Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Hydrogen Peroxide

I know many people that clean with chlorine bleach. I, however, have never been one of those people. I’ve always found bleach to be far too intimidating. It’s ruined some of my favorite shirts, has a pungent smell, and is rather toxic. A wonderful green alternative is hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is simply water with an extra oxygen molecule (H2O2). It is produced naturally in both animal and plant cells and occurs in the environment as a product of sunlight acting on water. Did you know that H2O2 is typically the active ingredient in many “oxygen” cleaners?

When you purchase hydrogen peroxide at the super market or drug store it is commonly diluted down to a 3% solution, which is the safest way to purchase it. Here are some H2O2 tips and uses which I found on greenlivingtips.com and helium.com:

- Keep H2O2 out of direct sunlight and in a cool place, as exposure to the sun and heat will quickly break it down into oxygen and water; rendering it ineffective. Store it in a dark bottle and remember to keep it out of reach of children.

- Dip your toothbrush in a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide solution to help kill bacteria on the brush after brushing.

- Mouthwash: A tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution in a cup of water can be used as a mouthwash - swish for up to 60 seconds once a day; but don't swallow and be sure to rinse your mouth out afterwards. This can also help whiten teeth.

- Hydrogen peroxide can also be used as a gargle to help relieve a sore throat or to help prevent the onset of certain illnesses such as colds and the flu. By killing some of the cold and flu germs present in the throat, you decrease the likelihood of getting sick.

- To help kill bacteria such as E. Coli on fruits and vegetables, add a quarter cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a sink full of cold water. immerse, rinse with cold water and drain. By killing bacteria this will also help keep fruit and vegetables fresher for longer. You can also use a spraybottle containing a 50/50 mix of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water - just spray and rinse.

- Household disinfectant: Hydrogen peroxide can be used to disinfect almost any household surface, including cutting boards, countertops, toilets, and floors. Simply wet the surface to be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide, then leave it sit for a few minutes. If germs are present, you will see fizzing and foaming as the peroxide does its job. After a few minutes, rinse and repeat if desired.

- Half fill a spray bottle with a 3% solution and then top it up with water for use as a bathroom and toilet disinfectant and cleaner. This is especially useful if you have a septic, greywater or blackwater treatment system as it won't harm the bacteria in the treatment areas - the hydrogen peroxide would have diluted to a point that renders it harmless by that stage through the interaction with flush water.

- Mix a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution with two parts water in a spray bottle and use on areas affected by mold. You can try a neat 3% solution for areas like bathroom tiling, but be careful on the strength in relation to painted items as it may bleach them.

- Make a whitening toothpaste by mixing baking soda and enough 3% Hydrogen Peroxide to form a paste

- Use 3% hydrogen peroxide to sterilize cuts and abrasions - the fizzing you'll see occur is normal.

- Add a cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide to your whites wash in place of bleaches

- Remove bloodstains from clothing by blotting stain with 3% hydrogen peroxide, then rinse promptly with cold water to avoid bleaching of the fabric.

- To remove yellowing from lace curtains or tablecloths, fill a sink with cold water and a 2 cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Soak for at least an hour, rinse in cold water and air dry

- Acne: After cleansing, use a cotton ball to apply 3% hydrogen peroxide to the skin. Apply to the entire face to help heal existing acne, and to freshen and kill the germs that can cause new acne breakouts.

- Windows & Mirrors: Hydrogen peroxide leaves a streak-free shine on glass surfaces in your home. Simply use a spray bottle to wet the surface with 3% hydrogen peroxide, and wipe with a clean, lint-free cloth. This can also help disinfect, which is important in homes with little ones who like to put their mouths on the glass.


  1. I didn't realize this about hydrogen peroxide, Ally! My parents always had some on hand but I've never used it. I will have to grab some :-)

  2. Awesome tips Ally. I always knew about using it to get blood out but I am going to try it with washing my whites!!! Makes sense to me!!

    Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Awesome Ally! Thanks for the tips! I didn't realize that Peroxide was THIS useful. I am definitely going to try some of these!

    You mentioned how bleach is so smelly...I don't use bleach anymore, unless absolutely necessary. I use the Walmart brand of color safe bleach in every load of laundry...and it's really good at getting stuff clean. It uses peroxide as it's whitening agent.