Can You Mix Dawn Dish Soap With Bleach??

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I must be in a laundry state of mind lately because today’s post is once again about a laundry question I’ve been thinking about. Last week I was researching some unexpected homemade stain removers and that got me thinking about another homemade laundry product – my homemade no-grate laundry soap made with Dawn dish soap.

First off I should say that I’ve been very happy with my homemade Dawn laundry soap. It goes together fast and easy and eliminates the need for the tedious task of grating a bar of soap. (Check out the recipe here: Homemade Laundry Soap Made With Dawn). It also seems to do a fine job of getting our clothes clean, and for a very cheap price too I might add.

BUT – not that long ago when I looked at the back of the bottle of Dawn dish soap I spotted these tiny words: “Do Not Add Bleach”.

Can you add bleach to homemade laundry soap made with Dawn?

This was news to me and started a bunch of questions swirling around in my head.

But what if I want to use my homemade Dawn laundry soap in a load of laundry with bleach?

Will something bad happen?

Why did they put that warning on the bottle of Dawn anyway?

Is it because there’s some dangerous chemical in Dawn dish soap?

Or are they just covering their {you know what} and issuing super cautious warnings that we need to take with a grain of salt?

And why is there no list of ingredients on a bottle of Dawn ?!?  Grrr . . .

. . . . and off I went to see if some online googling could make me a little smarter on the subject.

Here’s what I found { and I do feel a little smarter now }. It’s a smidge technical, but hang with me and we’ll try to sort through the info.

The Big Chemical Mixing No-No

The first piece of the puzzle in answering the “mixing Dawn with bleach” question came from remembering again that there are two substances that should never be mixed together: Ammonia and Bleach.

Mixing ammonia and bleach together results in toxic fumes that are very dangerous and cause extreme irritation to the eyes and lungs and can even result in death. In fact this is the same chemical reaction that’s used to create Mustard Gas used in chemical warfare. If these substances are accidentally mixed together they will create dangerous fumes and you will begin coughing, wheezing, feeling dizzy, and feeling a burning sensation. You should quickly open any windows to get fresh air in and then remove yourself from the area. It’s a serious matter!

Does Dawn Contain Ammonia?

So apparently the warnings found on some dish soaps that you should not add bleach stems from this potential chemical reaction. Here’s an interesting story from someone who experienced this bad reaction when soaking some dishes in her sink. (Cleaning Won’t Kill You – Maybe).

She squirted some dish soap on the dishes in the sink with some hot water and then glugged in a little bleach and left things to sit and soak, but then started feeling sick and dizzy. So she checked the label on her Palmolive dish soap and was frustrated to see a tiny “Do Not Add Bleach” warning which she interpreted to mean “Hey your dishes will be so clean you won’t even need bleach! Yay!”. She also pointed out that there is NO list of ingredients on the back of the dish soap bottle to give you any inkling of what might be in there (maybe ammonia!) that’s causing the problem.

Exactly true! The Dawn dish soap bottle contains the same small bleach warning, but NO list of ingredients. I’ve learned however that all chemical products must publish a Material Safety Data Sheet which can be easily found on the internet and contains a “Composition and Ingredients” section. Here’s the Material Safety Data Sheet for the blue Dawn (Dawn Ultra MSDS).

And is this data sheet helpful? Well, kind of. Probably more so if you’re a chemist. The best I can see from this sheet is that Dawn contains “Amines”.

Are Amines the same as Ammonia?

Here’s where I start feeling in over my head on the subject of chemicals and most of the online information is very technical. The short answer is that amines are derivatives of ammonia where one or more hydrogen atoms have been replaced with a substitute. So the best I can discern with my layman’s understanding is that this ammonia derivative is in fact the likely reason for dish soaps to give a warning about not adding bleach.

Can you combine homemade Dawn laundry soap and bleach

Should We Not Add Bleach With Our Homemade Dawn Laundry Soap?

Now we get down to the nitty gritty – the answer we’re in search of in the first place. We’ve tried to do the responsible thing and read the warning labels and educate ourselves about the ingredients we’re using. What’s our decision going to be about using our homemade Dawn laundry soap together in a washing machine load with bleach?

For me, the thought I keep coming back to is that our ingredients are very diluted. To make a batch of my homemade laundry soap made with Dawn, I use 2 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap in a gallon of water. THEN, I use about a 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of that mixture in a wash load. A typical washing machine holds approximately 20 gallons of water so we have a small amount of Dawn per approximately 20 gallons of water. If we’re adding a cup of bleach to a wash load, that will also be diluted into approximately 20 gallons of water. This is a much different ratio than if you were to combine a squirt of Dawn dish soap and bleach to wash dishes in a small sink full of water (maybe about one gallon of water). And of course the makers of dish soaps are expecting us to be washing our dishes in a little sink with the product, and not our clothing in a big ole washing machine.

So to be super cautious, we would make the decision to not add any bleach to a laundry load when using our homemade Dawn laundry soap.

BUT . . . you may be able to guess where I’m going on this subject next.

Yup – I Tried It

I made the decision to give this a try and not because I felt it was OK to throw caution to the wind all willy-nilly. Instead I felt that I had done my due diligence, had given it some careful thought and felt that these ingredients were very diluted and therefore I was not being negligent or overly risky to check it out first hand.

