Can I mix vinegar and bleach? (+9 common symptoms)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can I mix vinegar and bleach?”, and what are the symptoms of exposure to vinegar and bleach reaction?

Can I mix vinegar and bleach?

The most commonly used type of bleach is sodium hypochlorite which is used for removing stains and disinfecting surfaces. Bleach is non-toxic unless inhaled or comes in contact with your skin.  

Sodium hypochlorite is composed of sodium, oxygen, and chlorine atoms.on mixing with the acetic acid in vinegar or other types of acid, chlorine gas is released. 

It can also react with some oven cleaners, insecticides, ammonia, and hydrogen peroxide. Bleach fumes on mixing with limonene present in some household cleaners produce small particles that are injurious to health.

Is It safe to mix them in small amounts?

Chlorine will irritate the eyes, throat, and nose even in a small amount of 5ppm. The symptoms that appear on inhaling chlorine gas vary with the concentration of the chlorine.

  • At 0.1 to 0.3 ppm, chlorine gas can be smelled because of its pungent odor.
  • A concentration of 5 to 15 ppm is irritating for the mucous membranes in the mouth and nose.
  • A concentration above 30ppm results in chest pain, difficulty in breathing, and coughing.
  • A concentration above 40ppm results in dangerously high levels of fluid retention in your lungs.
  • A concentration above 430ppm will inevitably lead to death in 30 minutes.
  • Inhaling chlorine gas above 1000 ppm will cause death right away.

Can you combine bleach and vinegar in a washing machine?

Do not use bleach and vinegar combined when you do your laundry as It may result in taces of chlorine gas in your clothes. Instead, wait several loads before using vinegar after bleaching your clothes.

Symptoms of exposure to a bleach and vinegar reaction

Exposure to chlorine gas and its concentration plays an important role in the type of symptoms you experience. Brief exposure to a relatively low concentration of chlorine will irritate the nose, mouth, and throat. 

While deep inhalation in the same concentration will cause lung irritation. The severity of the symptoms also depends upon the immunity of the person being exposed to the chlorine gas. 

According to CDC, the common symptoms of chlorine gas exposure include blurred vision, coughing, chest tightness, irritation in the nose, troat, and eyes, trouble breathing, fluid in the lungs, nausea, vomiting, watery eyes, and wheezing, etc.

What to do If you get bleach and vinegar on your skin or inhaled chlorine gas vapors

Once you inhaled chlorine gas, it should be removed as soon as possible from your system. For this, you need to seek medical attention. As a first aid, try the following If you inhaled chlorine:

  • Move out of the area where chlorine is present and go somewhere where there is fresh air
  • Change your clothes immediately 

If you anciently spilled bleach, follow the tricks below to avoid any severe circumstances:

  • Remove your jewelry and clothes that were contaminated after washing your skin thoroughly with water.
  • Use an absorbent cloth or a sponge to scrub and rinse your skin
  • Do not touch your face or any other body part while you are cleaning
  • If the spill burned your skin or you feel irritation in your eyes, seek medical attention as soon as possible

Other FAQs about Vinegar which you may be interested in.

Can you boil vinegar?

Other cleaning products that you should not mix

Baking soda and vinegar

Do not mix baking soda and vinegar. The former is a base and the latter is an acid. They neutralize to form water and sodium acetate and can foam up If stored in an air-tight container resulting in an explosion.

Bleach and ammonia

Bleach and ammonia react to release a toxic gas called chloramine. It has the same effect as the chlorine gas produced as a result of the reaction of vinegar and bleach. Most of the window cleaners contain ammonia. So do not let them near vinegar. 

Drian clear and drain cleaner

Each drain cleaner has a specific composition and they are powerful enough to result in an explosion If mixed. Therefore, do not mix two drain cleaners to enhance efficiency. Similarly, avoid using another cleaner immediately after using one.

Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar 

Hydrogen peroxide reacts with vinegar to release peracetic acid which is toxic and causes irritation in the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. However, you may use them one after the other on fruits or countertops. Make sure you clean the surface in between the application of the two chemicals.

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Can I mix vinegar and bleach?”, and what are the symptoms of exposure to vinegar and bleach reaction?

References

https://www.healthline.com/health/bleach-and-vinegar#summary
https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a32773/cleaning-products-never-mix/

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.