Disclaimer: In this post we talk about bleach. We want to make it clear that The Abbey Cleaning Service’s cleaners very rarely use bleach because of its implications to the environment (unless instructed by our customer). However, given that other cleaning companies do, as well as people cleaning their homes, we still wanted to cover it (and its dangers) in this post.
Office cleaning can be dangerous. No – really, it can. Think about it: being exposed to cleaning chemicals, even natural ones, can be damaging to health. And if you mix the wrong ones together?
Well, that’s a recipe for disaster.
By using or combining the wrong cleaning products, you can damage property and put people in harm’s way. So, in this post, we’ll run through the biggest mistakes you can make in commercial cleaning, including dangers that are too risky to ignore.
Know Your Office Cleaning Chemicals
As a general rule, never mix bleach with anything. It’s highly reactive, and loves to create deadly chemicals!
If you use the wrong cleaning product for a job, even the best possible outcome is a bad one; you ruin the clean, and have to do it again. You can also destroy a surface or fabric by using the wrong cleaners on it.
But the biggest risk by far is to human life and wellbeing.
Despite a push for gentler, more eco-friendly solutions, cleaning products still often contain toxic, flammable, or caustic ingredients. The harshest chemicals come with clear warnings – but things can get really dangerous when you start unwittingly combining chemicals with each other.
This can happen by mistake – for example, by applying bleach to cleanse, then a glass cleaner for shine. But sometimes, cleaning newbies try to boost cleaning product performance by mixing two or more together.
This is super dangerous. Do not do it.
Let’s explain why… Here are some examples of chemical combinations that are totally fine on their own, but can become very dangerous when combined.
Bleach and vinegar ⚠️
These two famously effective cleaning staples should never be mixed – as in combination, they create chlorine gas. Chlorine in high concentrations and poorly ventilated areas can cause coughing and breathing difficulty. It can also irritate the eyes, or cause a burning sensation.
If chlorine gas and water get together, they can create hydrochloric acid. This is a powerful corrosive that can cause life-changing damage to the body in high concentrations.
Bleach and glass cleaner ⚠️
Chloramines are powerful and highly toxic gases. These chemical compounds can result from the reaction between the hypochlorites in bleach and the ammonia found in glass cleaning products. Chloramines can trigger chest pain, vomiting, breathing difficulties – even pneumonia.
Bleach and alcohol ⚠️
Believe it or not, cleaning alcohol (even the stuff in hand sanitiser) combined with bleach creates chloroform – a powerful sedative that can be deadly. Hydrochloric acid is also produced in this reaction, along with other byproducts.
This is why alcohol spills should never be cleaned up with bleach, and why the two should never be used to beef up disinfecting power.
Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar ⚠️
These two common cleaning agents produce peracetic or peroxyacetic acid when combined. It’s highly corrosive, causing damage to surfaces – but can also irritate the throat and lungs, eyes and skin.
Damage to Property
Even at light concentrations, these chemical mixtures can ruin carpets, fabrics, furniture and office equipment.
Read more: How to Clean Office Equipment: the Ultimate Guide
But single cleansers on their own can do damage to property if used incorrectly. For example, if marble floors are cleaned with acidic cleaning agents, they become permanently damaged. The acid in the cleaner attacks the carbon and calcium compounds in the natural stone, fizzing it away into CO2 gas. This cannot be repaired – so don’t use any kind of acid-containing cleaners or vinegars in an attempt to get a streak-free finish!
The best way to avoid the risks of dangerous and damaging cleaning chemicals is to hire a professional, experienced commercial cleaner with decades of experience.
And we know just the team…
Leave it to the commercial cleaning professionals
The Abbey Cleaning Service is a team of professional office cleaners in Cardiff.
Call 029 2067 9323 today, and find out how we’ll keep your office clean, safe, and smelling fresh – without disrupting work.