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So I was trying to clean cat pee out of my carpet and I scrubbed it with a Lysol wipe that says the active ingredient is alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride and without thinking then sprayed white vinegar on the area. Now I'm afraid that made a bad chemical mixture? Do you know if those 2 ingredients are dangerous?

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Please note that I worked in medical research, but I am not a medical doctor!

I think that you're safe, and I cannot imagine a reaction between acetic acid, the main component in vinegar, and a quarternary ammonium salt that would release harmful products.

Benzalkonium chloride is a long known disinfectant and has been used as a biocide and preservant in medical products. However, it may cause problems. The European Medicines Acency has published a Q&A on Benzalkonium chloride.

In general, it is not the worst idea to have a look at MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for compounds and products, in order to be aware of what to do if something spills on your skin, gets into your eyes, is swallowed, or inhaled. Here is an example of a MSDS for benzalkonium chloride.

To sum it up:

  • Mixing household chemicals can release harmful products, as known for the reaction of bleach and acid, from which chlorine gas is released.
  • I seriously doubt that you have created a harmful mixture in your case.
  • Manufacturers are obligated to provide MSDS, wich have to include first aid measures! Take a look at this vital information.
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