DIY Laundry Solutions Safety Warning!

by Ivory Soap on 01/03/2014

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After years of DIY solution making, I stopped looking around the net for new ones.  However, in an effort to shake up my DIY cleaning routine, I started checking out some popular sites and recipes.  I am continually irritated by recipes with ingredients that cancel each other out or deteriorate and lose cleaning power in a month, but I was SHOCKED to find that some of the most popular combinations are REALLY DANGEROUS.

Never mix ammonia and chlorine bleach.

It makes a DANGEROUS gas.  Most DIYers know this, but will readily mix a DIY laundry detergent (containing Dawn) with chlorine bleach in the laundry machine.  Using liquid dish soap in your DIY laundry detergent is fine and eliminates a lot of the hard water problems of using soap, but if you ever intend to use your homemade detergent with chlorine bleach, YOU MUST MAKE SURE YOUR LIQUID DISHSOAP IS SAFE TO MIX WITH BLEACH.  Check the bottle for comments about bleach before you use it with chlorine bleach.

Never mix borax and chlorine bleach.

Again, it makes bad gas…and a WHOLE LOT OF HEAT.  Can burn the snot out of you.   Most of your DIY detergents contain borax, which is basically a filler unless you are using it at high heat.   So, it’s unnecessary, unhelpful, AND dangerous to mix with bleach especially once you get the water hot enough to activate borax’s oxygen bleaching properties.  Winner.

Never mix peroxide products and chlorine bleach.

In addition to borax, other oxygen bleaches react with heat and gas when mixed with chlorine.  Oxygen bleaches include Oxiclean, hydrogen peroxide, or any other version of sodium percarbonate or sodium carbonate peroxide. In addition to that, they kind of cancel each other out.

But I do it all the time and I’m just FINE!

There is a really popular “Miracle” Laundry Whitening Solution on one of my favorite websites that mixes all of these things together.  My guess is that folks who have used it successfully don’t put them in together at the beginning of the cycle.  Otherwise, you’d be coughing your head off.   If you must use it in your laundry, put the detergent in first, fill the washer, THEN put in your bleach.  At least the gas will be produced more slowly and not in one big choking cloud.



{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

lisa lynn January 4, 2014 at 7:28 am

Great information! Thanks for sharing. When we bought a new high efficiency washer, the manufacturer had a message on it that using homemade laundry detergents could void the warranty. I was little miffed at first, but I’m guessing they knew about some of the crazy concoctions people mix up! Some of them might actually be bad for the machine too.

Lori January 4, 2014 at 8:37 pm

I just want to say thank you so mucho for taking the time to post this page. I believe that if one person- (me) learned anything- and I did!! Then you have made a difference, I am going to share it with my girlfriends. THANK YOU!! Keep up the good information. I am listening and learning!

MyMenagerie January 5, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Thank you for the great information! You mention adding bleach after the washer is filled with water. I have a front loader with separate dispensers. What do you suggest and how do these combos affect fabric softener? Thanks!

Alice January 5, 2014 at 11:36 pm

you use chlorine bleach? that stuff alone is awful. I would never use it in my house, even when the children are long gone. I dont make my own laundry detergent that offten, In stead I use Charlies Soap. It works so well i rarely have to use bleach. if i do i use a bleach alternative from Grab Green (I live in Western Australia, and buy both Charlies soap, and bleach alternative, online)

Kim May 24, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Great article! Always knew about never mix bleach and ammonia. I had no knowledge about never mix bleach with borax or peroxide. I have been making my own laundry detergent for a while now with borax. I despise the smell of bleach, rarely if ever use it, but i do have some in the laundry room. This is something everyone needs to know. I look around the web for DIY home cleaning and laundry ideas all the time, just to see what other are saying and have never come across warnings as are posted here. Thank you. Will past along.

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