Uses for Bleach and Vinegar

Readers Share Uses of Bleach Mixed With Vinegar

Mixing bleach and vinegar may boost cleaning power, but it also releases dangerous toxic fumes.
Mixing bleach and vinegar may boost cleaning power, but it also releases dangerous toxic fumes. fstop123, Getty Images

Mixing vinegar and bleach strengthens the cleaning and disinfecting properties of the chemicals, yet it also produces toxic vapors. Do you mix vinegar and bleach for specific purposes? If so, what is your use of the mixture? These are answers and experiences submitted by readers.

NEVER AGAIN !!!!

I was dumping out dirty water from the mop bucket into my shower drain didn't think anything of it . I was quick to poor water and bleach in the bucket and completely forgot vinegar was leftover and voila, a coughing fit burning eyes.

Mind you I live in an old house, so there isn't much ventilation but I have all the doors and windows open to no avail. Its effects are horrible--  can't get the smell out of my nose and the light headedness.

— annon

The devil is in the dilution

"At alkaline pH values of about 8.5 or higher, more than 90% of the bleach is in the form of the chlorite ion (OCl-), which is relatively ineffective antimicrobially. At acidic pH values of about 6.8 or lower, more than 80% of the bleach is in the form of hypochlorite (HOCl). HOCl is about 80 to 200 times more antimicrobial than OCl-. "

— googleit

Vinegar & Bleach Cleaner

Mix one gallon water with 2 oz. bleach and 2 oz. vinegar in a spray bottle; the most effective disinfectant cleaner for counters, floors, sinks, etc. and helps prevent fruit flies.

— Keyna Welenc

Bleach IS an acid! DANGER!

Chlorine bleach contains sodium hypochlorite or NaOCl. Because bleach is "Sodium hypochlorite in water, the sodium hypochlorite in bleach actually exists as hypochlorous acid:" I worked calibrating chlorine detectors.

And if you mix Bleach with vinegar it produces chlorine gas! It is deadly and should NOT be done under any circumstance! Danger to life article here http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/idlh/intridl4.html also see: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/832336-overview

—DayoIII

Bleach is not an acid.

Bleach is not an acid, it is a strong base.

adding vinegar WILL lower the pH, but since bleach has a HIGH pH, adding vinegar will only neutralize it. Another use for mixing vinegar with bleach is to create a strong oxidizing chemical, used to turn (for example) steel wool into iron oxide (Fe2O3), used for color pigments, or chemistry experiments.

— Professor

good to know!

these are good things to know! especially being someone who is just starting to live on my own and not living in the nicest places that are available. Getting rid of the mold and smells are important, but not that important. My go-to chemical is straight up comet bleach. It worked for my grandmother and my mother and it works for me! Less risk of dangerous fumes than mixing or the liquid since it is powder form.

— CHEM II Student

Good God! - It Wasn't a Miracle Cleaner

I believe the miracle is that i am still alive and breathing! because about 4 hours ago I mixed up a large amount 1/1 mix of bleach /vinegar the only time in my life desperately seeking inexpensive solution to molds/parasites in a large outdoor aviary/cage which also houses a small "shop" that i spend a great deal of time with my cat in. He just came in from the area the "l" were "sizzlling". Will he be OK?

I did it to protect him from potentially harmfull spores/ect.. but what have i done! Im so worried for him the tiny little fellow! and what happens when it rains tonight does it start reacting again. Or should I rinse well w/garden hose or should I avoid re-wetting it, I even bent down closer to the ground watching it react ! and observed for at least 1/2 hr? yeeeeeps! stupid girl!. I can't tell if my throat /chest hurts or not I think maybe yes or my worried imagination?

— Judy

still suffering

I was cleaning a rather old shower, still had the stainless steel base. I spray sellys 3 min mold cleaner on the shower walls and polaris stainless steel cleaner on the base. I left it to work for 3 mins then went in and scrubbed the base, as i did this my eyes started burning and coughing.I didn't know that the two cleaners where reacting, just thinking the bleach was rather strong.

it wasn't until i got home 3 - 4 hrs later my husband said I'd inhaled chloric gases given off from the two products. I rang the poison center and was told to flush the eyes for 15 mins and go to the local hospital. I flushed my eyes but didnt go to the hospital. 2 weeks later I'm still suffering from acute sinus and headaches. Do not underestimate the dangers of bleach.

— Kiwi

I almost died

Today I was cleaning my kitchen floor with vinegar and liquid dishwashing detergent. I scrubbed the floor and still could not get all the stains out. Thought I'd use a little bit of bleach. Boy! It was like the vinegar potentiated the odor of the bleach (now I know the chlorine gas was released). I was coughing, entire airway irritated. Felt close to losing consciousness and struggled to get kitchen windows open. I did, but I was just to overcome. Left the kitchen and went upstairs. Opened up 3 more windows and just could not get myself straight. It's been about 4 hours since the incident. My airway is still irritated and Wheezing is audible, and I consider myself stupid but alive. I have always respected bleach, but just didn't appreciate that household vinegar could react with it with such dire consequences.

— Brenda

Outdoor Nastiness

I use it to clear up mold and mildew on the patio. The fumes aren't a problem outside and it does a number on discolored yuckiness outdoors.

— CleanGirl

Other Dangerous Mixtures With Bleach

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Uses for Bleach and Vinegar." ThoughtCo, Aug. 16, 2015, thoughtco.com/uses-for-bleach-and-vinegar-606152. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2015, August 16). Uses for Bleach and Vinegar. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/uses-for-bleach-and-vinegar-606152 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Uses for Bleach and Vinegar." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/uses-for-bleach-and-vinegar-606152 (accessed October 17, 2017).