I started filling my washing machine with water and added in about 3/4 cup of my homemade Dawn laundry soap. I let a little more water fill into the machine and then poured in a cup of bleach. I added the clothes as the washer filled the rest of the way. I could faintly smell the bleach but did not smell any other strong or noxious fumes.

I set my washer on a 10 minute wash cycle and every couple minutes opened my top loading washing machine to stick my head in there closer to the water and check out the smell. It only ever smelled faintly of bleach the same as any other wash load where bleach is added. There was not any presence of bad fumes.

Homemade Laundry Soap made with Dawn

Conclusion

In summary, my experience of combining my homemade Dawn laundry soap with bleach in the washing machine was uneventful and did not produce any bad results. It proceeded along like any other load of laundry. However I think in the future I will NOT be combining my homemade Dawn laundry soap with bleach in any smaller way that does not include lots of water (such as presoaking) just to be on the safe side.

I’m still of the opinion that this homemade Dawn laundry soap is a very worthwhile and money saving alternative. I don’t think the risk factor for this recipe is any stronger or more irresponsible than bottles of Dawn being sold off the grocery store shelf with their tiny little warnings on the back to not add bleach. I don’t very often use bleach, mainly because just Hubby and I do not create huge wash loads of just whites that CAN be bleached. I plan to continue to use my homemade Dawn laundry soap and from time to time if I want to combine it with bleach, I will be doing so because I have not seen any bad results.

Those are my thoughts and choices on this topic. It’s important to be aware of any potential problems so we can make good choices. I hope this article sheds some light on this subject and that it will allow you to make an informed decision that you think is best.

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120 Comments

  1. I learned your tricks years ago. Now the new washer’s that are similar to the the front loader but is top loading and uses almost no water, I don’t like them at all because you can’t put softeners or bleach in them without damaging the clothing, it uses maybe up to a gallon to 2 gallons of water how can this clean and rinse clothes

    1. It often seems to me too, that the older style appliances worked better than some of the new styles coming up. My old Maytag washer lasted almost 25 years and I was sad to see it go when it finally did give out.

  2. Oops…I erred! You’re washing 32, not 16, loads with 2 tbsp of Dawn. (8 oz/cup, 16 cups/gallon, 1/2 cup/load.)

  3. Dawn contains about the same concentration of surfactants as mainstream laundry detergents: 15%. You’re washing 16 loads using only 2 tbsp of Dawn. Would you dilute Tide that much? Why not wash with plain water? Results will be the same.

  4. ooops.. Mixed concentrated Lemon Juice with dawn and a lil bleach to kill cock roaches out in the kitchen… and dining room … then read all this …. opened a window.. LOL – no noxious smell or anything.. thankfully it is a large house maybe… ooops… seems like all bugs are gone though …

  5. I find when I occasionally want to bleach my whites that they usually can benefit from some additional soaking time. I fill a 5 gallon bucket about half way with hot water and about a cup of bleach, add my whites (like towels and socks) and just soak them for awhile. I then dump the entire mixture into the washer and spin it to remove all the water. I add the rest of my whites and wash as usual. It leaves a fresh smell, adds a little whitening to the other items and I don’t worry about too much bleach in my wash.

  6. It really matters the quantity of chlorine your using and if it’s diluted or not, if you have let’s say a tea spoon of ammonia mix the a tea spoon of liquid chloride the most you’ll get is a horrible smell and if you inhale it you’ll just feel nausea and unless your on a suicidal binge you’ll get the point of removing your nasal artifacts out of the ambiance pronto. but mix chlorine pure chlorine lets say a gallon with pure ammonia YOU GOT YOURSELF A WAR BABY AND ANYONE UNLUCKILY ENOUGH TO HAVE KNOWN YA AND DECIDED IT WAS A GOOD DAY TO HANG WITH YOU WILL HAVE A BAD BAD DAY, SO BAD IT COULD BE THE LAST DAY…. EVER. Now if I was there and saw that I would be the guy coughing and all of a sudden the neighbors got sturaled because they saw someone flying out of a window head first. at least that cough someone’s attention and I’m getting stiches not a body bag.
    P. S: YES!!! I still would’ve looked for a mask and glasses and tried to save my genius friend. I think….

  7. I have a brand new bottle of Dawn Ultra, with a list of ingredients. There is no warning about using with chlorine bleach. However, two of the ingredients are “Alcohol Denat.” and “Phenoxyethanol”, which would seem to be alcohols. Any alcohol is on the ‘Do not mix’ list for chlorine bleach. That said, I have often used them together with no apparent ill effects. Use your own judgement.

  8. Thank you, just saw “no bleach combo” warning in teeny tiny print, on back of All dish detergents available in both my variety and grocery stores when buying supplies for home sanitizing as recommended by CDC. Appreciate your thoughtful approach and appreciate the thoughtful comments below, especially from the chemist and another person with breathing issues. Please stay well, safe, AKA masked, and happy and in support of the demands of the Black Lives Movement.

  9. I bleach out coffee cups with a full coffee cup of bleach, then when stains are gone I empty bleach into sink and wash cups with Dawn Detergent. Is this mixing ammonia and Dawn detergent?

    1. If the bleach is still in the sink and you are adding water and soap to it to do the washing, then yes, I would call that mixing. However if you are just emptying the bleach out of the cups and then rinsing it away down the sink first, and then following up by washing them, I would not call that mixing.

