Hydrogen peroxide is no longer recommended for cleaning wounds, since it's been shown to slow healing time and contribute to scarring, but it still deserves a place in your home. Once you see all of these uses for it, you'll be eager to move that bottle from your first aid kit to your cleaning caddy.
What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide is chemically the simplest peroxide. Though it's not effective for antiseptic purposes, it can be used successfully for cleaning and sanitizing.
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Remove Blood Stains
Apply full-strength hydrogen peroxide directly to a blood stain (the sooner the better), and let it sit until it stops fizzing. Then, dab at the stain with a clean cloth to lift it. Repeat the process until the stain is gone. Launder the garment like you normally would.
If you aren't sure you got the stain out completely, be sure to check before you throw your clothing in the dryer. Heat-set stains are difficult to remove.
02 of 08
Remove Wine, Chocolate, Grass and Armpit Stains
Combine two parts hydrogen peroxide and one part dish liquid to create your own laundry spot remover. Apply it to the stain with a soft scrub brush, and allow it to sit for a bit. Then, rinse under cold water. If you can still see traces of the stain, apply more of your spot treatment, and scrub it again until the stain is no longer visible. Wash your garment as you would normally.
Note: This same spot remover can also be used to treat carpet and upholstery stains. Because hydrogen peroxide is a mild bleach, it's best to test the treatment on an inconspicuous area first.
03 of 08
Use in Place of Bleach
Add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your whitewash loads to whiten and brighten fabric without the use of chlorine bleach. Since hydrogen peroxide is an anti-fungal, it's also great for removing that musty smell from bath towels.
For the best results, allow your laundry to soak for 15-30 minutes before you start the washer.
Do not use hydrogen peroxide on colored clothing. It's not a color-safe bleach.
04 of 08
Remove Stains From Marble
Unsealed marble is prone to staining (even water can stain it). Address stains as soon as you notice them by making a paste of flour and hydrogen peroxide, and applying it directly to the stained surface. Cover the area with plastic wrap, to keep the paste from drying out, and let it sit overnight. Then, clean up the paste in the morning, and the stain should be gone, or at least greatly lightened. Repeat the process, if needed.
Consider sealing your marble once you get it cleaned, to protect it from future stains. It only takes a couple minutes to do.
Note: Be sure to test this stain solution in an inconspicuous area the first time you use it.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Eliminate mold from the bathroom and any other areas of your home, by treating it with full-strength hydrogen peroxide. Just apply it with a rag or a spray bottle, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, come back and clean the area.
Note: Hydrogen peroxide will kill mold, but it won't eliminate mold stains. You'll need to do a deep cleaning afterwards to make that happen.
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07 of 08
Sanitize Cutting Boards and Disinfect Surfaces
Wipe down your cutting boards with hydrogen peroxide periodically, to eliminate any bacteria that may be lurking on the surface or in the cracks and crevices.
Then, apply a coat of mineral oil to your wooden cutting boards to extend their life.
You can also use hydrogen peroxide to sanitize countertops, sinks, light switches, door knobs and other germ-prone surfaces in the home. Just give them a quick spray, and allow them to dry.
Tip: Screw a spray head on your hydrogen peroxide bottle to make it easier to use.
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Safety and Storage
Hydrogen peroxide loses it's oomph quickly when it's exposed to air or sunlight, so keep it in the brown bottle it came in until you're ready to use it. Many homemade cleaners can be made in advance, but unfortunately, that doesn't apply to cleaners made with hydrogen peroxide.
Do not mix hydrogen peroxide with vinegar. While it can be fun to create your own homemade cleaners, combining the two will form peracetic acid, which could irritate your skin, eyes and respiratory system, and even cause permanent damage to your lungs.
Thomas, Gregory W., et al. Mechanisms of Delayed Wound Healing by Commonly Used Antiseptics. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, vol. 66, no. 1, 2009, pp. 82–91., doi:10.1097/ta.0b013e31818b146d
Mcdonnell, Gerald. The Use of Hydrogen Peroxide for Disinfection and Sterilization Applications. PATAI'S Chemistry of Functional Groups, 2014, pp. 1–34., doi:10.1002/9780470682531.pat0885