You Should Never Mix Ammonia And Bleach. Here's Why

Whether you love them or hate them, cleaning days are a necessary part of life. To get the job done, you have an endless amount of cleaning products to choose from. As the American Cleaning Institute points out, many of them contain various ingredients ranging from solvents, surfactants, and enzymes.

Two of the most popular items used in cleaning solutions are ammonia and bleach. Ammonia, or ammonium hydroxide, is used to help clean everything from kitchen cabinets to flooring, per When you want to brighten clothing, you typically reach for a bottle of bleach. According to The Spruce, there are two types of bleach: chlorine bleach and oxygen bleach. Chlorine bleach is usually a liquid, and it's what you use on white fabric. Oxygen bleach is safe to use on different colors of fabric. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that you can also clean and disinfect surfaces in your home with bleach. What you should never do, however, is mix the two.

Mixing ammonia and bleach creates a toxic gas

When ammonia and bleach mix, they create harmful gases, called chloramines, per These fumes can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat. Even worse, data published by StatPearls revealed that exposure to these chlorine gases can even cause death, such as a chlorine gas leak that occurred in 2007 in South Carolina, resulting in nine fatalities.

If you think you have been exposed to ammonia and bleach or experience burning eyes, coughing, wheezing, or pain in your throat after mixing cleaning ingredients, Healthline explains the first thing you should do is move to a place that is well ventilated. Next, you should call your local poison control center and follow their advice. However, if your reaction is severe enough that you experience trouble breathing, call 911 above all else. Should someone become unconscious from exposure to the dangerous gases, you need to move them to a well-ventilated area and call 911.

Always follow safety protocols when you're cleaning. Reader's Digest recommends always checking the labels of the products you are using to ensure that you don't accidentally combine ammonia and bleach.