Can You Mix Lysol and Vinegar? No! (Here’s Why)

You may have heard of the benefits of using vinegar as a cleaning agent. Not only is it non-toxic and eco-friendly, but its acidic properties have to potential to kill some germs.

You may also know Lysol is a great disinfectant, with the ability to kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. 

So, why not combine the two to make a more powerful cleaning product?

While it may seem like a good idea, you will want to steer clear of mixing Lysol and vinegar since the combination can produce very toxic, harmful chemicals.

Let’s explore what can happen when you mix Lysol and vinegar.

Why You Should Never Mix Lysol and Vinegar

Mixing Lysol and vinegar can produce dangerous reactions, making the combination potentially toxic. 

Lysol has several different formulations, most of them containing ammonia or hydrogen peroxide.

Mixing cleaning products containing ammonia with vinegar produces chlorine gas while mixing hydrogen peroxide products with vinegar releases peracetic acid. 

Both chemicals are considered very harmful to humans and should be avoided.

Related: Can You Mix Lysol and Bleach?

The Danger of Chlorine Gas 

Chlorine gas can be lethal and can cause major damage to the lungs, eyes, nose, and throat. 

It is especially dangerous because symptoms of exposure don’t always appear immediately, with some taking several hours or days to show up.

Therefore, it is important to follow up with a healthcare professional after being exposed, even if you experience no symptoms at first.

If you’ve been exposed to chlorine gas, watch for the following symptoms:

  • Teary eyes and blurred vision
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Burning in eyes, nose, and throat
  • Coughing or shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin inflammation, including red blisters, burning or pain

The Danger of Peracetic Acid

Peracetic acid, also known as peroxyacetic acid or PAA, is the result of mixing hydrogen peroxide, which is found in some Lysol products, and vinegar. Peracetic acid is a colorless liquid with a low pH and a strong, vinegar-like odor.

Although peracetic acid is used in the food industry and hospitals as a disinfectant, combining cleaning products, such as Lysol with vinegar can yield a chemical that can be highly corrosive.

Peracetic acid is also unstable, meaning it is highly reactive and potentially explosive.

Peracetic acid can be harmful to the eyes, lungs, nose, throat, and skin. Therefore, individuals with a preexisting health condition should be especially careful around this chemical and should take extra precautions.

In extreme cases, peracetic acid causes hemorrhage, edema (swelling of the body’s tissues), and consolidation of the lungs (where air is replaced with pus, blood, or fluid).

Long-term or repeated exposure to peracetic acid can also affect the liver and kidneys.

What to Do If Exposed to Toxic Gas or Chemical

If you fear you’ve been exposed to toxic fumes, such as chlorine gas, leave the area immediately. Move to a safe, well-ventilated location, preferably with fresh air. 

NEVER attempt to clean up or remove the chemicals first!

Fumes from the gas can be trapped in your clothing, so it is important to remove them right away. Place your clothes in a plastic bag to avoid continued exposure to them.

Take a shower right away and wash yourself thoroughly, including your hair.

Contact your local poison control center for additional instructions and seek medical attention as soon as possible to avoid long-term side effects.

If you have trouble breathing, call your local emergency services immediately.

If you find someone exposed to toxic fumes or with chemical burns, help them to an area with fresh air and call your local emergency services right away.

When safe to do so, open the windows and turn on fans in the area where the chemicals were mixed to disperse the fumes.

Using rubber gloves, throw away any cleaning supplies that came in contact with the chemical, including brushes, sponges, and rags.

Wipe or wash every surface with clean water to remove any potential residue. Discard all rags and sponges.

Your local poison control center can also provide additional clean-up instructions.

Tips When Using Cleaning Products

When using any type of cleaning product, it is always good practice to use clean rubber gloves without holes or cuts. 

Many cleaning products have preservatives and fragrances that can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation, so protecting your hands with gloves and wearing long sleeves and pants can help you avoid issues. 

Never use cleaning products, no matter how eco-friendly and non-toxic they may be, in an enclosed area.

Bathrooms, for example, can be especially dangerous since they are often small and have limited ventilation.

When I clean my bathroom, I always have the exhaust fan on and leave the door open to ensure there is adequate ventilation and I am not breathing in any harmful fumes.

If you do not have an exhaust fan in the bathroom, you can place a small fan in there and point it at the door to avoid keeping the fumes trapped in with you. 

If you do this, however, ensure the rest of your home is well-ventilated as well. Turn on ceiling fans or open windows for everyone’s safety.

Wear closed-toe shoes when cleaning in case of chemical spillage. If you wear sandals, wash thoroughly with soap and water when you are done.

Also, it is good practice to wash your hands with soap and water after using any cleaning product.

Wrapping Up

We all want to enjoy a clean home. Often, we may think combining cleaning products can yield more powerful, disinfecting results.

However, combining commercial cleaning products with household ingredients can often lead to hazardous outcomes, such as when you mix Lysol and vinegar. 

Most cleaning products in the market are powerful enough on their own and rarely need to be combined with anything else.

When in doubt, always read the product’s label and avoid mixing with anything you are unsure of.

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