One woman is lucky to be alive after accidentally creating a poisonous gas while cleaning her house.

Charley Howson, who lives in the UK, had mixed bleach with two “concentrated disinfectant products” and hot water and was vigorously mopping her kitchen floor when she suddenly started experiencing severe chest pains.

“The pain got worse and worse, I thought I was having a heart attack,” the mother-of-three explains. “I’ve had a collapsed lung before, and it felt a bit like that.”

Charley’s 15-year-old son heard his mum call out and quickly called for an ambulance; when paramedics arrived, they found Charley had dangerously low oxygen levels and made the decision to take her into hospital for further testing.

Luckily one of the ambos was paying attention when they arrived at Charley’s house, and relayed one crucial piece of information to the emergency staff.

“The doctor asked if I had been cleaning, because the paramedics mentioned a strong smell of bleach,” Charley continues. 

“He said mixing those chemicals with the hot water had given me chlorine gas poisoning.


“I was stunned, I couldn’t believe it. He said that it happens far more than you’d think.

“He said if my son hadn’t phoned for the ambulance when he did that it could have been a lot worse.

“It could have been so much worse. I could not be here. It could have killed me.”

Now, as Charley waits for test results to see if breathing in the gas has caused any permanent damage, she’s warning others to pay more attention to the chemicals they’re using in their houses day-to-day.

“Everything I used were just normal cleaning products,” she points out. “I didn’t read the small print on the bottles, but no-one does really, and I just want everyone to make sure they do when they’re cleaning.”

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