  10. I’ve use Dawn ultra and mix a little bleach to wash my floor , there is no warning signs on the bottle to say not use bleach . But I am worried because they were talking about it on TV . I have a cough now that doesn’t go away.

  11. That was likely just from all the aerosolized CHLORINE bleach in the air. You can get the same effects being around a pool that has too much chlorine in it.

  12. Love your article and I will share it with one of my posts, but I do have to tell you that I used a very Dawn dish soap to clean my kitcken sink fallowed by a very diluted version of 10/100 bleach to water which I sprayed on the sink before rinsing. I immediately felt sick like I was going to pass out but wasn’t sure why. Later on I put the 2 & 2 together and realized I created the toxic fumes that brought my blood pressure to 224/165 and I had to increase my oxygen to 3. So conclusions in my opinion is that you never know who or how it’s goingMIX the 2 to hit the wrong way and you must be extremely cautious, specially people that may already have a medical condition. Best thing to do? NEVER

  13. I am staring at the ingredient list on my 2018 bottle of Blue Dawn right now. No ammonia, no warning about bleach. I would not choose to mix bleach with it anyway, but either the concern is old news or overblown.

  14. wow, now I know why I was feeling nausaus last week. I had mixed dawn, with bleach and baking soda in a small container to remove a stain.
    I use dawn, bleach, white vinegar, and baking soda for all my cleaning purposes. I even put dawn in my power washer. I had no idea that mixing dawn with bleach was harmful.
    However, the combo will get ANY stain out!
    Thanks for the due diligence!

  15. I use sunlight dish soap and bleach in those OXO soap dispenser brushes when I want to clean a stainless sink or countertop. I mix this practically straight with just a little press of water to make it flow easier through the hole in the brush. Never had a problem so I’d say scrap using Dawn dishwashing detergent!

  16. Mixing Ammonia with bleach will produce CHLORINE gas NOT Mustard Gas (Mustard Gas is 1-Chloro-2-[(2-chloroethyl)sulfanyl]ethane ).

    In a dilute solution it would be practically impossible to differentiate between the normal slight smell of chlorine from the bleach and the very small amount of extra chlorine made in the reaction with the ammonia.
    In enclosed spaces and/or in more concentrated solutions the concentration of chlorine gas could build up to a dangerous levels, particularly impacting those with conditions which compromise their breathing (eg asthma, COPD).

  17. I would assume that adding dish soap and water dilutes the dawn before you add bleach. Maybe not to the same degree as the diluted Dawn in your home made laundry detergent, but it’s sort of irresponsible to conclude that because it was safe for you, someone with lung issues might not have the same result.
    Though I have been reading on the safety and it is really confusing, so I am getting down to the source.
    Like everything else lately, I’d rather error on the side of science and medical advice.

  18. An easy Google search and you find that the very first ingredient in Dawn Soap is Alcohol. When mixed with bleach this will form chloroform. In conclusion, NOT a good idea to mix bleach and dish soap that contains alcohol.
    http://www.sciencenotes.com

    1. Absolutely incorrect. The first ingredient is water. If you look at the Dawn SDS, a bottle of dawn ultra contains between 1-5% ethanol.
      Regular Clorox bleach is 5-10% sodium hypochlorite.
      Far FAR too dilute to create any dangerous amount of chloroform.
      However, one should not dump a bottle of vodka into their bleach.

  19. Instead of bleach, use sodium percarbonate. It’s an oxygen bleach, completely safe for people and the planet.

  20. It is the fats in soaps combining with the calcium in hard water that make calcium stearate that plugs drains and gets trapped in fabrics. It is gummy and gooey and cannot be rinsed out with just water. You are familiar with it as bath tub ring and dingy gray whites. I have cleaned septic drain lines that were plug solid with gooey wax. The water guy

  21. I have been using Dawn dish soap for years and always put a small amount of bleach in the mix, I have never experienced any negative effects, BTW, my mother did the same thing for many years. Also, when I saw the warning you pointed out on the bottle of Dawn I went to the kitchen pulled out the bottle of Dawn , there is no such warning on the bottle and it does have a list of ingredients.

  22. Have you tried Seventh Generation dish liquid? The dish soap cleans better, faster, and safer then Dawn, as it is derived from plants. Bonus is ingredients are listed on the bottle. Just want to share as I appreciate your sharing as these wonderful cleaning solutions.

  23. Just to be on the safe side, I would wash first with Dawn, then do a second wash with bleach. Double wash for dirty whites 🙂

  24. i just mixed about an inch of blue dawn in a small bottle of bleach and squirted it on my moldy crawl space walls and floor, i started getting burning eyes and my nose was running so i googled this, oops, hopefully i wont be same as you Allison?!!

  25. Just a little info… The amines in the dish-soap will react with the hypochlorite in the bleach to create chloramine compounds. These chloramines can be relatively toxic if there is enough formed. The odor of chloramine compounds is pretty much like the smell of bleach, though it takes less for the same level of odor. If you are dealing with the somewhat dilute mixtures you are talking about, the risk from the chloramines is pretty low… just be careful while mixing, and don’t do it in an enclosed small space.

