Yes, it is perfectly safe, provided that you take the usual precautions that you might employ while using bleach.
If you’d like to know more about mixing bleach and baking soda, read on!
When this question was first posted to me, I was really interested to know the answer!
This is a great question. I started cleaning with vinegar and baking soda when my first child was born. I had heard early on how dangerous it was to mix vinegar and bleach, which is a huge and very serious no-no. (makes chlorine gas, super toxic, can kill!)
Bleach should also not be mixed with ammonia, substances containing ammonia (like glass cleaner).
So in general, I either clean with bleach, OR with baking soda plus vinegar. But I’ve never thought to clean with bleach AND baking soda.
What happens when you mix the baking soda and bleach?
Nothing. Nothing special, anyway.
In general, the opinion seems to be the the cleaning properties of both materials are improved. Baking soda is frequently used as a mild abrasive. But when mixed with bleach, (such as with dirty laundry), the clothes allegedly come out much cleaner. (source)
But otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of impact, like a special sauce, for using the two together.
If you are only using liquid bleach as your cleaner, the bleach itself is great for killing germs and for whitening things up. (it is a good disinfectant) But alone (especially when diluted with water), it is tough to use to clean up messes, scrub up toilets, sinks and tubs, because there’s no grit and no suds. It isn’t a cleaner.
Adding baking soda to the mix seems to be less about the baking soda and more about giving the bleach something to be scrubbed with.
When you mix bleach and baking soda (and PLEASE PLEASE water down the bleach), it forms a paste just like mixing up water and baking soda, though it doesn’t foam like when you combine it with vinegar (no chemical reaction). This paste can be rubbed onto surfaces, into grout, or even just spread on and left to do its work without too much scrubbing.
In fact, you might just be better off making a paste of the baking soda and water, and THEN spraying the surface with bleach and water mix after you’ve done all your scrubbing.
I’ve read elsewhere online that people mix up bleach with salt in the same manner to really get surfaces to come clean and shine.
Buying in Bulk
By the way, if you’ve never bought baking soda in bulk, you should. It is way cheaper to buy it in larger quantities than one box at a time at your local grocery store. I have bought it at Costco in a large bag for a good price, but I found that I really missed having the smaller boxes, so i could stick one in the fridge, freezer, or just not have to lug out a 10 pound bag to grab a quick tablespoon on it for a baking project.
I checked over on Amazon and Amazon sells 12 boxes at a fairly reasonable rate.
(Disclosure: The link above is an Amazon affiliate link. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Can you mix pee with bleach?
You know, this is another great question.
There is ammonia in urine, which, as we noted above, is not something that should be mixed with bleach. Mixing ammonia with bleach creates hydrochloric acid, which then goes on to create chloramine vapours (toxic, fatal, etc etc).
However, it should also be noted that most urine is water (over 95%). So if you were cleaning the toilet with bleach (or diluted bleach), and then you peed in the bowl without flushing the bleach cleaning solution (which is why I suspect this question was asked), you might end up with a small chemical reaction. But probably nothing sufficient enough to cause you serious harm.
This is why it is not a big deal to wash cloth diapers with a little bit of bleach, or to clean up the toilet with a little bleach.
I have to say though, now that I’ve researched the answer to this question, I’m going to make sure to flush the toilet before using it after cleaning it. Even a little bit of deadly gas in my bathroom sounds like a bad idea.
Best practices for cleaning with bleach
Bleach gives off some really bad for you heavy fumes. It is also really bad for your body, and can irritate your skin or make you sick.
If you want to use bleach, here are a few best practices for cleaning with it:
- dilute it heavily with water (like one part bleach to ten parts water, or one tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water). Research shows that bleach is actually more effective diluted than when it is used straight and undiluted (source)
- avoid using bleach with really hot water
- don’t mix it with vinegar or ammonia
- if you are using bleach AFTER cleaning a surface with another cleaner or product, check to make sure that the product doesn’t contain something that will result in a toxic reaction
- use gloves when you are scrubbing with bleach or bleach products, and avoid getting it on your skin or in your eyes
- turn on the fan when you are using it or open the windows to ventilate the space while using it to avoid breathing in the fumes
Is bleach a good disinfectant?
Bleach is a great germ killer. The active ingredient in bleach, sodium hypochlorite, kills bacteria, fungus and viruses by actually changing the protein in microorganisms.
But did you know? Bleach can actually expire. After a shelf life of six months, the product begins to degrade, and becomes less effective year by year.
Is it safe to clean with bleach?
In general, bleach is mostly safe, so long as you don’t combine it with other chemicals, or get it on your skin, in your eyes, breath it in, or ingest it.
However, this begs the question of whether it should be used in the home, especially when children frequently touch surfaces and then put their hands in their mouths, or put items washed with bleach in their mouths.
There is a lot that we don’t know about chemicals and cancer. Right now, we don’t have a clear connection between bleach and any specific cancer risk, but then again, there are a lot of illnesses and cancers out there that we can’t put a finger on as to why they occur.
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26 SECONDS. 26 seconds is all it takes from chemicals to absorb into your bloodstream through the skin. With two people working outside all day and a 7 year old, our tub gets pretty gross. I’ve always used bleach on it because I didn’t think anything else would work. Today I tried something different! I made soft scrub with my thieves.I was able to breathe while cleaning , I didn’t have to worry about the chemicals. And it SMELLS amazing. . . Thieves soft scrub 3c baking soda 3/4c thieves house hold cleaner 2tbs white vinegar 20-30 drops Lemon YL essential oil Mixed together in a bowl, reused an old bottle! Everything literally wiped right away! #nontoxic #nontoxicliving #chemicalfree #nobleach #yleo #thieves #natural #lifestylechange #clean #fresh #smellsclean #cleveland #clevelandhealth #thievesforthewin #allthieveseverything
In general, I take the position that with my family (and my children especially, that it is just better to use fewer chemicals overall, even if there isn’t a clear connection between a chemical and an illness.
There’s just a lot that we don’t know about the products and substances that we are using, putting in our foods, and using daily. There there is a chemical free option to bleach (such as using lemon juice, salt or baking soda and vinegar) to clean the sink, I am currently choosing to use that.
What do you think about using bleach in the home? Are you choosing to use it, or passing and going with vinegar and other more natural options? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear your opinion.
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Emily Anderson is a mother of three children, all under the age of 10. Located in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Emily is a mom and part-time blogger, jumping in front of the computer when the kids are sleeping. She started this blog in April of 2019 and is proud that the blog is now paying for itself. If you want to know about her journey as a blogger, check out out her personal digital journal or her post about failing her way to blogging success.