Hydrogen Peroxide and Bleach – What Happens When Mixed?

If you find it hard to clean stubborn dirt in your bathroom or kitchen, you will be tempted to use more potent chemicals. Perhaps you have already tried to use bleach and hydrogen peroxide. I’ll discuss hydrogen peroxide and bleach in this article – what happens when mixed?

Mixing hydrogen peroxide and bleach is dangerous because it can cause an explosion. If you combine these two substances, you will create oxygen gas violently. As a general rule, you should avoid mixing household cleaners. You are not creating a stronger cleaner by mixing them.

Mixing bleach with hydrogen peroxide will cause a chemical exothermic reaction. This reaction will produce huge amounts of oxygen. Mixing these two household cleaners will not improve their whitening effects on dirty clothes. On the contrary, hydrogen peroxide will break down because of the oxidant in bleach.

Read on to learn more about the nature of hydrogen peroxide and bleach and the consequences of mixing them.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Bleach

hydrogen peroxide and bleach

Might Result in an Explosion

You will forcefully create oxygen gas when you mix bleach with hydrogen peroxide. This can result in an explosion. You should never mix different household cleaners. By mixing them, you are not creating a more powerful cleaner but a dangerous thing.

Can Produce Huge Amount of Oxygen

Combining bleach with hydrogen peroxide creates a chemical exothermic reaction. This will forcefully produce a huge amount of oxygen. Mixing these two different household cleaners will not improve their whitening or cleaning capacities on dirty clothes.

Can Create Harmful Fumes

On the contrary, it only breaks down hydrogen peroxide. Additionally, it will only create harmful fumes. It is not considered safe to mix hydrogen peroxide with bleach. If you need to mix them, you must do so only in low concentrations or smaller quantities to avoid accidents.

Aside from oxygen gas, mixing these two substances will also produce water and salt.

The bleach should also have sodium hypochlorite for the mixture to work as you want it to work. The substances should not be concentrated so you can immediately see the hydrogen peroxide and bleach reaction.

Dangers of Mixing Hydrogen Peroxide With Bleach

Both Are Good At Removing Stubborn Dirt on Clothes

Since it is well known that bleach and hydrogen peroxide is good at removing stubborn dirt on clothes, many people think they can combine them to create a more powerful cleaning agent. But they don’t know that it’s risky to do it.

These two cleaning agents are not meant to be mixed. While both substances are suitable for cleaning, they are made of ingredients that can explode if combined.

In bleach vs. hydrogen peroxide, you risk creating excess oxygen if you mix hydrogen peroxide and bleach. If you mix them inside your washing machine, the whole thing could explode. You don’t want that to happen, do you?

Risk of Sudden Blow-off

If you are not careful with the concentrations of these two different cleaners, their chemical reaction will produce huge amounts of oxygen inside your washing machine. Since the machine is fully enclosed, you are risking a sudden blow-off.

Yes, you can minimize the risk by using low concentrations of each substance. But still, the risk is there. You can’t know the exact concentrations that can precipitate an explosion. So, why take the risk?

Mixing Them Will Not Increase Their Cleaning Power

Mixing bleach with hydrogen peroxide will not increase their cleaning power. You’ll not be able to make your clothes cleaner by mixing them. On the contrary, it may even minimize their cleaning capacity.

Bleach contains a hypochlorite compound that tones down the cleaning power of hydrogen peroxide. The chemical reaction between the two will dissolve hydrogen peroxide into water.

So, what will happen is that the only thing that will be left to clean your clothes is bleach because hydrogen peroxide has already turned into water.

So, you won’t have additional cleaning power by mixing bleach with hydrogen peroxide. What you will carelessly produce is huge amounts of oxygen which have the potential of creating a blow-off inside your washing machine. You also run the risk of inhaling toxic fumes.

Chlorine Gas Incident

To prove my last statement, let’s take the example of an incident that created chlorine gas that killed one person. The incident happened on Nov. 7, 2019, at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Burlington, Massachusetts.

There was a Scale Kleen cleaner spill on the floor of the restaurant. To clean the spill, an employee used Super 8 cleaner. So, the employee mixed two different cleaners. The mixture produced a green substance that immediately bubbled.

The bubbles emitted gas fumes that drove diners and employees out of the restaurant. Ryan Baldera, the restaurant manager, tried to clean up the liquid, but the fumes overpowered him. He was brought to the hospital but was pronounced dead later.