    As an aside, chloramines are formed in swimming pools when chlorine reacts with pee. Those chloramines have a very strong odor of chlorine. An interesting thing about the chloramines is that if you add yet more chlorine, the chloramine compounds are broken down and nitrogen gas is released as one of the reaction products. Because the chloramines have such a strong odor, if your pool smells “strongly” of chlorine, it is probably because of the chloramines. By adding more chlorine, the chloramines are removed and the “chlorine smell” is much reduced.

  26. Well, guess you already know what brought me here. Researcher, curious, NOSEY, whatever? ha,ha Thanks for all your research. Hypothesis proven. Thank you so much

  27. Mixing Dawn and bleach will cause grease to coagulate, clump in pipes and block septic tank drains. Hence the warning on the label. Learned this from experience.

    1. My mother always used Dawn and a small amount of bleach for years on a septic system and had no negative effects, and I have done the same on a septic system with no negative effects on the tank or pipes. BTW, it has been years since I had the tank pumped, I think 2006, I don’t know if the size of the tank would make a difference but my dad and I built the tank in the 70s and it measures 10 ft X 10 ft X 10 ft. it always takes 2 trips for the septic service to complete the job.

  28. I had to get a greasy stains out of some white shirts. I thought, “What better to remove grease than Dawn?”.
    I rubbed in the Dawn on the effected areas and let them soak. Then I put them in the washing machine with Tide and bleach. Of course I had used Tide with bleach before with no problem.
    Later, when I went in the basement, I noticed the smell of ammonia! I didn’t use any ammonia! Since I knew that Tide and bleach didn’t make that smell, I could only deduct that it was from the Dawn.
    This alarmed me enough that I NEVER mixed Dawn with bleach again!

  29. Did you have the scientific equipment capable of determining exactly what types of gases are in the air? I’m guessing not. Most poisonous gases including mustard gas actually have no smell on their own. In some parts of the second world war, certain countries used a specific added fragrance to warn their own troops of which gas they were dropping, or in case of a leak. This is the same exact thing they do to natural gas, to warn people that there is a leak, and to vacate the area. It’s a precautionary measure taken to minimize casualties in such a situation. What you have done has had no real testing done, and your are very lucky to not have had any long term effects. Leave this stuff to the real scientists, who are paid to keep you safe.

    1. WARNING! If a soap says “DO NOT ADD BLEACH” then take it seriously. Soaps have ingredients(chemicals) not shown and bad reactions can and do happen. 2 chemicals can have different reactions under different conditions, so having many chemical ingredients in a soap makes it difficult to know what reactions or gases will happen. Mixing one day could react differently another day. Contact a poison control center if you are unsure. Do not mix bleach or ammonia with anything.

  30. Here is something to think about… We have a very large elderly dog who occasionally urinates on the linoleum floor by the back door. We use regular old towels to soak up the urine instead of paper toweling (she’s a big dog and we’d go broke!) Anyway, I wanted to use bleach to kill bacteria in the wash… Urine turns to ammonia bigtime, so I wash first, then add bleach if there is a smell in the second wash.
    This got me thinking about people who use cloth diapers, and how it might be tempting to put those in the wash with some bleach. If they’ve been sitting in a diaper pail all day, (or longer) there will be a lot more ammonia buildup and it WILL produce toxic fumes if you use bleach with the wash. Little ones and pets, birds especially are affected by far fewer fumes than an adult would require to have issues. Just a thought.

  31. I think it depend on how you mixed your bleach and soap . For me, I have been able to mixed bleach and soap together successfully even with fragrances and it was fine and good for laundry

  32. Note. this mixture does not in fact produce any Mustard “gas” like compounds. whit is does produce is Chloramine gas. Further note, Mustard is a thick oily syrupy substance not actually a gas. They had to blow it up to “gasify” it. it is more like molasses than a gas.

  33. I have been using cheap supermarket detergent mixed with one third bleach by volume for washing dishes with no fumes or any other bad issues for many years. The criterion seems to be whether or not the detergent contains additives that react with bleach. Cheap ‘value’ detergent seems less likely to have any of these.

  34. Because of the mold and mosses that grow on the outside of our homes here in Alabama, I wondered if bleach and Dawn would make a good pre treat for my pressure washer. Seems ideal to me.

    1. I live in Florida and was looking for the ratio of bleach to Dawn that is used to pre-treat the roof of my outdoor porch and the railings around it prior to using a pressure washer and there was your question! What ratios do you use?

      1. Ya’ll might want to try a solution of Dawn and vinegar, it killed my fungus issue. OR Dawn & copper sulfate mix. Copper will kill it dead I’ve also heard of salt.

  35. I’m going to give this liquid detergent a try. The grated soap version looks like I’m washing my clothes in lard.

    1. I know what you mean Dottie. I would sometimes describe the liquid versions made with grated soap as “snotty”. I have come to much prefer this Dawn version if I want to make a homemade liquid laundry soap.

  36. I’m just curious why you are taking a risk of combining ingredients that are KNOWN to produce hazardous gas instead of using a commercial brand detergent? If you are looking to save money, there are plenty of inexpensive detergents. You are obviously not looking for a safe, non-toxic product.

  37. Someone told me if I diluted dawn with water it would render the dawn ineffective to breaking down oils and greases. Is this true?
    I do it to make the dawn last longer and think he’s wrong!

    1. I put a small amount of Dawn in my sink and fill it with water. By then it is very diluted and it works just fine! I don’t know anyone who does it dilute it at some point. What it really depends on is the final concentration when it is being used.

