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Ammonia vs. Bleach: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 25, 2023
Ammonia is a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent smell, used as a cleaner. Bleach is a strong chemical used for disinfection and whitening fabrics.

Key Differences

Ammonia, chemically known as NH3, is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen. It is commonly used in cleaning products. While, bleach is primarily composed of sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) and is used for disinfecting and removing stains.
Ammonia works well for cleaning grease and grime and is often found in glass and floor cleaners. Bleach, on the other hand, is a powerful disinfectant, effective in killing bacteria, viruses, and mold.
Ammonia is known for its strong, pungent odor, which can be irritating to the eyes and respiratory system. Whereas, bleach also has a strong odor but carries the additional risk of causing chemical burns if not used properly.
In terms of safety, ammonia should be used in well-ventilated areas and never mixed with other chemicals, especially bleach. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other substances can release toxic gases.
Ammonia is often used in fertilizers and industrial manufacturing, apart from cleaning products. In contrast, bleach is used not only for household cleaning but also for disinfecting water, especially in swimming pools.

Comparison Chart


Nitrogen and hydrogen (NH3)
Sodium hypochlorite (NaClO)

Primary Use

Cleaning grease and grime
Disinfecting and whitening


Pungent smell
Strong chlorine-like smell

Safety Concerns

Irritant, toxic when mixed with bleach
Can cause chemical burns, toxic fumes when mixed

Additional Uses

Fertilizers, industrial manufacturing
Water disinfection, swimming pool maintenance

Ammonia and Bleach Definitions


A colorless, pungent gas used in cleaners.
I used ammonia to remove the grease stains from the kitchen counter.


Sodium hypochlorite used in cleaning products.
Bleach is effective in killing germs on surfaces.


A gaseous substance with a sharp smell.
The strong smell of ammonia filled the room after the spill.


A chemical used for disinfecting and whitening.
I added bleach to the laundry to whiten the clothes.


A compound used in manufacturing and fertilizers.
Ammonia is widely used in the production of agricultural fertilizers.


A substance used to remove color or stains.
He used bleach to remove the mold from the bathroom tiles.


A chemical used in cleaning products.
She used an ammonia-based solution to clean the windows.


A powerful disinfectant for household use.
The kitchen counters were cleaned with a bleach solution for disinfection.


A colorless, pungent gas, NH3, extensively used to manufacture fertilizers and a wide variety of nitrogen-containing organic and inorganic chemicals. Ammonia is the chief nitrogen product excreted by fish and other aquatic animals.


A chemical that can lighten or whiten fabrics.
Bleach is often used to maintain the brightness of white garments.


See ammonium hydroxide.


To remove the color from, as by means of chemical agents or sunlight
Over time, the exposure to sunlight bleached the rug in front of the window.


(inorganic compound) A gaseous compound of hydrogen and nitrogen, NH3, with a pungent smell and taste.


To make white or colorless
Dawn bleached the mountains.


A solution of this compound in water used domestically as a cleaning fluid.
Never use ammonia to clean metal writing pens.


A gaseous compound of hydrogen and nitrogen, NH3, with a pungent smell and taste: - often called volatile alkali, and spirits of hartshorn.


A pungent gas compounded of nitrogen and hydrogen (NH3)


A water solution of ammonia


Nitrogen and hydrogen compound, NH3.
Ammonia is a basic building block for many synthetic products.


Is ammonia a gas or liquid?

At room temperature, ammonia is a colorless gas with a distinct odor.

What are the uses of ammonia?

It's widely used in cleaning products and as a fertilizer.

What is ammonia?

Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula NH3.

Can ammonia be harmful?

Yes, high exposure can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system.

How is ammonia produced?

It's mainly produced through the Haber-Bosch process from nitrogen and hydrogen gases.

Is ammonia found naturally?

Yes, it's found in the environment, in water, soil, and air.

Is ammonia used in refrigeration?

Yes, it's a common refrigerant in industrial facilities.

What industries use ammonia?

Agriculture, cleaning, textile, and refrigeration industries use it.

What is bleach?

Bleach is a chemical used to whiten, disinfect, and remove stains.

Can ammonia be detected by smell?

Yes, it has a pungent, suffocating odor.

Can bleach be mixed with other cleaners?

No, mixing bleach with other substances can produce dangerous gases.

What are common types of bleach?

Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and oxygen bleach are common types.

Is bleach harmful to the environment?

It can be, especially if not used and disposed of properly.

Can bleach cause health issues?

Yes, it can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system.

How should bleach be stored?

In a cool, dry place away from sunlight and children.

Can bleach expire?

Yes, it loses effectiveness over time, especially when exposed to heat and light.

Is bleach safe for all fabrics?

No, it can damage colored fabrics and delicate materials.

Is bleach a disinfectant?

Yes, it's effective against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

How is bleach made?

Chlorine bleach is typically made by combining chlorine and caustic soda.

Is ammonia soluble in water?

Yes, it dissolves easily in water.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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