OxiClean and vinegar are both great options if you’re looking to get that difficult stain off of your clothes or the carpet. So, it’s no wonder that people would try to mix the two for better effectiveness.
But the final result might be quite different from what you expect. Read ahead to find out what happens when vinegar is mixed with OxiClean.
Can you mix OxiClean and vinegar?
OxiClean and vinegar can’t be mixed as doing so will result in both of them losing their effective stain-removing properties which is the exact opposite of what you’re looking for. Moreover, the reaction creates peracetic acid which irritates your skin and eyes as well as causes respiratory issues.
OxiClean contains two main components: sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate. They both work together to remove the stains from surfaces. When you dissolve the OxiClean into water it breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate.
On the other hand, common store brought vinegar is a combination of acetic acid with water. When you mix it with OxiClean, the resulting reaction combines the hydrogen peroxide with acetic acid which in turn creates small amounts of peracetic acid.
Peracetic acid is harmful to your skin and eyes as it causes irritation. It can also cause trouble with breathing if inhaled. Although it’s often used as a disinfectant, mixing OxiClean with vinegar doesn’t create a strong enough variant for it to be of any use.
OxiClean and vinegar by themselves are quite effective for cleaning your laundry. But mixing them both will cause them to lose that effectiveness, essentially defeating your purpose.
Can you mix OxiClean and vinegar in the washing machine?
You can use OxiClean and vinegar in the washing machine separately but not in the same load. As we have mentioned earlier, mixing them together causes both of them to lose effectiveness.
If you put OxiClean with vinegar in the washing machine during the same load, your clothes won’t get properly cleaned and the stains won’t come off.
This is because the sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide that’s responsible for washing your laundry is effectively turning into peracetic acid because of the vinegar.
Since peracetic acid is toxic to humans, your clothes may irritate your eyes and skin afterward as well.
When putting OxiClean and vinegar into the washing machine, do so in different loads. This way you can avoid creating any harmful chemicals while getting the maximum functionality out of both.
What happens if you mix OxiClean with vinegar?
Here’s a quick explanation of the process that goes on when the two are mixed.
They both lose their cleaning properties:
Mixing OxiClean and vinegar leads to an adverse chemical reaction that creates peracetic acid, salts, and carbon dioxide.
Since the sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide in OxiClean break down during the process, it essentially becomes less effective when it comes to stain removal.
Similarly, since the acetic acid in vinegar breaks down as well, it can also no longer effectively remove stains.
Peracetic Acid is created:
The hydrogen peroxide in OxiClean and vinegar create a chemical reaction when mixed together. As a result, peracetic acid is created. While the peracetic acid created by the reaction is not particularly strong, it can still lead to physical irritation.
The reaction creates foams:
As a result of the chemical reaction, carbon dioxide is produced which mixed with water creates foams that give the mixture a false impression of being effective at cleaning.
However, these foams don’t contribute much towards cleaning and are more of a side-effect to the chemical reaction.
What can and can’t you mix with OxiClean?
When it comes to mixing OxiClean with other chemicals, there are some clear dos and don’ts. We’ve prepared this list for you to give you an idea of what you can and cannot mix.
Can be mixed with OxiClean:
This one is fairly self-explanatory. You can dilute OxiClean with water to remove stains and soak the fabric.
Other than water, the only thing you should mix OxiClean with is laundry detergent. You can mix the two in the washing machine to thoroughly wash your clothes while removing any arrogant stains at the same time.
Can’t be mixed with OxiClean:
You should never mix OxiClean with bleach as it creates a toxic reaction that produces fumes and heat.
The toxic fumes are extremely harmful to humans, and can even lead to death in worse cases. The only thing that you should mix with bleach is water.
As we’ve explained so far, mixing vinegar and OxiClean cancels each other’s cleaning properties and creates peracetic acid which is bad for your skin and eyes.
Mixing ammonia and OxiClean also creates harmful gases. While the reaction is not as bad as mixing ammonia with bleach, it should still be avoided.
What should never be mixed with vinegar?
When it comes to mixing chemicals, vinegar comes with a number of its own restrictions. These include:
- Baking Soda
- Hydrogen Peroxide
The mixture of bleach and vinegar will surely create a strong disinfectant, but it will also produce what we know as the “Chlorine Gas”.
Combining household bleach and kitchen vinegar will most likely create a fairly weak version, but it can still cause severe breathing problems as well as a burning sensation in your skin and eyes.
Baking soda on the other hand has the opposite properties of vinegar. Mixing the two nullifies the respective basic and acidic qualities of both which essentially cancels them out.
As for hydrogen peroxide, the resulting reaction for mixing the two lowers their individual effectiveness and creates peracetic acid which can cause physical issues.
What happens if you leave OxiClean on too long?
For very stubborn stains, you can usually soak your fabric in OxiClean for 1-6 hours. However, bear in mind that this is only recommended for clothes that are not prone to becoming discolored.
For delicate clothes and fabrics, leaving them soaked in OxiClean for too long can cause their colors to fade. Moreover, the fabrics can have excess OxiClean residues even after washing if you leave them to soak for more than 6 hours.
Can I mix OxiClean and baking soda?
Yes, mixing OxiClean and baking soda is perfectly safe. However, it’s not recommended that you mix the two.
OxiClean is primarily a combination of sodium carbonate with sodium percarbonate. On the other hand, baking soda is sodium bicarbonate.
Since all these chemicals are basic, mixing them will only create a basic solution with the same properties. As a result, there is no practical use for mixing OxiClean with baking soda.
OxiClean is effective enough on its own in terms of cleaning and removing stains. Adding baking soda to the mixture will not yield better results.
Can you mix OxiClean with fabric softener?
You should not mix OxiClean with fabric softener. OxiClean should be applied before rinsing and fabric softener during.
After soaking your fabric in OxiClean, it’s necessary to rinse it with water to wash away any residue. If you don’t rinse it before drying, the excess residue can degrade the quality of the fabric.
A fabric softener on the other hand is applied after you’re done washing and during the rinse cycle. This is because applying fabric softener before the rinse cycle is far less effective in terms of results.
Since OxiClean soaked fabrics have to be rinsed afterward, mixing it with fabric softener diminishes the effects of the softener itself. So, it’s best to use the two separately when you’re washing something.
Can you mix OxiClean with laundry detergent?
Laundry detergent is one of the few things that you can safely mix with OxiClean. In order to mix OxiClean with laundry detergent, follow these steps below:
- Fill up a bucket or your washing machine with water.
- Add how much detergent you’ll be needing based on your laundry
- Add a scoop of OxiClean along with the detergent for every load.
- Mix it thoroughly and place your fabric of choice in the water.
For tougher stains, you can mix detergent and OxiClean with hot water and leave the fabric to soak for a few hours. Mixing OxiClean with detergent will boost your detergent’s cleaning power and help get rid of any stains.
To sum it up, OxiClean and vinegar cannot be mixed together as the resulting chemical reaction causes them both to become less useful for cleaning and creates peracetic acid in the process. Peracetic acid, even in small amounts can be bad for both your eyes, skin, and lungs.
This is why you should avoid mixing the two together. When it comes to removing stains, it’s better to use them consecutively instead of creating a mixture.