The one thing you should never do with your cleaning products – no matter what

Do you mix your cleaning products? You really shouldn’t according to this expert advice

A sink with a shelf of cleaning products and an ironing board
(Image credit: Future PLC)

In recent years, TikTok cleaning hacks are becoming increasingly more popular, viral even, as we’re all searching for effective cleaning advice on the web. One trend that has come out of this is mixing various cleaning products to further “enhance” their abilities. But as it turns out, it is a rather unfortunate and very dangerous one according to the latest expert advice. 

Apparently, you should absolutely never mix cleaning solutions unless specifically advised by the manufacturer. After all, even the best cleaning products are chemicals. And chemicals create chemical reactions. So when you layer one product with another, you never know what the resulting reaction might be.

A collection of cleaning products in an under-sink cupboard

(Image credit: Future PLC)

 Expert warns against mixing cleaning products 

‘Chemicals are designed for a task such as disinfecting, descaling or dirt removal. They are not designed to be used together,’ says Neil Spencer-Cook, group managing director of The British Institute of Cleaning Science.

Are you a fan of cleaning hacks taking over TikTok? Neil believes that the social media platform should remove or counter potentially dangerous advice.

‘Social media should remove and counter incorrect and dangerous advice by providing expert testimony and direction. Chemical suppliers must ensure their customers understand the risks involved,’ he says.

Blue bathroom with sink and copper bin

(Image credit: Future PLC / Katarzyna Fiszer)

‘Chemical interaction is the greatest danger,' Neil explains. 'Dangerous vapours can be released which may cause a person to faint and fall. A violent interaction could occur which can lead to a significant explosive force with fatal consequences.’ 

And while you should never mix any cleaning products unless so advised by the manufacturer, these are some well-known examples of products that should never be used together and the havoc they could wreak on your home.

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(Image credit: Future PLC/Max Attenborough)

1. Bleach and ammonia

When mixed together, these cleaning agents produce a toxic gas called 'chloramine', which can cause serious respiratory complications and even be fatal. Both bleach and ammonia are commonly found ingredients in commercial household cleaning products. Lily Cameron at Fantastic Services advises homeowners to be careful when using them and make it a habit to always read the label on the packaging.

White bathroom with metro tiles and gold shower head

(Image credit: Future Plc/Colin Poole)

2. Bleach and vinegar

Bleach and vinegar can produce chlorine glass when mixed together, which can be extremely dangerous if inhaled, causing respiratory complications. Not to mention, this mixture also creates a highly corrosive acid that can damage surfaces in your home and irritate the skin and eyes if you're not using protection.

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(Image credit: Future PLC / James French)

3. Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar

When mixed together, these two products create peracetic acid, which is highly corrosive, causing skin and eye irritation, respiratory complications, and could even damage the nervous system.

4. Bleach and hydrogen peroxide

Mixing these two together can produce a chemical reaction that creates oxygen, gas, and heat, which could lead to an explosion.

5. Different types of drain cleaners

When it comes to fixing a clogged shower drain, sometimes less is more. Not to mention the many ways you can unblock a sink.

'Different drain cleaners use different chemicals to clear clogs, and mixing them can result in a dangerous chemical reaction. For example, mixing an acid-based drain cleaner with a bleach-based cleaner can produce chlorine gas, which can be extremely harmful if inhaled,' warns Lily Cameron at Fantastic Services.

'Besides that, avoid mixing drain cleaners with bleach as well because it can result in a very dangerous chemical reaction in the small pipes. Drain cleaners typically contain lye and the chemical reaction it can produce when it’s combined with bleach can result in all the gunk returning back to your shower, sink or bathtub drain because it has nowhere else to escape.'

blue kitchen with white tops and open shelves

(Image credit: Future PLC)

6. Different types of glass cleaners

When you're looking to clean windows, clean mirrors, or even clean a shower screen, the same goes with the previous point that less is more. If you're after a natural remedy for glass, we've tried cleaning with tea bags and found it extremely effective.

There's no need to crazy with mixing different cleaners together, especially ammonia-based cleaners with acid-based cleaners. Mixing these can actually produce a toxic gas that can be very harmful if inhaled.

White kitchen with window and blue blinds behind sink

(Image credit: Future PLC / Darren Chung)

7. Rubbing alcohol and bleach

Mixing rubbing alcohol and bleach can produce chloroform, which is toxic when inhaled. It can cause dizziness, nausea, and even unconsciousness.

8. Toilet cleaner and bleach

Keep this one in mind when cleaning your bathroom, as it's a definite bathroom cleaning mistake to avoid.

'Mixing toilet cleaner and bleach together can produce chlorine gas, which can cause respiratory issues and nose and throat irritation for healthy people,' warns Lily Cameron at Fantastic Services.

'Even if your toilet bowl is very dirty and there’s a lot of residue buildup, avoid finishing the job by pouring bleach in it after the toilet cleaner. This may not apply to every type of toilet cleaner on the market, but it’s generally best to not mix these products for your and your family’s safety.'

White bathroom with brick wall

(Image credit: Future PLC / Claire Lloyd Davies)

We know it's extremely tempting to follow every new viral cleaning hack making the rounds on social media, but a hack is never worth the health and safety of you and the people in your household.

When taking on any cleaning task, be sure to read the labels on cleaning products and follow instructions carefully – don't just take a video's word for it.

With contributions from