Please don’t poison yourself while disinfecting from COVD-19


With worries about infection from COVID-19, many of us have stepped up our game when it comes to disinfecting our homes.

However, you need to be careful about making sure you are not mixing different kinds of cleaners.

There are lots of disinfectants out there and one of the best is bleach. 

But when you’re working with bleach, you’ve got to be careful because it’s reactive.

“When you mix bleach and acid whether it’s vinegar or toilet bowl cleaner which has hydrochloric acid in them, it can create chlorine gas,” said clinical toxicologist Matt Stanton.

Chlorine gas isn’t the only poisonous substance that bleach creates when mixed with common substances:

  • Ammonia and bleach creates toxic chloramine gas
  • Rubbing alcohol and bleach creates chloroform

And it’s not just bleach you have to worry about.

If hydrogen peroxide mixes with vinegar it results in peracetic acid which is corrosive to the eyes, the skin and the respiratory tract.

As a result of improper use of these substances, while cleaning, Stanton says, “You’re going to see an increased number of calls to poison centers regarding these things.”

In fact, the North Carolina Poison Control center says it’s seen a 50 percent increase in poisoning calls from a year ago—which it attributes in part to cleaning product issues.

Here’s another problem with improper use of cleaning chemicals.

With people worried about contamination of their cloth face coverings, and masks, they are improperly using house cleaning products to sanitize them.

If the product is still on the mask, people might still be inhaling the product,” warns Stanton.

Your best bet for sanitizing a cloth face covering is washing it in soap and water — preferably in a washing machine.

With everyone in the family all at home most of the time, it also makes sense to make sure all cleaning products—and even hand sanitizer—are out of the reach of young children to avoid them from getting into them and having a poisoning accident.

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