OxiClean is a bleach-free stain remover and household cleaner known for its versatility and effectiveness.
It breaks down stains, emulsified oils, and removes dirt and grime from clothes, carpets, and hard surfaces in your home.
But what if OxiClean isn’t getting the job done?
Is it safe to mix OxiClean and bleach?
The short answer is no. Mixing OxiClean and bleach is extremely dangerous. OxiClean breaks down into hydrogen peroxide, and combining hydrogen peroxide with chlorine bleach creates a chemical reaction and poisonous gases. Breathing high levels of these toxic fumes can be fatal, especially in a room with poor ventilation.
Additionally, the chemical reaction that occurs when you mix OxiClean and bleach creates heat that can cause an explosion, according to Neal Langerman, CEO and principal scientist at Advanced Chemical Safety.
Bottom line — do not mix OxiClean and bleach under any circumstances.
In the following sections of this guide, you’ll learn:
- What OxiClean says about mixing their products with bleach
- What to do if you already mixed the two
- Whether it’s safe to mix OxiClean and vinegar
- What is safe to mix with OxiClean and bleach
Let’s dive in!
Use the links below to navigate:
- What the Makers of OxiClean Say About Mixing It With Bleach
- How OxiClean Works
- Why You Shouldn’t Mix OxiClean and Bleach
- What to Do if You Already Mixed OxiClean and Bleach
- Can You Mix OxiClean and Vinegar?
- What Can You Mix With OxiClean?
- What Can You Mix With Bleach?
- Final Thoughts
What the Makers of OxiClean Say About Mixing It With Bleach
There’s nothing on OxiClean.com that explicitly warns against mixing it with bleach, so I reached out to Church & Dwight, the makers of OxiClean, to get more information.
I asked: Is it safe to mix OxiClean and bleach?
They didn’t provide a specific reason why you shouldn’t mix OxiClean and bleach, but they recommended against it. Here’s is exactly what they said in their response:
“Thank you for taking the time to contact Church & Dwight Co., Inc. about OxiClean™ Versatile Powder Stain Remover products. In response to our inquiry, no, we cannot recommend mixing the OxiClean products with bleach. Depending on the stain, you may need a couple of applications to remove it. We also recommend for the toughest stains, to use the Max Force [OxiClean’s most powerful formula]. It may be left on for up to a week to help remove the stain.”
Here’s the screenshot of the reply from Church & Dwight:
Clorox, the leading manufacturer of bleach, clearly states on its website (go to the product page and click on “FAQ > Ingredients & Safety”) that you should NOT mix bleach with any other household cleaners. They also that that “toxic fumes could result.”
Below is the screenshot of this statement on Clorox.com.
How OxiClean Works
Are you wondering why you can’t mix bleach and OxiClean? To understand that, you must first understand how OxiClean works.
The main ingredient in powdered OxiClean is sodium percarbonate. When sodium percarbonate contacts water, it breaks down into two other compounds: sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide.
The hydrogen peroxide then works to break down and remove stains. It’s the oxidizing agent, hence the name OxiClean.
Sodium carbonate, commonly referred to as washing soda, is a popular product for dissolving grease, alcohol, and oil stains. It alkalizes the water to help release the acid in the stains from clothes and other surfaces.
Likewise, the fizzing bubbling sound you hear when you use OxiClean is the oxygen releasing. The bubbles bind to the stain compounds to lift them away.
Unlike OxiClean powder, which starts as sodium percarbonate and becomes hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate, OxiClean stain remover liquid spray is a mix of hydrogen peroxide, water, surfactants, and dispersing agents (view ingredients).
The key point is that all OxiClean products (sprays and powders) contain or break down into other chemical compounds that are dangerous when mixed with bleach.
Why You Shouldn’t Mix OxiClean and Bleach
As I mentioned at the beginning, mixing OxiClean and bleach causes a chemical reaction that releases poisonous gases and creates heat, which could result in an explosion.
Really scary stuff.
But, besides the dangers, there’s no reason you should ever have to mix OxiClean and bleach. OxiClean is very effective on its own when used properly.
Here are a few tips to maximize its effectiveness.