  38. I’m sure it’s not a good idea to mix dawn and bleach together, but that is not what the author is suggesting. There is at least 20 gallons of water in the average washer. There is 2 Tbls of Dawn in the Gallon of laundry soap. Then you use about 1/4 C of the mix in the 20 gallon wash.
    So Dawn is a 1:128 dilution ratio as it is in the Gallon of laundry soap.
    Once the 1/4 Cup, or less, is added to the 20 gallons of water for the laundry, it results in such a miniscule amount that it’s not worth my time figuring!

    Fluoride is toxic, but they add it to our water. Think about that.

    Bleach is toxic on its own. But when added to water….

    You get the idea. Calm down folks, and do your laundry

  39. Do not use Dawn or almost any other dish detergent for laundry. The perservative in them is a killer! You will be sorry when it builds up in your clothes!

  40. Not to be “that guy” but…
    Your test of smelling the washer after mixing things together is not at all proof that the mixture is safe.
    Also, keep in mind: just because it’s diluted doesn’t make it safer.

    1. actually dilution is generally the solution when it comes to toxic chemicals. look at fluoride. let it come out a smoke stack in large quantities and the farmers and ranchers near by have crap yields and sick animals. Disperse it in the nations water supply and 60 y/os need hip replacements but blame it on old age.

  41. I couldn’t wait to share this online with interested parties after hearing what I’m about to share with you…
    A very popular, local restaurant has their watered doing everything, including dishwashing. One of them explained to me that they have three bins. The first one is soapy water with bleach, the second is rinse water with bleach. (It is followed by a bin if only water, but their owner has told them that when they’re in a hurry, they can SKIP this step, as they don’t use that much bleach in their water. SERIOUSLY??????!!!!!!!!

  42. I forgot to mention that you could simply just use *THICK BLEACH instead of the thin bleach which I am assuming that you were using to mix with dish soap. The thick bleach (the basic kind you squirt around your toilet) is simply just thin bleach pre-mixed with a basic detergent solution (sans all the extra chemicals that can have an adverse toxic chemical reaction – as such with common dish soap). So, you could just solve your issue with simply using thick bleach and add water to make a foam.

    With thick bleach, you could:

    Clean plugholes by pour it down a sink/bath plughole and let it sit for 30 minutes then wash the bleach away with boiling water (no hot). Additionally, before adding bleach to clean the plughole to use a plunger to unblock the plughole first if there is a blockage (problem with water taking long to drain).

    You could clean any and all surfaces/floors/objects with a 1:5 solution of 1-part thick bleach and 5 parts cold/warm water. For ease of use just add this mixture into a clean spray bottle. Maybe buy one from Amazon.

    To whiten/brighten laundry. Or to simply clean the washing machine or dish washer etc.

    *The good thing about thick bleach and thin bleach is that they are the same thing so you can mix them together without a worry of producing toxic fumes. So, using the economy effective supermarket brand of thin bleach (which cost about 28p in Asda and Tesco) to unblock and disinfect the plugholes around the house will be fine when you use the same supermarket thick bleach (in the mixture I specified earlier 1:5 with warm/cold water) to clean all surfaces around the house such as bath tubs, sinks, floors, handles and commonly used appliances etc — anything). You could use thick bleach down plugholes but as it is already thick it may worsen the problem if you have a blockage, I however use thin just to be on the safe/less hassle side of things.

    PEACE!!

  43. It’s not that the toxicity of mixing bleach with the soap will kill you at once it’s that your body simply cannot dispose of the toxin so over time it will build up and kill you. For example, an alcoholic may drink him/herself silly until they pass out for 20-30 years but eventually they will kill himself with irreversible liver damage or some other debilitating disease. The risk is there, whether you care to acknowledge it is another matter but it will eventually make you very ill or cause you death.

  44. Well I ended up in the hospital from this combination. Hopefully my lungs aren’t permanently damaged

  45. It has nothing to do with ammonia. The MSDS clearly lists ethanol as an ingredient. Ethanol, when mixed with household bleach containing sodium hypochlorite, will create:
    – chloroform
    – hydrochloric acid
    as well as chloroacetone or dichloroacetone.

    These compounds can cause damage to the nervous system, lungs, kidneys, liver, eyes and skin.

    1. Thank you I was just about to comment on this even though the thread is so old lol. Amine oxides are not chemically the same as ammonia although they are derived from ammonia. It also says on the MSDS that there is “no known” possibility of hazardous reactions… but Ethanol and Chlorine bleach are definitely not a safe combination.. unless you want to kidnap someone.

    2. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this information with the rest of us who did in fact come across this recently, and really needed to hear it.

  46. I have been adding these two together for years, in tony amounts but to clean stained coffee cups etc, also I have a ceramic sink that stains easily so I toss some bleach in my dishwater when done and let it soak a bit for stains and bacteria. Btw love you dawn laundry recipe!

    1. To properly address this issue, you REALLY NEED to clarify what you are using the ‘soap/bleach’ solution for.
      Are you using it to CLEAN?

      Are you using it to SANITIZE?

      Or are you using it to DISINFECT?

      Too many people think these are the same and they are not. Think of it as 3 steps, and in any given situation you can stop at the step appropriate for your application, but you do them in order… Clean, Sanitize, Disinfect.

