Riddle Her Toxic – The story of how I nearly killed my whole family.

Today, with the rain and clouds, I found myself in my happy place. Which is when I like to clean things that usually get ignored.

So I put the kids down for naps, turned on some music, and started cleaning.

Somewhere between dishes and dust busting my fireplace, I decided it was a perfect time for cleaning out my washing machine. This is a rarity in my house because, lets be honest, why clean something that continually has soap in it?

So I start an empty cycle and toss some vinegar in with the water. After all, I am a good parent and earthling and I would never use anything other vinegar to clean anything ever…

Except for all the time because, you know, vinegar is stinky.

So, as I am pouring roughly 2 cups of vinegar into my washing machine, I get the BRILLIANT idea to add bleach!

My exact math went something like this:

Vinegar = clean. Bleach = clean. Vinegar + bleach = extra clean.

Now, if you know anything about mixing chemicals, you can stop reading now. My whole family is alive and I don’t need your condescending comments about how scary-dangerous it is to mix chemicals. I know that now.

But if you, like me, never paid attention in chemistry because…well…it was chemistry – then keep reading! You are about to have your mind BLOWN!

So back to my story –

I added the bleach to the already vinegar-y water.

And man was it smelling clean in my house. So clean, in fact, that my brain started to get happy and I called my husband to brag about how clean our house was going to smell.

But – WHILST I was bragging about how good of a wife I am, my husband was googling because he apparently had a hunch that I had done something bad.

And this is how that conversation went –

Me – Babe, are you there?

Husband – Yeah, be quiet.

Me – What? What are you doing?

Husband – I’m reading about bleach and vinegar. Hold on.

Me – (silently thinking my husband is a major drama queen)

Husband – (more silence)

Me – Hello?

Husband – (muttering)

Me – (more drama queen assumptions)

Husband – Okay, get the kids out of bed and take them into our bedroom and leave the patio doors open.

Okay, so after that last comment, I was still thinking he was a drama queen, but decided to abide. He got off the phone to teach a class and I grabbed my sleeping babies, brought them into our room, and opened the doors to the outside.

But then Google started calling to me. Google is a seductive temptress who will rip your heart out.


So I start googling – and panicking.

Phrases like “toxic fumes” and “fatal combination” are being thrown around. I’m skimming and thinking to myself that there MUST be a website to tell me what to do if I have already combined the two, instead of 783 websites telling me to never do this.

So, naturally, I call my best friend. And she starts googling. And then, out of nowhere, she tells me she thinks I should get the kids out of the house.

Now, I love my best friend for a few reasons, but one of those reasons (and an important one in this story) is that she has never recommended that I do something for no reason. So, we hang up and I toss my half dressed children in the car.

Seriously. We look like hillbillies.

At this point in my day I have not yet brushed my teeth, I am inexplicably missing pants, and my husband and best friend are telling me that I’ve released a toxic fume and exposed my children to dangerous chemicals.

So, as I prepare to head to a wonderful girlfriends house for shelter, and while my kids are safely out of harms way, I call poison control and put pants on. The very nice nurse at the Texas poison control hotline tells me to get the kids out of the house.

She is calm. And kind. But very clear that, because my kids are little and can’t tell me if they are experiencing any symptoms, I need to get them out to be safe.

So I leave the house. Little Lady is shoeless, Mister Man is in just a diaper, and my hair is in what can only be described as a shit-bun.

As I am heading to a friends house for shelter, I call my best friend back to thank her for telling me to get out of the house and she says this:

“Okay good. I was reading while we were on the phone, and I didn’t want to scare you, but apparently that’s what the Nazi’s used in concentration camps”.


So I, very seriously, nearly poisoned all of us.

And here’s the take-away from todays poisoning:

Always put pants on when you wake up. Because you could accidentally poison your family and need to go into civilization.

And I bet you thought the take-away would have something to do with not mixing chemicals….



9 thoughts on “Riddle Her Toxic – The story of how I nearly killed my whole family.

  1. I’m glad everybody is okay but your point of view made me laugh… That is exactly why I’m the only one in my house who wears pants to bed lol


  2. Be glad you weren’t nudists;) Just know one day you’ll be able to look back on this and laugh. I almost did this, but hubby stopped me. Shortly after that I read an article on this exact thing, and why I should never mix my cleaning products, cuz ya know, I use so many! Lol Glad you made it out unscathed!


  3. Love your blog! Glad you made it out alive! Take that! You washing machine funk! I bet you have the cleanest washer in all the land now! 🙂 -Amanda


  4. I am rolling in laughter Hannah! And SO glad y’all are safe! This sounds just like something I would do. Good intentions unaware of the danger involved! I just love your heart.


  5. I’m happy y’all are safe. It makes sense to me that if both chemicals = clean, the two of them together would = super clean and not deadly toxic.


  6. Yes, it is scary I almost did this once trying to get rid of ammonia from cat urine out of my basement floor! Ammonia and bleach have the same effect as bleach and vinegar and make up a compound similar to mustard gas! Hubby tells me this all the time and yet I still did it! Glad everyone is safe!


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