Hydrogen peroxide might be the most versatile, yet natural product you can use in your home. From disinfecting to whitening your teeth, hydrogen peroxide is a must in any household. Read on to learn 25 exciting uses of hydrogen peroxide and all the ways you can improve your daily life by using this effective yet extremely affordable liquid!
You might be surprised to know that hydrogen peroxide is a natural substance. I always assumed hydrogen peroxide was just another chemically based, drug store product to avoid. This is not the case and to top it off, you can use it for many different household tasks that I think you’ll find exciting and very useful!!
One of the best things about hydrogen peroxide is that it has the power of bleach but doesn’t smell like bleach. Have you ever smelled bleach in a doctor’s office or clinic? Probably not. That’s because hydrogen peroxide is used to sterilize a medical environment. The medical community knows that bleach is highly toxic and even just inhaling it can cause vomiting, fluid in the lungs and severe breathing issues. HP is a safe alternative to bleach and has been used for centuries to kill germs.
What Exactly Is Hydrogen Peroxide?
First off, hydrogen peroxide is 2 hydrogen atoms and 2 oxygen atoms. Yeah, blah blah blah. That doesn’t mean much. Let’s talk about what it does. These 2 atoms combine to make a germicidal liquid. When hydrogen and water come together, they become highly reactive which make hydrogen peroxide an oxidizing treatment, which is why it can be used in so many helpful ways!
Ok, I need that broken down a bit further-What is oxidation? Basically when certain things are exposed to oxygen, they begin to break down. An apple is a good example. When the protective skin is removed from an apple, the inside turns brown quickly. So, when a germ, bacteria or virus is exposed to oxygen, it starts to break down and become inactive.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), hydrogen peroxide kills yeasts, fungi, bacteria, viruses, and mold spores.
Hydrogen Peroxide Shelf Life:
Something you should know is that hydrogen peroxide comes in a dark brown bottle for a reason.
Once it is exposed to daylight, heat and/or air it becomes plain ole’ water. For best results you should use up hydrogen peroxide within a month of opening the bottle. Technically the shelf life is 6 months but since it is so sensitive I would be cautious. You can test the shelf life of your HP by pouring a little in your skin. It should fizz once it hits the metal drain if it is still active.
Also, if you are planning on using HP for cleaning, be sure to find a spray bottle that is not clear. Sometimes, you can add a spray nozzle right on the original bottle so that would be your best bet if you happen to have spray nozzles lying around. I’ve bought several 16 ounce glass spray bottles via Amazon and those spray nozzles actually work perfectly! If not, check out a spray bottle like THIS one on Amazon.
Why You Shouldn’t Use HP on Open Wounds:
Using hydrogen peroxide to clean a wound initially is a great idea. It is gentle het helps clean a wound of harmful bacteria. However, cleaning the same wound over and over kills fibroblasts, a tissue your body uses to heal itself. Hydrogen peroxide is kind of like an antibiotic that kill good and bad bacteria. It will kill all the good and the bad cells which can make it hard for your body to heal.
Which Hydrogen Peroxide Should You Use?
Any store will have bottles of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide. This is what you should use for the 25 uses below. Food grade hydrogen peroxide is only necessary when you are sanitizing things you might eat.
25 Amazing Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide:
- Possibly stop a cold or flu from taking hold! Read below for more on this!!
- Clean fruits and veggies-Fill your sink with cold water and 1/4 cup of food grade hydrogen peroxide. I like to soak my produce for a few minutes and if it’s not organic wash with my foaming hand soap. Rinse well with cold water.
- Hydrogen Peroxide makes a great appliance cleanser! Spray the inside of your appliance down and wipe clean. I especially like to spray out the drum of my washing machine making sure to get in all the nooks and crannies. You should also add 2 cups of HP to the drum of your washing machine and run on hot water. Doing this monthly can help clean your washer and eliminate yucky smells that are notorious with energy efficient front loaders.
- Spray HP in your fridge to safely clean shelves and remove odors.
- Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a very effective mouthwash! Mix equal parts of water and HP and swish for a minute or two. Hydrogen peroxide helps whiten teeth and freshen breath! Swishing with HP can also help relieve canker sores and toothaches. Swish with a tablespoon of HP and no water if you are using it for pain relief.
- Clean makeup brushes and beauty sponges by soaking them in a 50/50 solution of HP and water for 5-10 minutes.
- Sanitize beauty tools like tweezers, eyelash curlers, toe nail clippers etc. by soaking them in a small bowl of HP.
- Soak kitchen sponges in equal parts of hot water and HP for at least 15 minutes.
- Spray a 50/50 mix on your feet if you’re experiencing foot fungal issues.
- Clean your mildewy shower curtains and bath loofas/sponges by putting them in the washing machine on cold with 1 cup of HP (in the bleach receptacle) and your regular amount of laundry detergent.
- Soak your toothbrush in HP in-between use. I like doing this during flu season especially. Soak mouth guards, dentures and retainers in HP as well!
- Spot clean rugs, carpet and upholstery. HP is great for getting out stains, especially red wine. Be cautious because if it’s a dark colored material, lightening could occur.