- When removing stains on clothes, combine the powder and water according to the package instructions. Mix thoroughly, then submerge the clothes for 1-6 hours, depending on the soil level of the stain. Wash as normal. If you’re stuck between OxiClean and other stain removers, check out my analysis on OxiClean vs. Shout.
- For hard surfaces, mix one scoop of OxiClean per gallon of water. Apply to the surface with a cloth, brush, or sponge and let it stand for up to 30 minutes. Scrub it in more where there are stains or spots. Rinse with clear water and blot dry.
- When removing stains from carpet, ensure you’re only using the product on water-washable rugs, or you’re using a specific carpet cleaning product. When using the OxiClean Carpet Rug Stain Remover, make sure to remove excess residue first. Saturate the stain with the spray and let it sit for 10 minutes. Blot the stain with a colorfast cloth or sponge, and repeat if necessary. Vacuum afterward.
- Finally, for cleaning upholstery, remove the excess residue first. Dilute the OxiClean according to package instructions: up to the first line on the scoop with 16 ounces of water. Apply the solution to a clean white towel and blot the stain. Repeat until the stain has lifted. Rinse with a damp white towel, then blot dry.
What to Do if You Already Mixed OxiClean and Bleach
If you’re reading this article because you’ve already mixed OxiClean and bleach, open the windows and evacuate the room for a few hours.
If you’ve already breathed in fumes and don’t feel well (such as coughing, nausea, difficulty breathing, dizziness), call your doctor or emergency services.
If you feel fine and haven’t breathed in the fumes, after airing out the room for a few hours, put on a mask and gloves and enter the room to dispose of the mixture. Do not pour it down the sink. If this isn’t possible, contact emergency services.
If you’ve mixed bleach and OxiClean with a load of laundry, you can try rinsing the laundry with water (after you’ve aired out the room and reentered wearing a mask and gloves). But I recommend disposing of the clothes to be safe.
Again — if in doubt, contact emergency services. If the fumes are overwhelming, alert any nearby neighbors too.
Can You Mix OxiClean and Vinegar?
Never mix OxiClean and vinegar. OxiClean breaks down into hydrogen peroxide, and mixing hydrogen peroxide and vinegar creates peracetic acid, which can be toxic.
Peracetic acid is corrosive and can irritate your eyes, mouth, nose, and throat. High concentrations of it can be lethal, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Bottom line — don’t mix OxiClean and vinegar.
What Can You Mix With OxiClean?
So, what is safe to mix with OxiClean? Water and laundry detergent, and that’s it.
Of course, if your laundry detergent has vinegar or bleach in it — do not mix it with OxiClean.
Always check the ingredients on the packaging. Nothing else is necessary, as OxiClean and detergent work effectively, and mixing household cleaners can potentially be harmful.
If you’re not sure, contact OxiClean to ask them any questions.
What Can You Mix With Bleach?
The only substance that is safe to mix with bleach is water — that’s it.
Never mix bleach with other products. When you mix chlorine bleach with ammonia, it can result in chloramine gases, which cause anything from coughing to pneumonia and possibly result in death.
If you mix chlorine bleach with acids, such as vinegar, you create chlorine gas. Low levels of this gas will irritate mucous membranes, and high levels can be fatal.
Chlorine bleach is a mixture of chlorine and sodium hydroxide, which then creates sodium hypochlorite. It’s diluted with water, bottled, and sold.
The primary purpose of chlorine bleach is to disinfect surfaces and kill bacteria. However, it can have toxic side effects, even when used properly in the home. It can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs, so always follow the manufacturer’s advice and wear gloves when using chlorine bleach.
Bottom line — you can dilute bleach with water, but never mix it with anything else.
Never mix bleach with OxiClean. The reaction creates toxic fumes and can even explode.
If you’re in a situation where you’ve accidentally mixed them, open windows, get out of the room, and call authorities if you’re not feeling well. If you need help removing the mixture after several hours, let the authorities know.
Always read the OxiClean instructions carefully before using it. If you’re unsure how to use OxiClean or have questions, contact the company via the contact form OxiClean.com.
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