The Danger of Mixing Bleach and Toilet Cleaner

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When you're faced with a grimy toilet, it can be tempting to double up on the cleaning products to get everything as clean as possible. But mixing certain household cleaners, like bleach and toilet bowl cleaner, can cause toxic chemical reactions that can lead to respiratory issues, tearing, and chest pain. You should be especially careful with bleach, whose primary ingredient (sodium hypochlorite) produces toxic gases when mixed with chemicals in most cleaning products.

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Here's what to know about the dangers of mixing bleach and toilet bowl cleaners, along with what to do if you accidentally mix the two.

Why You Shouldn't Mix Household Cleaners

Any product that contains acids should never be mixed with bleach, and toilet bowl cleaners fall squarely in that category. This is because when bleach is mixed with an acid, chlorine gas is released. Even at low levels, chlorine gas can cause eye and nose irritation, coughing, breathing problems, skin inflammation, and other health concerns. Higher levels of exposure can lead to vomiting, pneumonia, chest pain, severe breathing issues, and even death.

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In fact, it's a good rule of thumb to stick to one type of household cleaner at all times. Mixing certain cleaners will almost certainly produce toxic fumes, and if these fumes are inhaled, it can result in any number of health problems. You're better off using one type of product and, of course, be sure to always read the warning and ingredient labels and the manufacturer's instructions for using any cleaning product before you use it.

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What To Do if You Mix Bleach and Other Cleaners

Is it bad to mix Lysol and bleach? For the reasons listed above, yes — but it's crucial to know what to do in case you do mix bleach with another cleaner, whether accidentally or not.

Most important, you should not continue to clean. Vacate the area immediately and seek fresh air. Turn on a vent fan or crack a window if possible and stay out of the room until you no longer smell any strong odors. If you are experiencing minor symptoms (such as burning, watery eyes or a runny nose), these can usually be relieved with fresh air. Sipping a glass of cold water can also help.

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If, however, you are experiencing major symptoms, such as vomiting or severe breathing difficulties, don't hesitate to seek professional medical assistance. It's always better to be safe than sorry in cases like this.

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