- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Use of Hydrogen Peroxide in Food
- Can I Use Hydrogen Peroxide on My Skin?
- Why you should keep hydrogen peroxide off your skin
- What to use instead
- Avoid using hydrogen peroxide
- 9 Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Disinfectants Hydrogen peroxide
- Medicinal Uses
- Clean and disinfect minor wounds
- Get rid of acne and boils
- Cure canker sores
- Expunge bad breath
- Fight foot fungus
- Treat colds
- Get rid of an ear infection
- Clear out ear wax
- Deal with a sinus infection
- Tackle a toothache
- Take a detoxifying bath
- Treat a yeast infection
- Hygiene and Beauty Uses
- Whiten your teeth
- Make a toothpaste
- Use it as a deodorant
- Clean your contact lenses
- Whiten your nails
- Cover your roots
- … Or gradually lighten your hair
- Disinfect your toothbrushes
- Soften calluses and corns
- Uses for Cleaning Around the House
- Disinfect your countertops
- Whiten your grout
- Clean your mirrors
- Wash out your toilet bowl
- Clean your tiles
- Kill mold
- Uses in the Kitchen
- Clean a cutting board
- Add it to the dishwasher
- Get rid of stubborn caked-on food
- Disinfect your dishrags and sponges
- Clean your fruits and vegetables and keep them fresh
- Keep a salad fresh
- Clean your fridge
- Miscellaneous Uses
- Clean your rugs and carpets
- Clean your kids’ toys
- Replace the bleach in your laundry room
- Brighten table cloths and curtains
- Wash your shower curtains
- Remove tough stains from clothing
- Get rid of odors in your clothing
- Disinfect children’s lunchboxes
- Disinfect the inside of a cooler
- Disinfect reusable bags
- Clean a dehumidifier (or a humidifier)
- Boost plant growth
- Kill mites
- Remove algae from an aquarium
- Add oxygen to a bag while transporting fish
- Treat wounds in animals
- Induce vomiting to save the life of a pet
- And finally …
- In Your Kitchen
- In Your Bathroom
- In Your Laundry Room
- Anywhere in Your House
Summaries of the safety information for Hydrogen Peroxide have been prepared by the World Health Organization as well as the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
The International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that Hydrogen Peroxide was not classifiable as to it’s carcinogenicity in humans.
FDA: Code of Federal Regulations for the GRAS listing for Hydrogen Peroxide
FDA: Information about the use of Hydrogen Peroxide as an OTC first aid antiseptic
FDA: Information about the use of Hydrogen Peroxide as an OTC wound cleanser for oral mucosal injuries
The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) evaluated the safety of Hydrogen Peroxide in tooth whitening products. The SCCP concluded that use of products containing up to 1% Hydrogen Peroxide was safe. The SCCP also concluded that use of products containing up to 6% Hydrogen Peroxide could be used after consultation and approval of a dentist.
In the European Union, Hydrogen Peroxide may be used in hair care, skin care, nail harding, and oral hygiene products at maximum concentrations of 12%, 4%, 2% and 0.1%, respectively (See Annex III). Hair care, skin care and nail hardening products containing Hydrogen Peroxide must be labeled: “Contains Hydrogen Peroxide. Avoid contact with eyes. Rinse immediately if product comes in contact with them.” Hair products containing Hydrogen Peroxide must recommend that gloves be worn when the product is used.
European Commission’s Public Health Information on Tooth Whiteners Containing Hydrogen Peroxide
More information about hair dyes
Use of Hydrogen Peroxide in Food
Recently, there have been media reports regarding the use of industrial grade hydrogen peroxide as a bleaching agent in the processing of shark fins and pistachio nuts.
Properties of Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a strong oxidising agent that is commonly used in industry and in the medical field.
The anhydrous form of the chemical is a colourless, bitter-tasting liquid with an ozone-like odour.
It is unstable and decomposed upon standing, agitation, and exposure to light or heating, producing water and oxygen.
Use of Hydrogen Peroxide in Food Processing
Because of its strong oxidising property, hydrogen peroxide is used as a bleaching agent in some foods such as wheat flour, edible oil, egg white etc. in countries like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
It is also allowed to be used as an antimicrobial agent in food, e.g. milk, and as a sterilizing agent for food packaging materials.
In processing food, the dosage of hydrogen peroxide should be limited to the amount sufficient for the purpose.
In the Mainland, hydrogen peroxide is included in the list of food processing aid. In general, processing aids used in food should be removed from the final products.
Safety of Hydrogen Peroxide
The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) had evaluated the safety of hydrogen peroxide in 1965, 1973 and 1980 respectively. JECFA considered that ingestion of small amount of hydrogen peroxide would produce no toxicological effects due to rapid decomposition of the chemical by the enzyme catalase of the intestinal cells.
Oral ingestion of 3% hydrogen peroxide solutions (household strength) generally does not result in severe toxicity but may result in vomiting, mild irritation to mucosa and burns in the mouth, throat, oesophagus and stomach. Ingestion of higher concentration, e.g. >10%, can result in more dangerous sequelae such as burns to mucus membranes and gut mucosa.
Regarding the carcinogenicity of hydrogen peroxide, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) considered that there was inadequate evidence for carcinogenicity in human.
Hydrogen peroxide is unstable and would decompose in contact with food and after cooking.
Situation in Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, hydrogen peroxide can be used in food as a bleaching agent provided that the residue should be removed in the finished products. Furthermore, only food grade hydrogen peroxide should be used in processing food and the dosage used should be limited to the amount sufficient for the purpose.
We have stepped up our local surveillance on shark fins and pistachio nuts. 25 samples of shark fin and 21 samples of pistachio were collected from the local market, including those imported from the Mainland, and were sent to the Government Laboratory for testing of hydrogen peroxide. Tests on preservatives and possible contaminants like heavy metals were also performed.
14 out of 25 shark fin samples were found to have residual hydrogen peroxide ranging from 0.0002% to 1.5%. This indicated that the processing of some shark fins had not followed good manufacturing practice. As hydrogen peroxide is unstable, the levels found in the dry shark fin samples would not have adverse health effects as the usual steps of preparation and cooking of shark fin would effectively remove the residual hydrogen peroxide, if any, in shark fins. Nevertheless, the traders have been warned to adhere to good manufacturing and processing procedures.
Hydrogen peroxide or preservatives were not detected in any of the pistachio nuts samples. Test results for heavy metals were found to be within permitted levels for both the shark fins and pistachio nuts samples.
Advice to the Trade
If hydrogen peroxide is used in processing food, only food grade hydrogen peroxide should be used in processing food.
The amount of hydrogen peroxide to be used in food processing should be limited to the amount sufficient for the purpose.
Appropriate measures should be taken to remove residual hydrogen peroxide from the finished products.
Advice to the Public
Purchase shark fins from reputable retailers.
Wash thoroughly and soak shark fins well (e.g. soak overnight) before cooking. The water should be changed during soaking and discarded after use.
