, wiping down the surface between sprays. Experts say this method is safe — but the two products shouldn’t be mixed in the same container. Combining them creates peracetic acid, which has an acrid odour, is potentially toxic and can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system.
Bleach & Vinegar
As powerful as this combination sounds, the two should never be mixed. Together, they produce chlorine gas, which at a low concentration is an irritant that can cause pulmonary issues including wheezing, coughing and breathing problems, not to mention burning eyes. At a high concentration, it can kill you.
Unless you’re an experienced chemist, always read the warning and ingredient labels on cleaning products. The cleaning team at JF Group Malta are trained and happy to provide this service for you, so you don’t have to.