What Can You Safely Mix with Bleach?
Linda Golodner

Can bleach be mixed with…?1

Toilet bowl cleaner?

NO

Rust remover?

NO

Acids, such as vinegar or lemon or lime juice?

NO

Ammonia?

NO

Cleaning products containing ammonia?

NO

Plain water?

YES

Laundry detergent2?

YES

Mixing Cleaning ProductsWhen tackling household cleaning chores, soap and water and a little “elbow grease” are sufficient for ridding many surfaces of dirt and grime. When cleaning kitchen and bathroom surfaces, however, disinfectants are needed to destroy bacteria and viruses like E. coli, norovirus, salmonella and listeria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other microorganisms that can spread illness.

One effective and inexpensive option for disinfecting surfaces is a simple solution of chlorine bleach and water. Most routine household disinfection can be done using just one teaspoon of bleach in one quart of water. Disinfecting surfaces can help ensure a healthier environment for your family. Disinfecting safely is another matter.

Mixing bleach with other cleaning products could produce hazardous gases! The key to using bleach safely is keeping it simple: Avoid mixing bleach or bleach-containing products with other cleaning products. And never, ever mix bleach or products containing bleach with ammonia or acids! For example, toilet bowl cleaners, which often contain acid, should never be mixed with bleach in a bucket, toilet, or anywhere. Always read and follow manufacturers’ directions carefully

Keep it simple: When disinfecting surfaces with bleach, just add water.

Linda Golodner is President Emeritus of the National Consumers League and Vice Chair of the Water Quality & Health Council.


1This list is not comprehensive of all the potential substances that are incompatible with chlorine bleach.
2Follow manufacturers’ directions on bleach or laundry detergent label.

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