Risk Assessment Section
Can I Use Hydrogen Peroxide on My Skin?
A quick search online for using hydrogen peroxide for your skin can reveal conflicting, and often confusing, results. Some users tout it as an effective acne treatment and a skin lightener. It’s sometimes used as a disinfectant, but it can cause severe side effects when used on your skin.
Hydrogen peroxide is used to disinfect tools, bleach hair, and to clean surfaces. It’s also used in oral care and gardening. It may be discomforting to know that a touted skin treatment can also be used as a household cleaner.
According to the National Capital Poison Center, over-the-counter (OTC) products with hydrogen peroxide contain “safe” concentrations of 3 percent, while some industrial versions contain up to 90 percent.
Your doctor may use hydrogen peroxide in small doses to help treat instances of oxidative stress in your skin. It’s not, however, widely regarded as a safe product for alternative skin care. Learn more about the risks to your skin and what you should use instead.
Why you should keep hydrogen peroxide off your skin
Hydrogen peroxide is a type of acid that is pale blue to translucent in color. This disinfectant is available for OTC usage in smaller concentrations than those designed for industrial use. You can buy it in wipes or as a liquid to apply with a cotton ball.
It’s sometimes used to treat minor cases of the following conditions:
- seborrheic keratosis
Medical professionals no longer use this acid as a disinfecting agent. Hydrogen peroxide may inadvertently damage healthy cells around wounds that are needed for healing. A 2012 study reported this negative side effect of using hydrogen peroxide occurred in in mice.
Proponents claim that its wound healing effects may translate to acne treatment and other skin issues like hyperpigmentation. Still, the dangers of the product far outweigh any potential benefits when it comes to your skin. These complications include:
- dermatitis (eczema)
- itchiness and irritation
Aside from skin side effects, hydrogen peroxide can also cause:
- toxicity or fatality when inhaled or swallowed
- a potentially higher risk of cancer
- damage to your eyes
- internal organ damage
More serious risks are associated with higher concentrations and long-term use. If you get hydrogen peroxide on your skin, be sure to rinse the area thoroughly with water. You may need to rinse for up to 20 minutes if it gets in your eyes.
For bleaching skin, an older study reported that you need a concentration of between 20 and 30 percent. This is much higher than the 3 percent that’s considered safe for home use. The risks of burns and scars are far greater than any potential skin lightening effects.
Interest in hydrogen peroxide as a potential acne treatment is growing.
A hydrogen peroxide-based cream called Crystacide was just as potent as benzoyl peroxide with fewer cases of reported sensitivity. However, Crystacide only contains a 1 percent concentration and is part of a combination product.
Ask your dermatologist before purchasing OTC treatments. Some prescription formulas are also available.
What to use instead
Instead of taking a risk with hydrogen peroxide, there are other ingredients that have been researched and have been shown to be safe and effective.
Wound treatment depends on whether you have a burn, scrape, or an open cut. Your approach to treatment should aim to stop any bleeding while protecting your skin so it can heal without becoming damaged or infected. Try the following steps:
- Apply bandages or wraps.
- Increase your intake of vitamin C.
- Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin A and zinc in your diet.
- Only take OTC pain medication (acetaminophen, ibuprofen) when necessary.
Acne and skin lightening treatment
You’ll first need to consider whether your pimples are caused by inflammation or not.
Blackheads and whiteheads are two types of noninflammatory acne. These may be treated with salicylic acid to get rid of extra dead skin cells that are trapped in your pores.
Inflammatory lesions, such as nodules, papules and cysts, may need benzoyl peroxide. Your dermatologist may recommend oral medications for more severe cases.
If you wish to lighten your skin from scars and other causes of hyperpigmentation, consider the following options:
- alpha-hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid
- hydroquinone, a bleaching agent
- kojic acid, a more natural ingredient
- vitamin C
Avoid using hydrogen peroxide
While hydrogen peroxide is sometimes used as a skin disinfectant, you should never use this product without consulting your doctor first. The pure formulas you can buy at the drugstore aren’t proven to be effective for any other skin concerns and conditions.
Talk with your dermatologist about other OTC products and professional procedures you might be able to use for acne, hyperpigmentation, and other skin care issues.
9 Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide
It’s well known that hydrogen peroxide can be used for hair bleaching but there are a lot of other uses as well. Blanchi Costela/Getty Images
Your bottle of hydrogen peroxide is too valuable to just stay in your first-aid kit. While the inexpensive liquid is known for its medical uses and bleaching hair, it’s also a versatile substance that can be used in a host of other ways.
Hydrogen peroxide (formula H2O2) is a chemical compound that’s a combination of hydrogen and water. The clear liquid acts as a mild antiseptic and comes in various potencies depending on its purpose: 3 percent (household use), 6 to 10 percent (hair bleaching), 35 percent (food-grade) and 90 percent (industrial). Most stores carry the 3 percent solution, packaged in a signature brown bottle.
For years, medical professionals recommended using hydrogen peroxide to treat minor scrapes and cuts. That’s because when it’s placed on the skin, it foams, which indicates it’s killing bacteria. Today, doctors know hydrogen peroxide also kills healthy cells, so many no longer recommend its use for that purpose. It also can be harmful if it gets in your eyes, covers a large area of your skin or is ingested, especially the food-grade hydrogen peroxide.
But no worries. Hydrogen peroxide has many other helpful applications, some of which might be new to you. Here are nine. (The hydrogen peroxide referred to in these examples is the 3 percent version, unless noted otherwise.)
1. Remove Pit Stains
Let’s face it, brownish-yellow armpit stains are embarrassing. And aggravating, especially if they develop on a fairly new garment. Erase them by creating a solution of one part dishwashing liquid and two parts hydrogen peroxide, then applying it to the stain for about an hour. Wash in cold water, then dry and wear. Note: A tough stain may also require scrubbing with baking soda.
2. Grow Mushrooms
It’s crazy, but true. Hydrogen peroxide — the 35 percent version — helps combat mold infections that can ruin ‘shrooms. Apply a few drops to fruiting chambers (where mushrooms grow) to instantly add oxygen.
3. Clean the Dishwasher
Use hydrogen peroxide to clean out your dishwasher. You can spray hydrogen peroxide directly into the appliance, let sit a bit, then wipe out. Or you can create a cleaning “bomb” with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and an essential oil. Mix them and use an ice cream scoop to scoop out round balls. Let them dry overnight. To use, place the bomb at the bottom of the dishwasher. Then mix white vinegar and liquid dish-washing detergent in a glass or ceramic bowl and place in the top of the dishwasher. When you run a cycle with the bomb (along with vinegar and detergent), the peroxide will whiten and clean the appliance while the baking soda scrubs it and the oil provides a fresh scent.