      Here’s the difference:

      CLEANING is simply the act of removing crumbs, food remnants, and other soil from an area or surface. CLEAN is good, but it’s NOT FOOD PREP SAFE. CLEAN is REQUIRED BEFORE you can SANITIZE. If you SANITIZE, but leave crumbs, etc. those things will simple contaminate the area again. Make sense?

      SANITIZING is the act of using high heat or a sanitizing chemical solution to kill germs, bacteria, etc. Dishwashers for instance use high heat in their Dry Cycle, which is most often why some dishes are not ‘dishwasher safe’. If you are not using high heat to SANITIZE, then a chemical solution must be used to achieve this, and as mentioned before you must have eliminated (CLEANED) the area prior to remove potential ‘constant’ germ or bacteria sources. SANITIZING is often done without much ‘manual labor’ like scrubbing, wiping down, etc. Again, think of your dishwasher.

      DISINFECTING is wiping down hard surfaces while using some sort of disinfecting chemical solution. Think of your food prep area, your dining table prior to serving a meal, children’s toys perhaps, diaper changing areas, most bathroom surfaces, etc.

      A disinfecting chemical solution will be stronger than a sanitizing solution.

      So now back to the original question can you mix Bleach and Dish Soap? The problem with mixing bleach and Dish soap is actually that chemically speaking, the soap inhibits the bleach’s ability to sanitize and/or disinfect. Yes, there is the possible fume issue, which is certainly important. But the bigger issue is that if you are using the bleach to ‘disinfect’ or kill bacteria, you are essentially countering or limiting (and in some cases eliminating) the bleach’s primary goal.

      Here’s a similar article, that sums it up and is primarily geared towards food prep:

      http://www.nfsmi.org/documentlibraryfiles/PDF/20120713093708.pdf

  47. My husband wanted to scrub our tile countertop clean and used a mixture of bleach and Dawn – he didn’t complain of any noxious fumes, but the tip of his fingers got chemically burned, where he was scrubbing with a washcloth! Definitely won’t be mixing those two again.

  48. I just got done washing the floors with dish soap, bleach and hot water (I also [use] to mix a little bleach with the dish soap for my dishes)
    After I was done, I looked at the other side of the dish soap and saw the “do not mix with chlorine bleach”. Welp.
    So I decided to research online… by goolging (which is why I’m here)

    Anyways, to be specific on the dish soap I used, it was Great Value’s Ultra Concentrated Dishwashing Soap and I looked at the ingredients. On the bottle, it’ll say “contains anionic and nonionic surfactants” and it doesn’t have phosphorus.

    However, using the internet the more extensive list is: “Water, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauramine Oxide, Sodium C10-16 Alkylbenzenesulfonate, Sodium Xylene Sulfonate, Ethanol, Perfumery Products, Laureth-9, Sodium Sulfate, Isopropanol, Sodium Chloride, Magnesium Nitrate, Dye-X, Triethylene Glycol Butyl Ether, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Magnesium Chloride, Methylisothiazolinone.”
    For the bleach it was 8.25% Sodium Hypochlorite with 7.86% chlorine and 91.75% other ingredients

    So obviously the “Ethanol” and “Isopropanol” immediately stood out to me and showed they can make Chloroform gas when mixed with bleach. It’ll eventually dissipate/evaporate into some less toxic gasses but it still has another deadly gas it can turn into which is phosgene.
    Source for this info can be found here: http://chemistry.about.com/od/healthsafety/a/Bleach-And-Alcohol-Make-Chloroform.htm
    I can only hope they only used a small amount of these alcohols for this product.

    I tried doing other searches with the other ingredients but unfortunately there’s little to be said.

    Needless to say, I ended up “rinsing” the floor and know better than to mix dish soap with bleach now (unless some other brand of dish soap is okay to use with bleach or has bleach in it already)
    They should probably post the entire ingredient list on the bottle too, because that would’ve stopped me there if I had seen the alcohols in it.

  49. The gas is cloramine gas not mustard gas just a heads up the mustard gas is a lil harder then that to make.

  50. I always add a little squirt if watered down bleach to my Dawn bottle for dish washing. I use diluted bleach for cleaning surfaces like they do in daycare centers. I have never experienced any chemical reaction or smell. It doesn’t take much bleach for disinfectant. I started doing this on our farm because we were always exposed to various animals and their manure.

  51. I would suggest never ever mixing any type of chemical for any type of reason. I had an experience with ammonia and bleach be mixed
    and I would never even try it in my at home washer not even for a test. The problem with that is that you may be mixing bleach and ammonia without actually knowing it and you may not experience any type of smells fumes or odors at the time and think everything is fine but in fact you are making a chemical reaction with two chemicals that are not supposed to be mixed whatsoever. What can happen if you already made the chemical reaction inside your washer and in your clothes now those two chemicals that have came together now could be in your clothing and already being mixed could be making a slowly burning your skin every single day for months on end with never knowing it because the the chemical reaction is already been created. I severely burned myself mixing a mold killer with ammonium carbonate in there and when I was soaking the clothes and when I was done I put them into the washer forgot that I had used that in there and I added bleach every day when I went to work I start feeling sick I did not feel good and then I thought it was going to die eventually I have burns on my skin everywhere I have busted blood vessels in my eyes on my legs and my arms and my face and I would not suggest this for a test to anyone I would suggest to follow all manufacturers labels.

