In order to maintain proper hygiene, we use a plethora of cleaning products and chemicals in our house that are meant to serve different purposes and clean different objects effectively.
These cleaning products are made of different chemicals and exposing certain chemicals with each other could produce products harmful to your health.
Bleach and Lysol are two of some commonly used cleaning products – and this article will explore what happens if you mix them.
Lysol is a popular brand of cleaning and disinfecting products across America as well as many parts of the world. Lysol’s products range from liquid solutions suitable for use on both hard and soft surfaces – they are also found in forms of sprays.
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Benzalkonium Chloride is a chemical commonly found in many Lysol products and it has been actively used as both household and industrial cleaning products.
The use of Lysol products span over a wide range starting from cleaning liquids, disinfectant sprays, wipes as well as hand-sanitizers. Most Lysol products are liquid based and are meant to be used on solid surfaces.
Lysol claims to be 99.9% effective at removing micro-organisms such as virus, bacteria and fungi which can be useful in homes with high mold and mildew growth.
Bleach is a very popular cleaning chemical that is used both at homes and in industries to remove stains from fabric or to disinfect an area.
Unlike Lysol, bleach is not a brand name – rather it is the generic name for the cleaning and disinfecting chemical known as sodium hypochlorite.
The dilute solution of this chemical is known as liquid bleach as is used at homes to remove color or stain from fabric and other uses involve disinfecting and sterilizing swimming pools. Bleaches are excellent at removing viruses, bacteria and prevent algae growth in dirty areas.
They are sometimes used to treat mold and mildew at homes as well as discourage growth of weeds.
Mixing bleach and Lysol:
Do not mix bleach and Lysol together due to their dangerous chemical reaction. The chemical in Lysol reacts with bleach to produce a gas that is highly toxic. Inhaling it would lead to several health issues. Thus, avoid mixing them and if you do – ventilate the room well and dispose of the mixture.
Different cleaning agents consist of different chemicals and mixing those cleaners would cause the different chemicals to interact with each other and form toxic chemicals.
Often those toxic materials are released in the form of gasses and fumes, which if inhaled would cause several health issues ranging from irritation of the eyes, nose, coughing, suffocation or long term lung damage.
If the chemical mixture gets into any of your sensitive body parts, it would cause severe burns and permanent damage as well. These fumes are often corrosive and extended exposure to them can put your health at a critical risk.
Under no circumstances, should the mixture be ingested and if you do accidentally – seek immediate medical attention.
When it comes to the mixture of bleach with Lysol, the chemical reaction is no different than the mixture of other cleaning agents.
Bleach on its own is already dangerous to handle and use due to its corrosive nature and always has to be handled with gloves and goggles for eye protection. Bleach is always diluted with water before use because pure bleach is highly corrosive – enough to damage your skin.
On the other hand, Lysol is a common household cleaning product that is used to clean rooms, disinfect surfaces and objects. Therefore, it is not corrosive or harmful to us upon direct contact and can be handled barehanded as well.
Unlike bleach, Lysol does not require dilution and can be used directly on objects to be disinfected.
One is a dangerous cleaning compound while the other is not – but upon mixture, they can exhibit a vigorous reaction which results in the production of highly poisonous fumes.
Sodium Hypochlorite in bleach reacts vigorously with the Benzalkonium Chloride found in Lysol to produce a choking fume along with mustard gas. This foggy fume can make it difficult to breathe and causes you to choke and in longer exposure – lose consciousness.
The resultant compound is not a cleaning agent, therefore there is no use in mixing Lysol with bleach.
However, if you accidentally spilled Lysol and it came in contact with bleach, you should leave the room immediately before the fumes start to produce and make sure the room is well ventilated to get the air out.
Once the fumes have dissipated, remove anything in contact with the mixture and dispose of the mixture in a safe location.
What to do if you accidentally mix bleach and Lysol?
It is highly suggested that you do not mix bleach and Lysol under any circumstances, however if there is a situation where you spilled Lysol and it comes in contact with bleach – you need to take the necessary action to ensure your safety.
The list below describes the series of actions you can take if you accidentally mixed bleach and Lysol:
Exit The Room Before The Fumes Produce:
If bleach and lysol come into contact, immediately leave the area before the fumes start to produce. If you failed to leave and have been exposed to the fumes, contact medical services if you feel difficulty in breathing or experience other symptoms.
Stay away from the area far enough from the reach of the fumes.
Ensure Proper Air Ventilation In And Out Of The Room:
Once the intensity of the fumes have decreased, go back into the room and open all the doors and windows leading to the exit and allow the fumes to leave the room.
If the fumes have entered other rooms as well, make sure to ventilate those rooms for several hours until the fumes have all dissipated.
Carefully Handle And Dispose Of The Mixture:
Even if the fumes are gone, the mixture is dangerous and should be handled carefully. If the mixture is on top of a removable surface, carry it outside into the open. But if it falls directly onto the floor, use water to dilute the mixture and then clean it thoroughly.
You can use brushes and rags to carefully wipe out the area where the mixture has spilled and remove the residue along with the used rags.
Get Professional Help:
If the spillage occurred in large volumes and the fumes are too strong to approach, it is better to not endanger yourself by handling the mess.
Call emergency services nearby and inform them about the situation – a team will arrive as soon as possible to handle your toxic gas problem.
Cleaning products that should not be mixed with bleach:
Bleach is a chemical that requires gloves and safety goggles while handling. Its potential to harm becomes greater if it comes in contact with a list of chemicals.
Those chemicals are often found in cleaning products, therefore the list below discusses what cleaning products should not be mixed with bleach:
Although vinegar is a safe liquid – so much that it is commonly used as an edible liquid and as an ingredient in cooking, however it becomes dangerous if mixed with bleach.
Mixing vinegar with bleach produces chlorine, a toxic gas, which is excessively toxic for humans. Exposure to this gas would cause irritation in the lungs if inhaled and continuous coughing.
It would cause internal chemical burns and can be lethal if inhaled for an extended period since the concentration would build up.
Ammonia in of itself has an intolerable smell but when used in cleaners, the smell stays locked away. The problem arises when ammonia gets mixed with bleach because the locked ammonia gets released and creates a gas called chloramine gas.
This gas has the capability of causing irritation and burns in your eyes as well as the respiratory tract.
Extended exposure to it would build up its concentration in your body and cause internal organ damage – another product called hydrazine is often produced which is not only toxic but has a tendency to blow off.
With Rubbing Alcohol:
Unlike the other two, this mixture does not have an immediate lethal effect however, it would leave you unconscious. The mixture of rubbing alcohol creates a gas called chloroform which causes you to lose consciousness if inhaled.
However, chloroform isn’t limited to just that, if you inhale too much and let the concentration build up – it can end up being lethal and leave internal chemical burns and increase chances of cancer and other similar diseases.
Due to the hazardous chemical reaction, never combine bleach and Lysol. When bleach and the chemical in Lysol combine, a toxic gas forms up and releases. There would be various health problems if you inhale it. If mixed accidentally, make sure to properly ventilate the space and discard the mixture.