Warning! Cleaning could be bad for your health

If at first you don’t succeed, try it another way. Right? Not when it comes to household cleaners.

Imagine this: You’re using a common toilet bowl cleaner but just can’t remove a stubborn stain. So you switch to another product, and then another.


Mixing chemicals is dangerous. Combinations of bleach, ammonia, vinegar, or hydrochloric acid can create toxic gases or dangerous acids. You can cause permanent lung damage, chemical burns, or even death.

Read about a Philadelphia area man who died after mixing bleach and ammonia to unclog a toilet, or the British pub worker who nearly gassed himself after pouring two different cleaners down a urinal.

What’s in your cleaner?
  • Ammonia is a common ingredient in multipurpose cleaners, glass sprays, and floor cleaners. Manufacturers (and consumers) like it because it’s an effective chemical for cutting through soap scum, grease, and wax buildup.
  • Bleach is contained in many other products to take advantage of its disinfectant, brightening, and mold-killing benefits. Bleach is commonly found in cleaning sprays, toilet bowl cleaners, and scouring pastes.
  • Hydrochloric acid, found in some toilet bowl cleaners, lime and calcium removing products, and air fresheners, goes by multiple names including muratic acid and hydrogen chloride. So even if you think two products could be used in tandem, you might be mistaken!

One and done
Check the ingredient lists on your cleaning products to ensure you’re not accidentally using these products together.

Better yet, just stick to one at a time. Wipe down an area with clean water, open windows, and make sure drains are running freely before switching to a different cleanser.