  52. Mix some dish soap with some bleach.. Outside, please. See what happens. Warnings on labels are there for a reason.

    1. don’t listen to her she is telling you to mix 2 chemicals with out any water, a recipe for disaster, always make sure you are working with a sink full of water before adding your chemical solutions I add a teaspoon of ammonia to a gallon or 2 of water for my dish soap recipe, also I add a half of a teaspoon to the bottle, I pour in the home made dish soap mostly full shake it,and use my bleach water spray and spray over the dishes the dish soap will gel than keep adding water till it’s gone

  53. Thanks for the good info. Very helpful. I will have to go over the data sheet, but there are other reasons not to mix Dawn with bleach. The mix is less effective as the bleach will change the chemical composition of the cleaner. I usually use a lot less cleaner than specified, and things get clean just fine. I find that simpleis better.

    1. Actually the water is still sudsy and you can feel and can plainly see the results on your disinfected dishes

  54. Dawn has a patented Lithium base, Lithium is an Amine, but there is no ammonia in it, its the only soap with this formula and thus the only dish soap safe for use on wildlife, most likely the mixing of Dawn with Bleach creates a chlorine gas, if you buy pool shock treatment(lithium chlorine) and drop in a sink full of water, it’ll quickly choke you out of the house. Bleach mixed with urine (uric acid) is far more dangerous, the symptoms are irreversable organ failure.

  55. I’ve been using homemade laundry detergent with Dawn for a while and have added bleach without any problems at all. Usually it’s a small load of white items only so the concentration of bleach is pretty high. Still no problems with fumes and the items have come out bright & white!

  56. If you have a bleach dispenser this should be no problem at all. The soap is rinsed out before the bleach is added.

  57. As an ER nurse I have witnessed these people that wanted to get things “super clean” Unfourtunately some of them are dead. Ammonia (Ammines) mixes with the chlorine in bleach & makes ammonium hydrochloride aka “nerve gas”. I have helped intubate & try to resusitate these poor people… some made it, some didn’t. It can cause chemical pnuemonia which causes the normal air exchange in the lungs to not exchange normally and can cause death. Especially in those that already have a pulmonary disease such as COPD or asthma. PLEASE don’t mix bleach with anything except laundry detergent for which it is intended!

  58. I would NOT use dish liquid with bleach no matter how diluted. We live in front of a field, so we have problems with mice. When my daughter saw one on the stove, my husband pulled out the stove, which had not been done since we moved in over 2 years ago. Of course, there was gunk all over the side of the stove, so my daughter made a sink of soapy water with
    Dawn dish liquid. She added the bleach and filled the sink with more water using the sprayer (I think this added to the problem as the fumes were forced into the air and she was standing directly over the sink). Within minutes she was sneezing, having trouble breathing and burning nose and eyes. Then came the nearly uncontrollable nose bleed, her eyes swelled to the size of tangerines and the whites of her eyes bubbled from the burn-she had blisters on her eyes! She was only exposed for a couple of minutes. A trip to the ER and a shot was all that was needed, but it could have been much, much worse. I’m thankful that you were unharmed with your experiment, but would not recommend doing so again!

    1. I wash my dishes and clothes in bleach with dawn and I make my dish soap with out bleach but I add a teaspoon of ammonia to my dish soap I rinse my dishes very well I have never had a problem I have a spray bottle with strong bleach water and i spray my dishes with that before I always do them and never had a bleach ammonia mix reaction it’s just doing regular dishes and they come out shiny and grease cut and squeaky clean and I some times put dawn and bleach in a hot sink of water and I never had any problems there either,I have never mixed complete bleach and complete ammonia together with out water I know that will make a deadly gas but in my dish water in bleach sprayed dishes, home made dish soap with ammonia in it and dawn doesn’t do anything when I do my dishes plus I would never dream of doing my dishes with out bleach I use it with and on everything and the teaspoon of ammonia in my home made gallon dish soap well that’s 2 gallons some times it makes 2 gallons of dish soap with 1 tea spoon of ammonia ether way nothing happens but bright clean dishes rinsed twice I’ve been doing that about 20 years ammonia the teaspoon of ammonia is a perfect grease cutter and it makes things shine like a dish washer, Remember keep the love between you and your dishes, wear gloves and enjoy what you are doing Knowing your home made dish soap works jut like dawn,my dish soap turns into a very thick gel I use old dawn pump dish soap containers and the rest in gallon jugs I just keep adding water and it is just as good at the end of the home made product as it is in the beginning when I first made it also when ever I get oranges I peel my oranges than i push the pieces through the top of my dish soap containers, it never goes rancid it also goes in my bleach spray and every single cleaning concoction I make, I never had a problem there, also I add witch hazel teaspoon keeps the hands soft when you don’t have gloves plus it is a great cleaner plus I add lavender or some other good smelling epsom salt And a teaspoon of purex crystals or a teaspoon of calgon ,again I rinse my dishes high powered water by putting my finger over the spigot of the faucet, and just under the running water than when they are done I do it again, calgon is a great water softener.

    2. If a shot was administered it sounds like something she was allergic to also there are a few people who are very sensitive to chemicals or those with a condition we want to keep our chemical made solutions from those who are sensitive to them.

