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Health Tip: Be Careful Cleaning With Bleach

Fumes can be harmful

(HealthDay News) -- Although bleach and bleach-based cleaners are an effective way to kill germs, the fumes can irritate the lungs. In poorly ventilated areas, cleaning with bleach can even cause lung damage.

Here are suggestions on how to sanitize safely with bleach, courtesy of the Washington Toxics Coalition:

  • Never mix bleach with ammonia, as the combination produces toxic fumes that can damage the lungs. Avoid mixing any bleach or bleach products with household ammonia, glass cleaner, dishwashing liquid, or metal cleaner -- all of which can contain ammonia.
  • People with asthma, heart disease or lung problems should avoid cleaning with bleach, as the fumes can further irritate the lungs.
  • If you are cleaning with bleach, be sure the area is well-ventilated. Open a window or turn on a fan.
  • Be careful with products that have added fragrances -- the fumes are only masked and can still be toxic.
  • Bleach should never be mixed with toilet bowl cleaner or rust remover, as these combinations can produce toxic fumes.
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