Can you mix hydrogen peroxide and bleach? As you can see, mixing two different types of cleaners, such as these two, is dangerous. It can harm people. This mixture is deadly.

Is It Safe to Mix Bleach and Hydrogen Peroxide?

hydrogen peroxide and bleach reaction

So, in searching for a better cleaning substance, you want to mix two different cleaners. Most people would think that’s the way to do it. If you know the chemistry behind it, you won’t do it.

Bleach is seemingly a harmless substance. It is when it is used for its intended purpose. But bleach can be harmful when it reacts with other chemicals and cleaners. It can produce toxic fumes and even cause an explosion.

When you mix bleach with hydrogen peroxide, there will be an instant chemical reaction between the two cleaners. Huge amounts of oxygen will be produced. If the reaction occurs in a tight and closed space, there is a risk of a blow-off.

That means the washing machine can explode if it cannot contain the huge amount of oxygen produced by the chemical reaction.

The least you can do for safety precautions is mix them in a well-ventilated area. You must also wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles and keep a safe distance from the substances you are mixing.

Again, can you mix hydrogen peroxide with bleach? You will not get a stronger cleaner when you mix bleach with hydrogen peroxide. Instead, you will create oxygen gas that can cause an explosion. In general, you should not mix household cleaners.

3 Reasons Why Mixing Hydrogen Peroxide with Bleach Is Dangerous

You now know what happens if you mix bleach with hydrogen peroxide. So that the concept will be etched more in your mind, you should know why mixing these two different cleaners is dangerous.

1. Risk of Injuries

Are you a chemist? If you are, you know the safe amounts of hydrogen peroxide and bleach you can combine. But if you don’t know the meaning of parts per million, you shouldn’t try mixing these two cleaners.

These cleaners, by themselves, are harmless if handled carefully and properly. However, they are harmful in the hands of those who are not in the know. The affected area will irritate if you accidentally splatter them on your eyes or skin.

2. Blow-Off

Can you mix bleach and hydrogen peroxide for laundry? When you mix bleach and hydrogen peroxide, a chemical reaction will produce oxygen gas. Oxygen might not be as dangerous as you may think.

However, when you mix a high concentration of bleach and hydrogen peroxide, the exothermic reaction can be violent.

Worst case scenario, they can cause the formation of huge amounts of oxygen. If that happens inside a closed space, there will be an explosion – if the container can no longer hold the volume of oxygen inside it. You won’t like it if your washing machine explodes.

3. Ineffective

The sodium hypochlorite in the bleach is more potent than the one in the hydrogen peroxide. This means that when you combine these two cleaners, the stronger cleaner will nullify the power of the weaker cleaner.

In other words, combining the two will not result in increased cleaning power. Instead, the stronger one does the work because the weaker cleaner is ineffective.

4 Cleaning Products You Should Never Mix

Hydrogen peroxide is a very effective cleaning agent. You don’t have to avoid using it because of the risk of mixing it with incompatible substances. What you need now is to know the types of substances that you shouldn’t mix with.

Mixing it with incompatible substances makes the mixture violent and sometimes toxic. There are instances where the resulting solution is highly acidic. In other cases, the solution could create harmful and poisonous gases:

1. Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide

Mixing hydrogen peroxide with vinegar will produce peracetic acid, a very strong acidic substance. This type of acid is also very corrosive to metal surfaces.

2. Vinegar and Bleach

Vinegar is a popular cleaning agent because it is cheap and easy to get. However, mixing it with bleach will create an unsafe mixture. When you mix these two substances, they will emit acidic gases. These gases will harm your lungs and respiratory tract. It will cause corrosion of your eyes.

3. Bleach and Ammonia

Mixing bleach with ammonia is also not good for your health. When these two substances are combined, the mixture will produce toxic gas.

If you inhale that gas, it will adversely affect your respiratory system. Bleach also contains chloramines. When mixed with ammonia, it could lead to an explosive reaction.

4. Bleach and Alcohol

When you mix bleach with alcohol, the mixture will produce hydrochloric acid and chloroform. Inhaling the fumes from this mixture, even for a short time, will make you dizzy, or you can even faint if you’re not strong and healthy.

If you don’t have enough background in chemistry, you should not attempt to mix these substances. Read the labels of the cleaners you are using to avoid accidents.