4. Whiten Almost Anything, From Fingernails to Grout
Hydrogen peroxide is great at whitening and brightening many items, such as stained tiles, dirty grout and even fingernails. For the latter, combine one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts baking soda and rub the paste on your nails. Let sit for two or three minutes, then rinse away. Voilà! Gorgeous, white nails. For whitening grout, either pour the hydrogen peroxide straight on to the tile or make a paste with baking soda and scrub away.
5. Make a Mouthwash
Hydrogen peroxide is especially great for dental hygiene. Use it as a mouthwash to kill germs, making sure to dilute first (half water, half hydrogen peroxide), then swish in your mouth for one minute and spit out. Never swallow! An added benefit of this mouthwash: It’ll whiten your teeth. You can also use it to disinfect and clean your toothbrush and any dental appliances, such as retainers and mouth guards.
6. Boost Your Laundry
No need to buy those expensive commercial laundry products that have the words “oxy” in them and promise to whiten your clothes. Simply add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your washing machine when doing a load of whites. The hydrogen peroxide will also deodorize clothes and remove stains. You can pour it directly on stains but do a color-fast test first if you’re applying to darker clothes.
7. Kill Mold and Mildew
As we noted earlier, hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria, but it also dispatches fungi such as mold and mildew. So grab a spray bottle of hydrogen and spray your bathroom fixtures, floors, walls, humidifier, dehumidifier, even your shower curtain. That fizzy sound will tell you it’s working.
8. Grow Your Garden
Gardeners know one of the best substances for their plants is hydrogen peroxide. The all-purpose liquid can help with pest control, prevent infection on damaged trees, kill foliage fungus and combat root rot, as well as improve plant growth. That extra oxygen causes the roots to absorb more nutrients. For pest control or growth, add one teaspoon to one cup of water in a spray bottle and mist the plant. To combat root rot or fungal infections, use one tablespoon per cup of water.
9. Keep Food Fresher
Spraying salad greens with a little H2O2, then returning them to the fridge, will thwart sogginess for several days. Fruits and veggies also can be spritzed or bathed in a hydrogen peroxide solution to keep them fresher longer. Just be sure to rinse them thoroughly before eating.
Editor’s note: The regular strength hydrogen peroxide (3-5 percent) is OK to ingest, but higher strengths (10 percent or more) can be toxic if swallowed. The article has been updated to clarify that.
Last editorial update on Aug 1, 2019 05:14:12 pm.
hair bleachingUnderstanding hair bleaching and minimizing damage during that process.© American Chemical Society (A Britannica Publishing Partner)See all videos for this article
Hydrogen peroxide, (H2O2), a colourless liquid usually produced as aqueous solutions of various strengths, used principally for bleaching cotton and other textiles and wood pulp, in the manufacture of other chemicals, as a rocket propellant, and for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Solutions containing more than about 8 percent hydrogen peroxide are corrosive to the skin.
Read More on This Topic oxide: Hydrogen peroxide The most important covalent peroxide is hydrogen peroxide, H2O2. When pure, this syrupy viscous liquid has a pale…
First recognized as a chemical compound in 1818, hydrogen peroxide is the simplest member of the class of peroxides. Of the several processes of manufacture, the principal ones involve reactions of oxygen from the air with certain organic compounds, especially anthraquinone or isopropyl alcohol. Major commercial grades are aqueous solutions containing 35, 50, 70, or 90 percent hydrogen peroxide and small amounts of stabilizers (often tin salts and phosphates) to suppress decomposition.
Hydrogen peroxide decomposes into water and oxygen upon heating or in the presence of numerous substances, particularly salts of such metals as iron, copper, manganese, nickel, or chromium. It combines with many compounds to form crystalline solids useful as mild oxidizing agents; the best-known of these is sodium perborate (NaBO2·H2O2·3H2O or NaBO3·4H2O), used in laundry detergents and chlorine-free bleach products. With certain organic compounds, hydrogen peroxide reacts to form hydroperoxides or peroxides, several of which are used to initiate polymerization reactions. In most of its reactions, hydrogen peroxide oxidizes other substances, although it is itself oxidized by a few compounds, such as potassium permanganate.
Pure hydrogen peroxide freezes at −0.43 °C (+31.3 °F) and boils at 150.2 °C (302 °F); it is denser than water and is soluble in it in all proportions.
Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today
Disinfectants Hydrogen peroxide
Most people know hydrogen peroxide as a compounds that bleaches hair. It can also be used for water disinfection.
When was hydrogen peroxide discovered?
Louis Jacque Thenard discovered hydrogen peroxide in 1818. Hydrogen peroxide consists of oxygen and hydrogen atoms. These can be found everywhere on earth. Hydrogen peroxide contains a combination of two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms.
In the environment, hydrogen peroxide can be found in very low concentrations. Gaseous hydrogen peroxide is produced by photo chemical reactions in the atmosphere surrounding the earth. It can also be found in water in small quantities.
What are the characteristics of hydrogen peroxide?
Peroxide is a chemical compound that contains the peroxide ion (O22-).
The peroxide ion consists of a single bond between two oxygen atoms: (O-O)2-. It is a strong oxidiser.
Hydrogen peroxide has the chemical formula H2O2 and the following structural formula:
The hydrogen peroxide molecule contains one extra oxygen atom, compared to the more stable water molecule. The bond between the two oxygen atoms, the so-called peroxide bond, is broken while two H-O radicals are formed. These radicals quickly react with other substances, while new radicals are formed and a chain reaction takes place. Hydrogen peroxide solutions look like water and can be dissolved in water unrestrainedly. At high concentrations these solutions give off an irritating, acidic smell. Hydrogen peroxide is inflammable. At low temperatures it becomes solid. The amount of hydrogen peroxide in the solution is expressed in weight percentage. For water treatment, concentrations of 35 or 50 % hydrogen peroxide are used.
Hydrogen peroxide is used for different applications, because it is very selective. By changing the reaction conditions (temperature, pH, dose, reaction time and the addition of a catalyser), hydrogen peroxide will attack different pollutions.
Corrosiveness of hydrogen peroxide
The corrosiveness of process water due to hydrogen peroxide depends on the amount of dissolved oxygen that is produced. Oxygen corrodes iron-containing metals. The amount of iron and the pH are a greater influence on corrosiveness than the concentration of hydrogen peroxide is.
Destruction of hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide can disintegrate during transport. Oxygen and heat are released. Hydrogen peroxide itself is inflammable, but the oxygen can enhance the inflammation of other substances. In diluted solutions, the heat is absorbed by water. In concentrated solutions, the temperature of the solution is increased, accelerating hydrogen peroxide destruction. The rate of destruction is multiplied with 2,2 for every 10 °C of rise in temperature. The alkalinity and presence of pollutions also accelerate the destruction of hydrogen peroxide.
For the production of hydrogen peroxide, special catalysers are used to make sure that hydrogen peroxide is not destroyed by pollutants in the water.
How is hydrogen peroxide produced?
