Can You Mix Baking Soda and Bleach? Yes, But Be Careful!

Social media is full of cleaning hacks you may be tempted to try. One such hack is mixing baking soda and bleach.

But can you mix baking soda and bleach safely? After all, there are some accounts of the mixture producing harmful fumes, such as chlorine gas.

Mixing baking soda and bleach is safe and does not produce chlorine gas. However, you do want to be careful when handling bleach, as it is highly corrosive and reactive.

Let’s take a look at how to safely mix baking soda and bleach and how to properly use the combination. 

Is It Safe, But Be Careful!

There is much debate online as to whether it is safe to mix baking soda and bleach, with some conflicting information available.

Despite what some sites may say, mixing baking soda and bleach does not produce chlorine gas or any other harmful chemicals.

The main concern lies in handling bleach properly, as it can be harmful if suitable precautions are not taken.

Baking soda and bleach

The Chemical Reaction When Mixing Baking Soda and Bleach

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) is an old-fashioned abrasive perfect for deodorizing, lifting stains, neutralizing acid spills, and softening water. With a pH between 8 and 9, this salt is a weak base.

Household chlorine bleach, sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), is a highly reactive chemical that when mixed with acids produces chlorine gas; however, it does not react with baking soda because it is also a base with a pH of 12.

Non-chlorine bleach, or calcium hypochlorite, Ca(ClO)2, is also alkaline, with a pH of 10.8.

Therefore, mixing baking soda and chlorine or non-chlorine bleach does not produce any toxic fumes or heat. 

How to Safely Mix Baking Soda and Bleach

Depending on your cleaning needs, there are several ways you can mix baking soda and bleach.

For a powerful grout cleaner, mix about ¾ cup of baking soda and ¼ cup of bleach to make a paste. Scrub using a brush and rinse.

To remove mold and grime from your walls, mix one part baking soda and one part bleach to make a paste. Scrub with a brush and rinse with water.

To make a mild solution for use in the bathroom, kitchen, and other household areas, combine one cup of bleach, ½ cup of baking soda, and 1 gallon of water. 

When washing whites, add bleach to the bleach compartment and about ½ cup of baking soda to the washer’s drum for better results. This will also help keep your front-loading washing machine clean and odor-free. 

Always add bleach slowly for a gradual combination and to avoid splashing. 

Also, keep in mind solutions with bleach only last about 24 hours before they begin to lose their efficacy. It is not recommended you store any bleach solutions for longer than a day. 

Safe Handling

Never use or mix any cleaning products, especially bleach, in an enclosed space. Always ensure there is proper ventilation before using or mixing. 

Wear long rubber gloves and protect your eyes with a pair of wraparound safety glasses.

If you spill bleach alone or the mixed solution on your clothing, remove it immediately and rinse skin that touched the solution thoroughly.

If you get any of the solutions in your eyes or skin, flush the area with water for at least 15 minutes.

Additionally, never mix bleach with hot water or boil a mixture containing bleach. Heating bleach can release chlorine gas and other chlorates into the air.

Always keep pets and small children away from the area when handling bleach to keep them safe. 

Health Risks

While baking soda and bleach do not produce an adverse reaction when mixed due to their alkaline properties, mishandling bleach can have detrimental health impacts. 

Therefore, care must be taken when handling and mixing the two products.

In general, exposure to bleach, whether it is by ingestion, skin contact, or inhalation of fumes can cause:

  • Damage to the esophagus and stomach
  • Skin and eye irritation, drying, and burns
  • Lung damage

Excessive exposure without ventilation or ingestion could lead to death.

Call your local emergency services immediately if you have trouble breathing. If you can breathe but have been exposed to chemical fumes, call your local poison control center. They will direct you to what course of action to take.

Benefits of Mixing Baking Soda and Bleach

Mixing baking soda and bleach can help you tackle many of your household cleaning tasks.

The mixture’s benefits include cleaning and disinfecting a variety of surfaces, including in the kitchen, bathroom, and various living spaces.

In the kitchen, it can help keep pests away from your trash bins, reducing the potential for disease and bad odors.

Baking soda’s abrasive properties can help you keep a clean bathroom by mixing it with bleach to make a paste to remove mold, mildew, and tough stains from grout and walls with minimal effort.

In the laundry, it can help with stain removal and keep your washer clean and odor-free.

When mixed with water, it can disinfect often-touched surfaces, such as counters, floors, and doorknobs, which is especially important during cold and flu season.

Uses for This Solution

There are several benefits to using baking soda and bleach together. Let’s take a look at some of the mixture’s uses as a household cleaner.

In the Laundry Room

Baking soda has long been used as a water softener, which in turn results in softer clothes, sheets, and towels. 

But, combining baking soda and bleach doesn’t just leave your textiles softer, the combination also deodorizes and removes pesky stains, effectively whitening your whites, including those stubborn socks. 

My little guy loves running around our home in socks after school. No matter how much I mop our floors, his socks always end up black and dingy. Baking soda and bleach are a lifesaver when tackling such difficult-to-clean stains.

Additionally, adding bleach to the bleach compartment and baking soda to the washer’s drum can help keep your front-loading washing machine clean and odor-free.

In the Bathroom

Baking soda and bleach make an excellent cleaning and sanitizing solution for your bathroom.

Use the combination as a powerful paste to remove mildew, mold, and tough stains from grout. 

Be sure to rinse the area well before applying the baking soda-bleach mixture to avoid a reaction with any leftover cleaner residue.

Bathroom countertops and trash bins can also benefit from the baking soda-bleach cleaning solution and sanitizing properties. Just be sure to test an area before applying to any surface.

In the Kitchen

In the kitchen, baking soda, bleach, and water solution can help keep pests away from your trash bins, reducing the potential for disease and bad odors.

You can also clean countertops to disinfect them. Just test an area before using the solution on any surface and be sure to rinse any food preparation areas with water before placing food on them.

Around the Home

This powerful solution can be used on various surfaces and areas throughout your home (just be sure to test first). 

From counters to walls, grout, windowsills, and doorknobs, you can be sure you’ll be keeping your family safe by cleaning and disinfecting with this product combination.

Alternatives to Mixing Baking Soda and Bleach

There are some great natural homemade cleaning solutions I like to use as alternatives to baking soda and bleach. Here are a few:

  1. I like to use lemon in the kitchen and bathroom. Depending on the task, I’ll also add salt or baking soda for a more effective scrubber. Lemon is excellent for cleaning countertops and oven racks, and disinfecting cutting boards.
  2. Another abrasive cleaner readily found in your pantry is salt. I like to combine it with lemon juice or vinegar because it can make a powerful cleaning paste. 
  3. As far as difficult-to-remove stains go, such as blood, hydrogen peroxide works great. It even bubbles to show it’s working! Just be sure to wear gloves and wash your hands immediately after using, as it is corrosive.

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