- Spray HP on toys and surfaces in a playroom for a non-toxic anti bacterial cleaning! I would suggest using food grade hydrogen peroxide if you are spraying toys for young children who tend to put everything in their mouth!
- Whiten fingernails-Yellow nails from red polish? Soak or rub HP on nails! If the yellow is really stubborn, try 2 parts baking soda to 1 part HP and make a paste to apply to the nail and let sit or about 3 minutes.
- HP is perfect for cleaning cutting boards. Spray a generous amount after cleaning the board and rinse.
- Brighten wood floors by adding 1/2 a cup of HP to hot water. Mop as usual.
- HP leaves no streaks so it is perfect for cleaning windows and mirrors!
- Clean humidifiers by adding 1 cup of HP to a gallon of hot water. Pour into the tank of your humidifier and let set. I also like to soak the base where the water sits. Feel free to run the humidifier with the HP/water solution. You can also add HP/water to your diffusers!
- Spray down your shower after each use with HP to eliminate mold and mildew.
- Sanitize reusable shopping bags by spraying the insides and handles with HP and allowing them to air dry.
- Treat fungus on house plants. Add a small amount of HP to a spray bottle and top off with water. Spray plant thoroughly. Also, you can spray a mixture of 1 tbsp. HP per 1 cup of water into the base of the plant. This will help oxygenate the roots and may help with root rot.
- Freshen up toilets by spraying HP all around the toilet as well as on the seat and lid to get rid of smells left by careless peeers. You can also pour 1/2 a cup in the bowl, let sit for 30 minutes then scrub and flush.
- HP is a great stain remover, especially sweat and blood. Spray directly to the stain and let sit for at least 10 minutes before throwing them in the washing machine. Take caution that HP can lighten dark clothing. I only do this on light fabrics.
- Whitening clothes and towels-Add 1 cup to washing machine (in bleach receptacle) and run a load as usual. I like doing this with white sheets and white towels to brighten them as well as remove smells.
- Counter-top disinfectant spray-Spray on counter tops and wipe clean!
How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Ward off Colds:
How many times have you felt a cold coming on and would give your left arm to stop it before it takes control of your life!?? I wrote a post about reducing your risk of getting sick after being exposed to a virus. What I didn’t know at that time was that there is something else you can do that is really going to up the possibility of beating a cold or flu before it takes hold.
At the first signs of a cold/flu coming on:
- Open your bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide and fill the cap.
- Lay down on your side.
- Pour the cap in your ear. You will hear a fizzing and crackling noise. Also, your ear will feel clogged. That is normal and I kind of enjoy it. It’s not a bad feeling at all.
- Wait 5-10 minutes.
- Time to drain-Either place a cotton ball in your ear or let it drain on a towel or over the sink.
- Repeat on the other ear.
This will most likely not work if you don’t do this as soon as you feel a cold coming on.
I know this might sound crazy to put hydrogen peroxide in your ear. Don’t take my word for it-Go HERE to read what Dr. Mercola (my favorite doctor) says about it and I think you’ll be put at ease. I wrote an entire post about putting hydrogen peroxide in your ear in order to fight a virus if you would like more in-depth info.
I am not a doctor and am only sharing what I do for my family and I. If you find this practice questionable then I absolutely encourage you to ignore it or do more research.
Again-not a medical professional by any stretch of the mile but I would say kids 2 and up (if they will allow you to do it) can handle this practice.
I use HP in my daughter’s ears any time they feel something coming on. My oldest came home with a clogged and painful ear after having already gotten a cold. I used the HP in her ear and within minutes she felt back to normal and went back to school. It works like a charm sometimes and sometimes we get sick anyway but to me, it’s worth a try.
My family also nebulizes food grade hydrogen peroxide while we are sick with a virus. It is a controversial practice but you can learn more about it HERE if you’re interested.
In conclusion, hydrogen peroxide is a wonderful tool that everyone should incorporate in their daily life. It’s affordable, safe and effective for so many different uses!
P.S. Never combine vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. They do not mix and will omit a toxic gas that can be harmful if inhaled.
Great post! I have been using hydrogen peroxide for years as a tooth whitener. Really works and saves a ton of money compared to white strips. Thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention!
My fiancé recently had an ear infection. The doctor gave him some ridiculously expensive ear drops ($85 for a teeny, tiny bottle). After two weeks he was getting pretty grumpy and frustrated because his ear wasn’t getting better and he couldn’t hear out of that ear at all. I mixed 1/3 hydrogen peroxide and 2/3 warm water and let it sit in his ear for 15 minutes. I then used the same mixture to flush out his ear with and ear bulb after the 15 minutes and voila! His ear was all better and he could hear again!
Alison! Thanks for sharing-that’s awesome!!
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What about nebulizing with peroxide, iodine, and saline?
Stacie-I nebulize with peroxide and saline but have not added iodine. I’ve never heard about that-interesting…. I don’t mention it because it can be a bit controversial and I’m not 100% sure I do it right.