Since 1880, hydrogen peroxide is a commercial product. It was first produced in the United Kingdom by burning barium salt (Ba), which produced barium peroxide (BaO2). Subsequently the barium peroxide was dissolved in water and hydrogen peroxide was produced. Since the 19th century the production of hydrogen peroxide has largely increased. Nowadays about half a billion kilograms are produced annually.
How is hydrogen peroxide transported and stored?
Hydrogen peroxide must be transported in polyethylene, stainless steel or aluminium containers. When hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with flammable substances, such as wood, paper, oil or cotton (cellulose), spontaneous ignition may occur. When hydrogen peroxide is mixed with organic matter, such as alcohols, acetone and other ketones, aldehydes and glycerol, heavy explosions may occur.
When hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with substances, such as iron, copper, chromium, lead, silver, manganese, sodium, potassium, magnesium, nickel, gold, platinum, metalloids, metal oxides or metal salts, this may result in powerful explosions. This is why hydrogen peroxide is usually transported in diluted form.
What are the applications of hydrogen peroxide?
The eldest known application of hydrogen peroxide was bleaching straw hats, which were fashionable in the beginning of the twentieth century. From 1920 to 1950, hydrogen peroxide was produced through electrolysis. This method produced pure hydrogen peroxide. Nowadays, self-oxidation processes are used to produce hydrogen peroxide. During these processes, hydrogen is the raw material.
Versatility of hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is versatile, it can be used for many applications. It can be used in all media; air, water, waste water and soils. It is sometimes used combined with other agents, to enhance and accelerate processes. Hydrogen peroxide is most commonly used to remove pollutants from waste water and from air. It contests bacterial growth (for example bio fouling in water systems) and it can enhance bacterial growth (for example bio remediation of polluted soils and ground water) through oxygen addition. It can also be used to treat pollutions that can be easily oxidized (for example iron and sulphides) and pollutions that are difficult to oxidise (for example dissolved solids, gasoline and pesticides).
Finally, it can be used to bleach paper, textile, teeth and hair or to produce food, minerals, petrochemical substances or washing powder. In pure form, hydrogen peroxide is used as an oxygen provider to drive Russian submarines.
Can hydrogen peroxide be used as an oxidiser?
Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidiser. It is more powerful than chlorine (Cl2), chlorine dioxide (ClO2) and potassium permanganate (KMnO4). Through catalysis, hydrogen peroxide can be converted into hydroxyradicals (OH). The oxidation potential of hydrogen peroxide is just below that of ozone.
Table 1: Oxidation potentials of various oxidisers
How is hydrogen peroxide dosed?
Most hydrogen peroxide applications consist of hydrogen peroxide injection into flowing water. No other chemicals or equipment are required. This application is used to control biological growth, to add oxygen, to remove chlorine residues and to oxidize sulphides, sulphites, metals and other easily oxidized materials. The suitability of hydrogen peroxide for these applications is influenced by pH, temperature and reaction time.
Catalytic hydrogen peroxide
Pollutions that are not easily oxidized, require hydrogen peroxide activation by catalysers (iron, manganese or other metalloids). These catalysers can also be used to enhance hydrogen peroxide reactions, which would otherwise take hours or days.
What are advanced oxidation processes?
Advanced oxidation processes are a new development in the field of hydrogen peroxide disinfection. These processes produce reactive oxygen radicals, without the interference of metal catalysers. Examples are the combination of hydrogen peroxide with ozone (peroxone) or Ultra Violet Light. The result of these methods is far-reaching oxidation of difficultly degradable substances, without the production of residues or sludge. These methods are used worldwide for groundwater treatment, for drinking water and process water treatment and for organic matter disinfection and removal from industrial wastewater.
How does hydrogen peroxide disinfection work?
Among other applications, hydrogen peroxide is used as a disinfectant. It is used to treat inflammation of the gums and to disinfect (drinking) water. It is also used to combat excessive microbial growth in water systems and cooling towers.
In the United States, hydrogen peroxide is used more and more frequently to treat individual water supplies. It is used to prevent the formation of colors, tastes, corrosion and scaling by pollution degradation (iron, manganese, sulphates) and micro-organism degradation. Hydrogen peroxide reacts very fast. It will than disintegrate into hydrogen and water, without the formation of byproducts. This increases the amount of oxygen in water.
The disinfection mechanism of hydrogen peroxide is based on the release of free oxygen radicals:
H2O2 → H2O + O2
Pollutions are decomposed by free oxygen radicals, and only water remains. Free radicals have both oxidising and disinfecting abilities. Hydrogen peroxide eliminates proteins through oxidation.
Peroxides such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), perborate, peroxiphosphate and persulphate, are good disinfectants and oxidisers. In general these can adequately remove micro-organisms. However, these peroxides are very unstable.
Perborates are very toxic. Peracetic acid (PAA) is a strong acid. It can be very agressive in its pure form. Stabilised persulphates can be used to replace chlorine for waste water treatment.
Is hydrogen peroxide used for drinking water disinfection?
In the 1950’s, hydrogen peroxide was first used for drinking water disinfection in Eastern Europe. It is known for its high oxidative and biocidal efficiency. Hydrogen peroxide has not been used often for drinking water disinfection, but it’s popularity seems to increase. It is often used combined with ozone, silver or UV.
Is hydrogen peroxide used for swimming pool disinfection?
The application of peroxides for disinfection and water treatment are limited. Recently, more stable forms have been developed, which can be used for application in swimming pools.
Hydrogen peroxide disinfection requires a high dose. The main disadvantage is the small disinfecting and oxidising ability of hydrogen peroxide at active concentrations (tens of milligrams per litre), which are required for swimming pool disinfection. Another problem is the quick decomposition of hydrogen peroxide in water and the presence of oxygen radicals. Through stabilizer addition, the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide is delayed and the disinfection ability can be maintained.
Compared with chlorine, bromine, ozone and other disinfectants, hydrogen peroxide is not a very powerful disinfectant. Swimming pools disinfection by hydrogen peroxide is not allowed, unless it is used in combination with other disinfectants (UV, ozone, silver salts or ammonia quart salts). Hydrogen peroxide improves the disinfection ability of other disinfectants.
Can hydrogen peroxide be used for cooling tower water disinfection?
Hydrogen peroxide can be used for cooling tower water disinfection, when it is combined with other disinfectants. Peracetic acid (CH3COOH, PAA) can also be used for cooling tower water disinfection.
Does hydrogen peroxide remove chlorine?
Hydrogen peroxide can be used for dechlorination, in other words to remove residual chlorine. Residual chlorine forms corrosive acids when it is oxidised by air or condensates on process systems.
When chlorine reacts with hydrogen peroxide, hydrogen peroxide falls apart into water and oxygen. Chlorine gas hydrolyses into hypochlorous acid (HOCl), which subsequently ionises into hypochlorite ions (OCl).
