Can you mix bleach and vinegar in the laundry?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you mix bleach and vinegar in laundry” with an in-depth analysis of the effects of mixing bleach and vinegar. Moreover, we are going to highlight what happens when you mix bleach and vinegar, what chlorine amounts are toxic, and how we can safely use these two compounds.

Can you mix bleach and vinegar in the laundry?

No, you cannot mix bleach and vinegar for laundry use as they can produce chlorine gas that when inhaled may be problematic in a lot of ways. Bleach is best known for its cleaning benefits as it completely removes the stains from the surfaces and clothes and can also kill bacteria and viruses. On the other hand, vinegar has been observed to possess good lethal activities against molds.

In this regard, people might find it more beneficial to mix the two chemicals. Vinegar lowers the pH of the bleach making it more efficient in dealing with germs and makes it one of the best disinfectants that may be liked by people but the gas produced is lethal when even a minor quantity of it is inhaled.

Therefore, one should not adopt such a practice as the health hazards are more considerable than the benefits. If you still want to enjoy the benefits of vinegar and bleach, try to use them separately. You can also use one after the other, such as soaking the garments in vinegar first and after that wash them in the machine with a small amount of added bleach. This will make your clothes completely stainless and disinfected.

Results of mixing bleach and vinegar:

The mixing of vinegar and bleach results in harmful chemical reactions that produce chlorine gas. This gas is very toxic and poses humans with a wide range of health hazards when even a small amount is smelled.

Individually, these two chemicals may be problematic to a lesser extent or when exposed in higher amounts but after mixing them, even minor exposure can pose lethal effects. Bleach contains atoms of sodium, oxygen, and chlorine. When it is combined with the vinegar, containing acetic acid, it releases chlorine gas.

Bleach can also react with ammonia to produce chlorine gas and to some oven cleaners, insecticides, and hydrogen peroxide to produce toxic compounds.

Symptoms of exposure to chlorine gas produced by mixing of vinegar and bleach:

The chlorine gas produced as a result of the reaction between vinegar and bleach is a very strong toxic agent that can produce harmful effects in humans when inhaled. Some of the common symptoms of chlorine gas include blurred vision, skin injuries, coughing, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, shortness of breath, nose, eyes, and throat burning, tightness in the chest, fluid in lungs, and wheezing.

Toxic amounts of chlorine gas:

The severity of the symptoms produced after inhaling chlorine gas, released as a result of vinegar and bleach reaction, depends upon the concentration of gas in ppm (parts per million).

  • 0.1-0.3 ppm is indicated as a pungent smell in the air.
  • 5-15 ppm can be indicated by mucus membrane irritation in the mouth and nose.
  • Over 30 ppm can be observed through chest pain, coughing, and shortness of breath.
  • Over 40 ppm will be able to produce dangerous fluid in your lungs.
  • Above 430 ppm can be lethal within 30 minutes of exposure.
  • More than 1,000 ppm can cause immediate death.

Safely use these two compounds:

  • The two compounds should be handled with great care when used in the laundry as there are more chances of accidents there. Therefore, the best is to label the bottles clearly and always pick the right bottle. For a single wash cycle, use either vinegar or bleach.
  • The surfaces which have been exposed to bleach or vinegar should be thoroughly washed after cleaning.
  • For bathroom cleaning, do not try to mix the two chemicals as they may be lethal. Try to make homemade cleaner by mixing the water with vinegar or with bleach in the ratio of 1:1. Solution with such concentration would be appropriate to kill and remove the molds and bacteria from the surfaces of the bathroom.
  • Keep the vinegar and bleach out of the reach of children.
  • Always handle these two chemicals in an open environment as the gases produced after any accidental mixing cannot be inhaled too much than in a closed room.
  • If you want to get benefits from both, you can use one chemical first and then the other. Like in the case of surfaces, you can spread vinegar on them and then disinfect them with bleach, but make sure that the surface should be washed thoroughly in between.

You can find more about the uses of these compounds here.

Conclusion:

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you mix bleach and vinegar in laundry” with an in-depth analysis of the potential effects of mixing bleach with vinegar.

Moreover, we discussed what are the effects of mixing vinegar and bleach, what are the symptoms of exposure to chlorine gas, what amounts of chlorine are toxic, and how we can safely use these two compounds.

Citations:

https://www.healthline.com/health/bleach-and-vinegar#treatment
https://www.thoughtco.com/mixing-bleach-and-vinegar-609281
https://www.grove.co/blog/mixing-bleach-and-vinegar
https://www.bobvila.com/articles/bleach-and-vinegar/

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.