  59. Don’t forget that fumes can be noxious and have NO odor. Think carbon monoxide. I am not saying the diluted solution is unsafe, just that your method for testing it is not a safe one and I don’t recommend it for future experiments!

  60. Wow. I have to say its the first time I’ve seen no bleach and Dawn. For years I’ve been using that combo to clean my patio. And the straight up willy nilly hose in hand method!! I squirt some dawn (approx 3 TBSP), then add some bleach, (ABOUT 1/3 cup), add water from a quick hose spray, soak for a few minutes and then use a light brush. Hose it all off… I’m shocked and I guess I better not do that anymore but if this message is of any help, I’ve never encountered and dizziness or noxious fumes. Of course, I’m outside but still compared to the soap ratio, I’m over the top for testing the theory. Its an awesome concrete patio cleaner every spring and the only thing that works on the myriad of winter gook and grime that concrete can collect in the northeast.

    1. why stop using something that works? companies send people to make comments against anything that works as good or better than the cleaning products they sell, they will anything from “it’s dangerous” to random death incidences, we have been using my recipes from my great grand parents, no history of breathing problems ect,and those With breathing problems are not proved to be directly related to home made solutions, also there is nothing wrong with wearing a simple light comfortable mask and gloves because everything a house hold uses to clean,home made or not Are chemicals and it’s just smart and keeping your cleaning area well ventilated is another practice brought down from generations, windows open letting fresh air circulate a tiny fan the door open, there are many ways to ventilate fresh air but like I was saying, stopping what works best for you having experienced no problems and reading some posts isn’t a reason to go out and buy chemicals that are just as bad if not worse, cost more money and keep you spending a lot when you have a couple products at home, used appropriately is a much better option

  61. I’m so glad you explained some reasoning regarding Dawn ingredients. So here is my question to you and others….is ammonia bad or considered a hazardous chemical? Many off the shelf cleaners are not supposed to be healthy and full of bad chemicals, but I’m still unclear about ammonia. Thoughts?

    1. I think the down side to ammonia is the very strong smell which can be irritating to the eyes and nose and lungs. It’s also a substance that can be very dangerous if a child or pet accidentally ingests it. So for those reasons, many people prefer not to keep it around the house. There are probably folks out there that will say they like using ammonia for homemade cleaners or homemade laundry solutions and I don’t doubt that it’s effective, but I personally don’t care for it and always try to make mixtures that don’t use it.

    2. I just read that ammonia is not good on Granite or Marble…so if you make a home-made cleanser with dis soap and water, make sure it doesn’t have ammonia so it won’t eat the sealer off the stone surfaces…. HUGZ

  62. After I read the homemade laundry soap with Dawn / added bleach question.I figured if I use 1cup bleach in a large load , 1/2 cup in a med. load , 1/4 in small load it would be a safe amount of water,soap,bleach, combo. Its working well for me,so thank you for the bleach update. I love your posts.

    Sandy

  63. You can calculate the amount of noxious gas by means of a stoichiometric equation. I’m sure the amount of poisonous fumes are significant. (Weight of soap X weight of bleach) = weight of poison. Basically. I am interested to find out, but am too lazy currently.

    1. It would likely include the weights of the amines (or ammonia, since combining with H2O likely provides the H2), but not the weights of the rest of the ingredients in the detergent.

  64. I just made my powder detergent and came across this no grate liquid version. It would be nice to have a liquid handy when I run out of the powder so I also made a 1/2 gal of liquid I also added 2 tablespoons of my powder since it was already made. I washed a load of towels with the powder & liquid to compare and yes I added bleach to both not knowing about the do not add bleach statement. They both cleaned very well and no fumes from the dawn version I also stuck my head in for a quick smell no strong odors. I will continue to use both the liquid as a backup for when I run out of the powder and for hand washable. Thanks for posting.

  65. I too have used bleach with my homemade Dawn laundry soap, not knowing not to mix them, and I’m still here without any problems that I’m aware of lol. No strong odors or anything. I don’t use bleach often as my Hubby can’t be around it, but I plan to continue to use it occasionally as needed until I know for sure NOT to 🙂 I love this money saving laundry soap/detergent. Thanks so much for checking out the bleach/soap concern, I never even thought about before.

  66. I have another question that falls in the chemistry category. I just made a batch of No GrateLaundry soap where the Dawn Ultra will not stay mixed with the water and powders. It floats to the top. Of course, I can shake it each time, but this has never happened before. Worse yet, I made two bottles and one mixed and the other didn’t.

    1. Well that one has me scratching my head too. Perhaps that container had residue in it yet from something else that had been in the container? That’s about all I can think of . . . that there was some other residual ingredient in the mix.

  67. Your question about the amines being ammonia – I looked up the chemical formula of amines and it is NH2 the chemical formula for ammonia is NH4. So all you have to do is add something with Hydrogen in it and it could form ammonia.

    I could have this all wrong since it has been at least 50 years since I have had high school and a little college chemistry.

    Sometimes it is good to test your OLD brain.

    Love your hints . They are so much fun. Keep up the good work.

    Kathy

    1. Thanks for your kind words and the additional info Kathy – this was a bit of a test for my old brain too 🙂

    2. Kathy, I have accidentally made ammonia mixing generic dish soap and washing soda! Instantly sick. Frustrating, because the washing soda is supposed to be environmentally friendly and also a detergent booster. I was better at biology than chemistry, lol.