How Do You Safely Use Bleach?

Bleach is a useful cleaning agent if you use it for its intended purpose. It can remove clothes stains, disinfect contaminated surfaces, and remove mold and mildew. If you need to disinfect your bed sheets, bleach is the ideal cleaner you can use.

Chlorine, the active ingredient in most bleach products, is good for disinfecting surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen. It’s used to disinfect swimming pools and raise the pool water’s pH level. It is used in our water supply in small concentrations to kill harmful waterborne organisms.

Chlorine is a strong oxidizing agent, so you should be very careful using it. Avoid mixing bleach (chlorine) with any other cleaner. You don’t know the chemical reactions that will take place and the resulting substances from the mixture.

How Do You Use Hydrogen Peroxide Safely?

hydrogen peroxide and bleach safe

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural antiseptic that is entirely safe to use – on its own. But if you mix it with other cleaning products, it could lead to dangerous consequences. On its own, you can use it to disinfect wounds.

What are the other safe uses of hydrogen peroxide?

1. Can Help Maintain Your Clothes’ Original Colors

You can use it to whiten clothes. It can help clothes to maintain their original colors.

2. Stain Remover

Use hydrogen peroxide to remove complex stains. Just apply a small amount over the stain, and then leave it for several minutes. Then brush the stain away and rinse properly.

3. Whitens Teeth and Skin

It can make your teeth white. If you use hydrogen peroxide instead of mouthwash, it will eventually improve the whiteness of your teeth. Add it to your regular toothpaste so it can work its magic.

It can help make your skin color look lighter. Some people use hydrogen peroxide as a skin whitener.

4. Lessen Oil from Skin

You can use it as a skin lotion if you have oily skin. Use a weak hydrogen peroxide concentration, dab a cotton swab with it, and wipe it over your face.

5. Can Cure Sore Throat

It can cure sore throat. Mix 1/4 tbsp of hydrogen peroxide with 1/2 tbsp of warm water and use it to rinse your throat. It can kill harmful bacteria, so you can also use it if you think you will catch a cold.

6. Disinfectant

Since hydrogen peroxide can kill pathogens, you can use it as a house disinfectant. Apply some of it to a cleaning cloth and clean away.

7. Pain Reliever

Use it for neck pain relief. If you have pain sensations in any part of your body, moisten a cloth with hydrogen peroxide and apply it to the affected part. Then cover it with a small towel.

Allow this compress 10 to 20 minutes to do its work. Your muscles will feel warm, and the pain and tension will disappear.

8. Use as an Oral Cavity Treatment

You can use it as an oral cavity treatment. It can cure ulcers and sores in your mouth. Put around 10 ml of hydrogen peroxide inside your mouth. Don’t swallow it but hold it for five minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Perhaps there are many questions you have in your mind about hydrogen peroxide being mixed with bleach. Here are the answers to the most often asked questions about this topic:

What Will Happen If I Mix Hydrogen Peroxide with Bleach?

An explosion can happen if you do this. If you are mixing these two to create a more robust cleaner, you can’t. Instead, you will produce a huge amount of oxygen gas. As a general rule, you should avoid mixing two different cleaners because of the chemical reaction.

The mixture will form oxygen gas, salt or sodium chloride, and water. For this mixture to work, the bleach should have sodium hypochlorite. If you want a quick reaction, you need concentrated amounts of the solutions.

Is It Safe to Mix Bleach and Hydrogen Peroxide?

No, it is not safe. It is dangerous to mix these two different cleaners. When these two cleaners combine, there will be an instant chemical reaction.

Huge amounts of oxygen gas will be produced. A blow-off can result if the reaction occurs in a fully enclosed space, like the inner part of a washing machine.

Why Is It Not Advisable to Mix Bleach with Hydrogen Peroxide?

You are advised not to mix these two cleaners because of the risks involved, it can harm your health, and it will only nullify the cleaning power of the weaker cleaner. In other words, you are not creating a strong cleaner; instead, you are exposing yourself to dangerous risks.

In Closing: What Happens When I Mix Bleach and Hydrogen Peroxide?

Don’t mix hydrogen peroxide and bleach because that’s dangerous. If you combine these two cleaners, you will create oxygen violently. It can cause an explosion.

You should not mix two household cleaners. You are not creating a stronger cleaner if you mix them, but you are courting disaster if you do.