Cl2 + HOCl + H+ + Cl
HOCl + H+ + Cl
After tha, hydrogen peroxide reacts with hypochlorite:
OCl- + H2O2 (g) -> Cl- + H2O + O2
The reaction between hydrogen peroxide and hypochlorite takes place very quickly. Other organic and inorganic substances cannot react with hypochlorite.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of hydrogen peroxide use?
Contrary to other chemical substances, hydrogen peroxide does not produce residues or gasses. Safety depends on the applied concentration, because hydrogen peroxide is completely water soluble.
Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful oxidizer. It reacts with a variety of substances. It is therefore diluted during transport, as a safety measure. However, for hydrogen peroxide disinfection, high concentrations are required.
Hydrogen peroxide slowly decomposes into water and oxygen. An elevation of temperature and the presence of pollutions enhance this process.
The concentration of hydrogen peroxide in a solution slowly decreases. This is caused by the following reaction:
2 H2O2 → 2 H2O + O2
This is a redox reaction. Hydrogen molecules partly function as reductors and partly as oxidizers.
Is hydrogen peroxide efficient?
The efficiency of hydrogen peroxide depends on several factors, such as pH, catalysers, temperature, peroxide concentration and reaction time.
What are the health effects of hydrogen peroxide?
Exposure to hydrogen peroxide takes place through inhalation of damp or mist, through food uptake and through skin or eye contact. Hydrogen peroxide can irritate the eyes, skin and mucous membranes. Exposure of the eyes to concentrations of 5% or more can result in permanent eye damage. Tests with laboratory animals from the American International Agency on Cancer Research (IARC) show that hydrogen peroxide can be carcinogenic to animals. Laboratory tests with bacteria show that hydrogen peroxide is mutagenic; it changes and damages DNA. When humans inhale hydrogen peroxide, it causes lung irritation. Skin exposure causes painful blisters, burns and skin whitening. Organs that are extra susceptive to hydrogen peroxide exposure are the lungs, the intestines, the thymus, the liver and the kidneys. The effects of chronic exposure on humans are unknown. Effects on reproduction and development are not demonstrated so far.
What is the legislation for hydrogen peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide is not mentioned in the European Drinking Water Standard 98/83/EC.
In the USA, hydrogen peroxide is registered as a pesticide by the EPA in 1977.
Which substances can be combined with hydrogen peroxide?
For disinfection, hydrogen peroxide can be combined with other agents. For example peracetic acid and peroxone.
Hydrogen peroxide: H202. Odds are, you already have it in your house. If not, you can pick it up at any grocery store or drug store for just a couple of dollars. In fact, it’s one of the lowest-cost, handiest household supplies there is. And you would be surprised at just how many ways you can use it for cleaning, hygiene, healing, style, and more. I’m going to share a ton of amazing hydrogen peroxide uses with you, but first, I want to introduce you to this incredible chemical compound and its properties!
Hydrogen peroxide is a colorless liquid, only a little more viscous than water. On sight, it actually looks exactly like water. It has powerful oxidizing properties, which allows it to work as a bleaching agent (as anyone who has ever bleached their hair knows, peroxide reacts with melanin to oxidize it and convert it into a compound which is free of color). Hydrogen peroxide’s same oxidizing properties allow it to react with bacteria, viruses, spores, and yeasts, making it a great disinfectant. Also, interestingly enough, in high concentrations, it can be used as a propellant in rocketry.
If you have ever used hydrogen peroxide to disinfect a cut, you probably have noticed all the fizzing and bubbling that happens. There is a misconception that this is the “last gasp” of the dying organisms. What it really is, is the result of the H202 bonds breaking during the reaction. One of the oxygen molecules is liberated, leaving H20 (water!) behind. The free oxygen molecules are what you see bubbling to the surface. Isn’t science awesome? But now, let’s get on to the many amazing applications of hydrogen peroxide around the home!
Table of Contents
Hydrogen peroxide is perhaps best known for its medicinal uses; this is after all why it tends to be sold in the pharmaceutical section of the store. Here are some commonly known medicinal uses for hydrogen peroxide as well as a few you probably aren’t aware of!
Clean and disinfect minor wounds
This is one of the most obvious uses. If you have hydrogen peroxide in your home, it may be the reason. The 3% solution you can buy at the drugstore can be applied directly to minor wounds to clean away dead tissue. It can halt minor bleeding, and can help to clear up infections or prevent infections from setting in. It is generally recommended to only apply the hydrogen peroxide once, since doing it too many times may also inhibit friendly bacteria which help to facilitate healing.
Get rid of acne and boils
While you are at it, if you have infected acne, you may be able to speed up the healing process by applying a little hydrogen peroxide to the infected sites. It will act just the same way it does on wounds, helping to kill the unwanted bacteria and cleanse the area. Just as with wounds, you do not want to overdo this! Just apply it once. If you apply it too many times, you will kill the good bacteria too.
Cure canker sores
If you have canker sores in your mouth, you may be able to get them to go away faster by swishing some hydrogen peroxide in your mouth. Combine it with water so that you don’t cause any irritation or blistering in your mouth (too high a concentration of hydrogen peroxide can do this in large amounts). Swish it around for half a minute or so, and then spit it out and rinse with fresh water.
Expunge bad breath
Can’t get rid of your bad breath by brushing your teeth? One great alternative to mouthwash for bad breath is hydrogen peroxide. Since hydrogen peroxide kills the unhealthy organisms in your mouth which cause bad breath, all it takes is half a minute of swishing to get bad breath to go away. You may be surprised how effective this is. In fact, if all you have is minor bad breath once in a while, just swishing with hydrogen peroxide once a week could mean you are good to go for the rest of the week. Just make sure you don’t overuse it, because it can kill good bacteria in your mouth too.
Fight foot fungus
Athlete’s foot is no fun! If you are tired of all that itching, you may find that hydrogen peroxide is a helpful antidote, thanks to its antifungal properties. This is largely an anecdotal use, but many people claim that they have successfully cured foot fungus infections just by applying a mixture comprised of equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide. While I have never tried this, I have applied it to my shower shoes to get rid of the fungus on the shower shoes. Doing this routinely seems to reduce the number of occasions where I end up getting it on my feet. This works pretty well as a preventative measure.
There is no cure for the common cold, and hydrogen peroxide is no exception to that rule. But there are things you can do to treat a common cold, and many people report that one great method is to put a couple drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ears. This can help to clear out any infection or blockage in your ear.
Get rid of an ear infection
While we’re at it, you can also use hydrogen peroxide drops in your ear to take on an ear infection. Just know that you may need medical attention; you cannot cure all ear infections on your own, and they can get serious. So don’t let this stop you from going to a doctor!
Clear out ear wax
Ear wax isn’t an infection, but it can certainly drive you crazy when it blocks up your ear so much you have trouble hearing! Just as you can use hydrogen peroxide drops to get rid of infections in your ear, you can also use it to clear up excess wax. Try adding a couple of drops of olive oil, and then follow it up with a couple drops of hydrogen peroxide. Keep your head tilted for about a minute, and then tilt it back the other way and let the mixture drain out. You may also want to gently flush your ear out with warm water.
