Can You Mix Bleach and Vinegar?
Cleaning Bleach and Vinegar

Why Mixing Bleach and Vinegar Can Get Very Dangerous Very Quick

April 19, 2024 at 4:09 PM PST
Cleaning Bleach and Vinegar

Why Mixing Bleach and Vinegar Can Get Very Dangerous Very Quick

April 19, 2024 at 4:09 PM PST

Bleach and vinegar are common household cleaners that most people use every day. Not only can they remove smells, but they can virtually clean any surface. Whether you’re looking to lighten a surface, clean a stain or dirt or disinfect the surface, both vinegar and bleach get the job done.

While many households rely on these two cleaners, it’s important to know which cleaners can be mixed together versus which ones shouldn’t. One combination that we don’t recommend combining is bleach and vinegar. While most social media trends might suggest or encourage mixing chemicals together for hard stains and cleaning, it can be very dangerous to do so.

Last year, TikTok user @silkalmondmilk_ers went viral for accidentally mixing bleach and vinegar together while cleaning her kitchen and promptly spent the entirety of Christmas day on the phone with poison control. The viral video garnered over 2.7 million likes but was an important reminder of why certain chemicals shouldn’t be mixed together.

Can You Mix Bleach and Vinegar?

Can you mix bleach and vinegar together? Here's why these two household chemicals should never be combined. Pictured: A bottle of bleach cleaner

The short answer is no. But, why can’t you mix bleach and vinegar together? Is it completely unsafe? Combining any amount of bleach and vinegar will result in a poisonous gas with a strong odor. Even small amounts of bleach and vinegar together can irritate and create a burning sensation in your eyes, nose and throat.

Beyond being an irritant to those areas, certain amounts of chlorine gas produced by mixing the chemicals can be lethal. Mixing both bleach and vinegar for cleaning surfaces isn’t a good idea, but what about if you’re washing clothes? It’s not recommended that you mix the two in a washing machine either because the gas can be released in your clothing.

Health Risks and Exposure

Can bleach and vinegar be mixed together? Here are the health risks associated with combining these two chemicals. Pictured: two medical professionals

Being exposed to chlorine gas can not only irritate certain areas but cause additional symptoms if you breathe in deeply or for a long period of time. Here are a few symptoms to look out for:

  • Blurred Vision
  • Trouble Breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Fluid in the Lungs
  • Tight Chest
  • Excessive Coughing and Wheezing
  • Watery Eyes

Safe Cleaning + What To Do

Can bleach and vinegar be mixed together? Here's what to do if chlorine gas is in your household. Pictured: The living room of a home

When handling bleach, vinegar or any cleaner or chemicals, it’s important to practice safety. When handling bleach, wear gloves and try to keep windows open for airflow. Don’t mix bleach with vinegar or other household chemicals, as it will produce chlorine gas.

So, if you happen to come in contact with chlorine gas, what do you do? The most important thing to do is to leave the area immediately. Make sure people and pets have immediately left the area. Try to remove any clothing that has come in contact with the gas and try to pull it over your head to avoid irritation in the eyes, nose and skin. Seek medical attention as soon as possible by calling 911, visiting your nearest hospital or calling the National Capital Poison Center at 800-222-1222.



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