What Happens When You Mix Clorox & Ammonia?

You may not realize the dangers lurking in your closet of cleaning supplies; some chemicals are extremely toxic when mixed. Bleach such as Clorox and ammonia are two common cleaning supplies that should never be combined. The fumes from this mixture can cause death if inhaled.

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Never mix bleach and ammonia.

Dangers of Mixing

When bleach and ammonia are combined, a chemical reaction is stimulated. Chlorine gas, chloramine and other toxic chemicals are released in the air when these two substances are mixed together. Different chemical compositions are created depending on the amount of both ammonia and bleach added to the mixture.

Effects of Fumes

Fumes created by any of the chemicals created are harmful, explosive and volatile. The mixture has been used in chemical warfare -- it's that dangerous. The mixture will either explode, causing painful chemical burns if close enough to skin, or make its way into the mouth, throat and lungs, causing intense pain, cellular damage and death.

Preventing Accidents

Keep all cleaning products on a high shelf, away from children or adults who could possibly mix ingredients. Don't keep bleach and ammonia next to one another. Adhere a piece of paper with a warning to the outside of the bottles if you are concerned that someone might inadvertently mix the two; people often ignore warnings printed on the back of products but a large, handwritten note might do the trick. Switch to natural cleansers and remove bleach and ammonia from your home to eliminate the concern altogether.

What to Do

If bleach and ammonia get mixed in any amount, cover your nose and mouth and seek fresh air immediately. If the mixture gets on skin, immediately and thoroughly rinse it with lukewarm water. Anyone exposed to the mixture should seek medical help immediately, regardless of whether they feel any effects, as the symptoms can be delayed.