Deal with a sinus infection
I would be cautious about this one (actually, personally I wouldn’t try it), but many people report success without any adverse effects. Mix 3% hydrogen peroxide with an equal part of water in order to dilute it, and then put it into a nasal spray container. Spray it into your nose and then blow it back out after a moment. This in theory will kill the sinus infection.
Tackle a toothache
Have an awful toothache, and can’t make it to the dentist right now? Try putting some hydrogen peroxide in your mouth mixed with water, and hold it there for a few minutes. Most people who use this method suggest that you hold it for ten minutes if you can. This reportedly relieves a significant amount of the pain. Some people even do this several times a day, but I caution you to avoid overuse, since you don’t want to kill the good bacteria in your mouth.
Take a detoxifying bath
If you want to give your bathwater a detoxifying boost, try adding two quarts of peroxide to your bathwater. Soak in the bath for half an hour. This can be a great idea if you are sick and want to make sure you emerge from the bathtub actually clean of germs.
Treat a yeast infection
If you use douching as a method to treat a yeast infection, try adding a couple capfuls of hydrogen peroxide to the mix. You may find that this controls or even cures your yeast infection.
Hygiene and Beauty Uses
Hydrogen peroxide has many uses for hygiene and beauty, and is a great supply to have handy in your bathroom. Some of these uses overlap with medicinal uses, since they have both a health and beauty effect.
Whiten your teeth
Remember earlier when I said you could use hydrogen peroxide as an effective mouthwash to get rid of bad breath? It has the other main benefit of mouthwash too, which is teeth whitening! Remember, peroxide acts as a bleaching agent. That means that swishing it around in your mouth helps to bleach your teeth too. I have noticed instantaneous results with this. If my teeth are looking a little yellow and I swish for just half a minute and spit, my teeth look significantly lighter right afterwards. Do this as a weekly routine and you will keep your smile looking bright.
Make a toothpaste
If you are not a fan of toothpaste that comes in a tube and has all kinds of questionable artificial ingredients, you can make your own toothpaste at home. You can do this using baking soda by itself, if you like, or you can make it even more effective by mixing baking soda with hydrogen peroxide. This also works great in a pinch if you simply forgot to put the toothpaste on your grocery store list before you headed to the supermarket.
Use it as a deodorant
Apparently this stuff works great as a deodorant if you mix it in a 1:2 ratio with dish soap, of all things. You are meant to leave it on for half an hour, and then rinse it off. I imagine that this would be rather unpleasant for about 30 minutes, since dish soap is frankly quite sticky. It may work well in a pinch though if you forgot to buy deodorant and just need to get ready before you head out somewhere for the evening.
Clean your contact lenses
Contact lenses can gradually accumulate a buildup of proteins over time. One way you can get rid of that buildup is to use a commercial lens cleaner—or you can just go with hydrogen peroxide! Hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient in many lens cleaners as it is. It gets the job done quickly, easily and cheaply.
Whiten your nails
If you want to whiten your nails, you can do it the same way you can whiten teeth or hair—with hydrogen peroxide. Just soak some hydrogen peroxide into a cotton ball and dab it onto your nails. This can lighten them, making for a brighter appearance.
Cover your roots
Are the roots of your bleached blonde hair starting to show their dark, natural color while they grow? Dab on some hydrogen peroxide and let it sit for about half an hour, and then wash it out. This is often enough to conceal the roots (think of Margaret Houlihan from M*A*S*H*, who was always trying to hide the fact that she wasn’t a natural blonde, and was in fact using the hydrogen peroxide she’d stashed from the medical supplies to cover up her roots).
… Or gradually lighten your hair
Covering your roots the quick and dirty way isn’t the only use for hydrogen peroxide in your hair. You can also use it to lighten your hair gradually over time. Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water and add them to a spray bottle. Spray the solution into your hair, and then use a comb to help distribute it. Wait for it to dry, and that’s it. Just do this routinely, and your hair will gradually show blonde highlights. The nice thing about this is that it isn’t too harsh, and it also gives you control over how light you want to go, since you can just do it a little bit at a time (if you’ve ever used Sun-In lightener, this essentially works the same way using the same active ingredient plus some lemon juice).
Disinfect your toothbrushes
Now and again it’s a great idea to pour some hydrogen peroxide over your toothbrushes. This can help kill staph and other bacteria, which lessens the chance of it getting into (or getting back into) your mouth.
Soften calluses and corns
Have calluses and corns on your feet? You can soften them by soaking your feet in hydrogen peroxide and water.
Uses for Cleaning Around the House
Hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant isn’t just useful on wounds or in your mouth; it is also very helpful for tackling surfaces around the home. This can help to prevent sickness or keep sickness from spreading. It can also get surfaces looking sparkling and clean!
Disinfect your countertops
In the bathroom, kitchen, and anywhere else in your house, you can quickly and easily disinfect your countertops using hydrogen peroxide. Mix it with water (in equal parts, as usual) in a spray bottle, and apply it directly to the surfaces you need to wipe down. Then just get a sponge and wipe them down, and you are good to go.
Whiten your grout
Nothing looks worse than grout that has started to take on that dingy appearance from collecting dust and dirt and everything else to come along. To whiten your grout, first, make sure it is dry, and then spray peroxide directly onto it. Walk away and do something else for a couple of hours, and then come back with a toothbrush and soapy water. Scrub vigorously, and then dry it off. It should look white and clean and new!
Clean your mirrors
Do you hate the streaks that commercial cleaners leave on your mirrors? According to a lot of people who use hydrogen peroxide for cleaning around the home, hydrogen peroxide makes a great no-streak cleaning agent for mirrors. You can just spray it on and then wipe it down using paper towel. It will get rid of any bathroom germs that have made a home on the glass too.
Wash out your toilet bowl
To disinfect your toilet bowl, pour in half a cup of hydrogen peroxide. Let it stand inside for twenty minutes. Then come back and scrub out the bowl with your toilet brush as usual, and flush. While you are at it, douse your toilet bowl brush in hydrogen peroxide. This will disinfect the brush and keep it clean and sanitary.
Clean your tiles
Tiles, like the grout so often used to seal them, can become quite ugly quite fast when they accumulate stains and soap scum. Hydrogen peroxide helps to kill mold and brighten tiles, so it makes an excellent tile cleaner. To use it, just mix it up in a paste with flour. Apply it to your tiles directly, and then cover it with plastic wrap. Leave it sit overnight, and then come back the next morning and rinse your tiles until they are clean. They should be bright, shiny and sparkly, just like new!
Anywhere you find mold in your house, you can apply hydrogen peroxide directly to the site, and then wipe it clean. Hydrogen peroxide is effective against many different types of mold, and can help to clean and detoxify a wide variety of surfaces.
Uses in the Kitchen
While hydrogen peroxide is great for cleaning all around the home, it is particularly handy in the kitchen, where it has many specific applications! Read on to discover them.
