Cleaning product cocktails are a risky mix

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) issued the warning after they attended an incident where cleaning chemicals were mixed resulting in dangerous gas being expelled.

The incident, which occurred in January (2024) in the Yate area, saw the mixing of two common cleaning substances; caustic soda and bleach. Whilst both are useful cleaning agents, when mixed they released heat and harmful toxic gas which led to one person being taken to hospital.  

As concentrated cleaners and scented products have become increasingly popular, AF&RS is urging people to take care and avoid mixing cleaning products directly or indirectly. This includes putting multiple products down the toilet or into a shower drain, as the substances will mix and potentially react.

“People often think that cleaning products will be twice as effective when mixed together but cleaning product cocktails can be a risky mix.”

“Even when they’re safe alone, mixing commonly used cleaning products can sometimes produce harmful fumes and even cause chemical burns on contact with skin.

“We urge you to read and follow the instructions on products and always use them as they are intended to be used.”

– Chris Bengey, Station Manager and HazMat lead at AF&RS

Top tips for a safe and sparkling home:

  • Get to know the ingredients in your off-the-shelf products so you can avoid creating toxic fumes from the intentional or unintentional mixing
  • Keep chemicals in their original containers with their warning labels
  • Always dispose of chemicals in accordance with the instructions on the container
  • Do not pour chemicals into the same container or use one cleaner right after another, as it may create harmful gases or additional chemicals that have been linked to various health conditions
  • Be sure to wash off one cleaner before using another so that there is no mixing of chemicals
  • Always open windows where possible to allow for natural ventilation
  • Always store harmful chemicals away and out of reach of children
  • If you have chemicals and are unsure of how to dispose of them please contact your local council, who should be able to offer advice – please do not pour them down the drain unless they are designed to be disposed of in that way.
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