D.I.Y. - The Dangers of Mixing Household Chemicals

During the spread of COVID-19, people are doing what they can to disinfect and keep their homes clean. Limited availability of particular products may lead people to concoct their own cleaning solutions, and unknowingly create serious health risks.

It is important to follow instructions on the labels of cleaning products, and not to mix products; doing so can lead to the production of dangerous combinations of liquids and gases.

Consumers should also ensure safe storage of household cleaning products; keep them in their intended containers and never place combustible products near a heat source.

Be aware:

Bleach + rubbing alcohol = chloroform.

Highly toxic.  May lead to dizziness, nausea, loss of consciousness and even death


Bleach + ammonia = chloramine.

May lead to shortness of breath and chest pain.


Hydrogen peroxide + vinegar = peracetic/peroxyacetic acid.

Highly corrosive.  May lead to irritation of the skin, eyes, and respiratory system.


Bleach + vinegar = chlorine gas.

May lead to coughing, breathing problems, burning and watery eyes. (Chlorine gas and water also combine to make hydrochloric and hypochlorous acid which may lead to irritation of nose/throat and respiratory system).

Visit USFA for a downloadable tip sheet on the dangers of mixing household chemicals, and click here for more NFPA resources around the COVID19 pandemic.

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Meredith Hawes
Regional Director, North Central Region

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