Clean a cutting board
Your cutting board is a place where germs can readily congregate, especially if you use it to chop meat. Rinse off your cutting board after you use it, and then spray it down with peroxide. This will take care of those germs before they get into other foods you are preparing or find their way onto your utensils.
Add it to the dishwasher
Want your dishwasher to do a better job? Try adding a couple ounces of hydrogen peroxide to your dish detergent. While you’re at it, you can also add a little to your regular dish and hand soap to give them a boost. They will do an even better job at killing germs.
Get rid of stubborn caked-on food
Have caked-on food on your pots and pans that you are having a tough time cleaning out? Combine baking soda with hydrogen peroxide so that they form a paste, and then rub that onto the dirty dish in the problematic spot. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then come back and scrub it away with warm water. The baking soda acts as an abrasive while the hydrogen peroxide helps to break up the particulates. The stain should lift off with relative ease.
Disinfect your dishrags and sponges
Dishrags and sponges pick up a ton of germs while you use them. And then if you just leave them sit, those germs can really multiply. Soak your dishrags and sponges in hydrogen peroxide or even just spray it on them while they are sitting in the sink, and watch them foam up. There are a lot of germs to kill! Doing this not only helps you to stay safe, but it also extends the lifetime of your sponges before you have to replace them. You may also be able to go a little longer between washings for your dishrags.
Clean your fruits and vegetables and keep them fresh
There are several different ways you can use hydrogen peroxide to clean your fruits and veggies and help them stay fresh. Get a spray bottle and add some food-grade hydrogen peroxide. Spray them, let them stand for a couple minutes, and then rinse off the hydrogen peroxide and let them dry. You can then fill another spray bottle with vinegar and spray your fruits and veggies with that. The two work great for detoxifying your food. Want to preserve your fruits and vegetables so that they last longer? Pour a sink full of cold water, and then add a quarter of a cup of food grade peroxide. Soak your vegetables for around 20 minutes. Rinse them, and let them dry. This will get rid of chemicals which may have been used in the growing process, and also will preserve freshness.
Keep a salad fresh
Salads are delicious and very good for you, but they tend to go bad almost overnight. To keep your salad fresh a little bit longer, combine half a cup of water with a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide (make sure to use food-grade, once again), and then spray this mixture on the salad. As you can see, this mixture is very much watered-down. That is very important (a note on that later).
Clean your fridge
Want to get unpleasant odors out of your fridge and also disinfect everything? Wipe your shelves down with hydrogen peroxide. This will get rid of unsightly food stains and also kill germs. It should help to neutralize some odors as well. To deal with the rest, just add a box of baking soda.
Here are a few more ways you can use hydrogen peroxide in the laundry room and in other areas of your house.
Clean your rugs and carpets
Have some tough stains in your rugs or carpets? Spray hydrogen peroxide on them to get rid of those unsightly food and mud stains. Be sure that you only do this on light-colored fabrics, though! If you try it on dark colored carpets or rugs, you could end up bleaching them and creating a new unsightly patch instead! You may want to do a test first in a spot where no one is going to see it (inside a closet or under an item of furniture for example). If you have light or white colored carpet, using hydrogen peroxide should be no problem.
Clean your kids’ toys
Children, particularly toddlers, tend to get spit all over their toys—yuck. This is not only a problem for you and for other children, but it is unsanitary for them too. Use hydrogen peroxide to occasionally wipe down toys, toy boxes, and play areas. It is a safer cleaning agent to use around small children than many commercial cleaners, since it will not cause lung irritations.
Replace the bleach in your laundry room
If you are looking for an alternative to commercial bleach for your whites, you can try using hydrogen peroxide in your wash. Soak fabrics for around half an hour, and you should be able to pull the yellowing out of your whites for a fresh, clean look. Just make sure to keep the stuff far away from your other garments so that you do not bleach them by mistake.
Brighten table cloths and curtains
While you are at it, do you have any white curtains or tablecloths which have become a little yellowed or stained over time? Wipe the yellowed areas down with hydrogen peroxide. Alternately, just throw them in the wash with the rest of your whites.
Wash your shower curtains
Don’t forget about the shower curtains! These love to pick up mildew and soap scum like it’s an extreme sport. Fight back by using hydrogen peroxide. If you have a shower curtain which can go in the washing machine, do it. Otherwise you can do it by hand.
Remove tough stains from clothing
Certain types of stains are quite tricky to get rid of, in particular organic stains like blood. Sweat stains that form on the armpits of shirts can also be problematic. Hydrogen peroxide is great for tackling these pesky stains. Mix two parts hydrogen peroxide with one part detergent, and then use it directly on the stains you are trying to remove. As a reminder, you can only use this technique on light or white colored clothing! Do not use on dark or patterned cloth, or you will bleach your clothes.
Get rid of odors in your clothing
Are some of your clothes musty-smelling? You can get rid of these odors by washing your clothes in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar. This will get any unwanted smells out of your clothing fast. Only do this with light-colored clothes!
Disinfect children’s lunchboxes
If your kids take their lunch to school in a lunchbox, you know how gross those lunchboxes can get over time. It is easy to overlook the buildup of food residue in these boxes, because you don’t wash them every time. Once in a while, spray some hydrogen peroxide inside. Let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse and wipe it down. This will disinfect the box, and help keep your kid healthy.
Disinfect the inside of a cooler
Coolers are subject to the same issues as lunchboxes. They tend to accumulate food residue and go neglected. You can wipe down a cooler’s interior the same way you can a child’s lunchbox. This will help keep the cooler sanitary.
Disinfect reusable bags
Do you use a reusable shopping bag in order to protect the environment? This is a great way to cut back on environmental waste, but you need to take steps to occasionally protect your health too. Now and again, you are going to want to turn your bag inside out, and spray some hydrogen peroxide solution on the fabric. This will disinfect the bag and also get rid of any lingering food odors.
Clean a dehumidifier (or a humidifier)
Dehumidifiers and humidifiers both have a tendency to accumulate mold buildup. If you let this get out of control, it becomes a sanitation problem fast. Now and again, run a hydrogen peroxide and water solution through your device to kill the mold inside. That way you will continue to process clean air.
Boost plant growth
One cool scientific fact about H202 which I forgot to mention earlier is the fact that it is found in rainwater naturally. Why? During a rainstorm, there is ozone in the atmosphere (O3). Now and again, the falling H20 (water) picks up an extra oxygen atom from this ozone. This converts it into H202. It turns out that this is one of the reasons that rainwater helps plants to grow faster!
You can soak your plant seeds in hydrogen peroxide to simulate rainwater. This will get rid of fungal spores and speed the rate at which your seeds germinate. Use 1 ounce of peroxide for every 2 cups of water, and make it an overnight soak. Also, if you have plants which have been growing for a while, you can boost the health of their root system by occasionally spraying them with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. Just use 1 part peroxide to 32 parts water. What a cool use for this handy compound!
Mites are a pain wherever you find them. Wherever you do, spray some hydrogen peroxide. It’s a safe way to kill mites which won’t contaminate your home or outdoor environment.
Remove algae from an aquarium
Have algae growing on the sides of your fish tank? One safe and effective way to kill it without harming your aquarium’s inhabitants is to use hydrogen peroxide. This must be done with great care! You wan to use around 60 ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide per 250 liters (that’s 66 gallons) of tank water. Add it with a dropper or a syringe slowly over the course of about five minutes. Apply it directly to the clump of algae if you can. Once the H202 lands on the algae and reacts with it, killing it, it will dilute rapidly, converting into H20 plus free oxygen.
Be aware that some aquarium plants may not handle this well. And if you add too much, you will oxidize (and kill) your aquarium’s inhabitants, including fish, snails, shrimps and frogs. As an interesting anecdote, people have been adding barley straws to their aquariums for quite a long time to kill algae. It is believed that this works because the barley slowly releases hydrogen peroxide in small amounts.
Add oxygen to a bag while transporting fish
Are you transporting fish in a bag? You can make this process safer and more comfortable for your fish by adding H202 to the bags. Do not use the liquid hydrogen peroxide recommended for the other applications in this article. Instead, go with the little white tablets which dissolve for a controlled release of oxygen. Note that if you have a gasping fish, you can sometimes save it by adding a five times dose of the liquid hydrogen peroxide. This is a measure of last resort, but the oxygen boost sometimes is enough.
Treat wounds in animals
Just as hydrogen peroxide can be used to treat human wounds, you can also use it to treat wounds on your pets. Believe it or not, this also includes fish—just not very small ones. If you can dab it on carefully, it will remove dead flesh and help to kill the bacteria. Balance this with the risk of stressing the fish though; if you stress the fish out too much, it may not be worth it, and you have to get it back into the water fast.
Induce vomiting to save the life of a pet
If your pet swallows something toxic, you may be able to save its life by inducing vomiting with the aid of 3% hydrogen peroxide. This works well for dogs, cats, pigs, and ferrets. It does not work for rodents, horses, rabbits, birds, or ruminant species. Start by offering your pet a small meal; this makes it more likely your animal will vomit. If he doesn’t eat it, just move onto the next step. Measure hydrogen peroxide out as follows: 1 millimeter per pound of weight (with a small critter like a ferret, half a teaspoon is usually sufficient). Use a syringe or turkey baster to squirt it into the back of your pet’s mouth. Vomiting should ensue inside of 15 minutes. You can try this one more time if it fails the first time. If it fails again, it’s time to call the vet.
And finally …
One Thing You Should Not Do With Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide works great topically and in a few other ways to tackle health problems, but one thing you should not do is ingest it. There are alternative health practitioners who recommend hydrogen peroxide for all kinds of conditions—everything form the flu to cancer. The idea is that by consuming hydrogen peroxide on a daily basis, you will be creating an oxygen-rich environment where pathogens cannot survive. Your body actually produces some hydrogen peroxide on its own naturally as part of your immune response. So the thinking goes, “If that works, then why not produce more?”
So why shouldn’t you do this? Your immune system produces hydrogen peroxide, yes, but it does so in such a way that the hydrogen peroxide cannot damage other body cells. It is contained inside a compartment called a phagosome. When you imbibe hydrogen peroxide, it is free, and therefore can damage any tissue in your body through oxidative stress. This actually may be one of the causes of cancer. So you could actually make things worse on yourself by taking H202 orally. Plus, large doses even at the 3% concentration can cause oral blistering, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Taking it intravenously is just as bad.
The Bottom Line: Hydrogen Peroxide is Amazing!
Even though you cannot take hydrogen peroxide orally to treat health conditions, it works great to treat minor wounds, ear infections, colds, sinus infections, toothaches, yeast infections, and more. Its uses for beauty and hygiene are extensive, and it’s a wonderful cleaning and disinfecting agent to use around the house, especially in the kitchen. Hydrogen peroxide is so amazing you can even use it to save a pet’s life in a tight spot. Do you know any exciting uses for hydrogen peroxide that we haven’t discussed? Share them with us in the comments below!
When it’s time to clean, have your trusty green cleaners at the ready — baking soda, vinegar — plus another ultra-cheap gem: hydrogen peroxide. You can use it anywhere, and can’t beat the price: A 16-oz. bottle only costs a buck or so.
Here are 10 ways you can use that ubiquitous brown bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide to your home’s advantage:
In Your Kitchen
1. Clean your cutting board and countertop. Hydrogen peroxide bubbles away any nasties left after preparing meat or fish for dinner. Add hydrogen peroxide to an opaque spray bottle — exposure to light kills its effectiveness — and spray on your surfaces. Let everything bubble for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse clean.
2. Wipe out your refrigerator and dishwasher. Because it’s non-toxic, hydrogen peroxide is great for cleaning places that store food and dishes. Just spray the appliance outside and in, let the solution sit for a few minutes, then wipe clean.
3. Clean your sponges. Soak them for 10 minutes in a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and warm water in a shallow dish. Rinse the sponges thoroughly afterward.
4. Remove baked-on crud from pots and pans. Combine hydrogen peroxide with enough baking soda to make a paste, then rub onto the dirty pan and let it sit for a while. Come back later with a scrubby sponge and some warm water, and the baked-on stains will lift right off.
In Your Bathroom
6. Clean the toilet bowl. Pour half a cup of hydrogen peroxide into the toilet bowl, let stand for 20 minutes, then scrub clean.
Related: Clean Your Bathroom The Non-Toxic Way for Pennies
In Your Laundry Room
7. Remove stains from clothing, curtains, and tablecloths. Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a pre-treater for stains — just soak the stain for a little while in 3% hydrogen peroxide before tossing into the laundry. You can also add a cup of peroxide to a regular load of whites to boost brightness. It’s a green alternative to bleach, and works just as well.
Related: Which Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe is Best?
Anywhere in Your House
8. Brighten dingy floors. Combine half a cup of hydrogen peroxide with one gallon of hot water, then go to town on your flooring. Because it’s so mild, it’s safe for any floor type, and there’s no need to rinse.
9. Clean kids’ toys and play areas. Hydrogen peroxide is a safe cleaner to use around kids, or anyone with respiratory problems, because it’s not a lung irritant. Fill an opaque spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide and spray toys, toy boxes, doorknobs, and anything else your kids touch on a regular basis. You could also soak a rag in peroxide to make a wipe.
Related: Homemade Cleaners That REALLY Unclog Drains and Remove Stains
10. Help out your plants. To ward off fungus, add a little hydrogen peroxide to your spray bottle the next time you’re spritzing plants. Use a 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide added to one gallon of water for your plants.
- 9 Awesome Things That Cleaning With Baking Soda Can Do
- 10 Strategies to Stop Murdering Your Plants