8 reasons to have hydrogen peroxide in your home

February 26, 2015 Providence Health Team

Most hydrogen peroxide available over the counter contains a 3% concentration. These tips are based on this 3% concentration. Before you try any of the following, be sure to know your product and its dangers. And, as always, read and follow label instructions.

Most households have a steadfast bottle of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in the first aid kit to clean cuts and scrapes and prevent infection. But, ironically, cleaning a wound with hydrogen peroxide may actually damage healthy cells and delay healing. That doesn’t mean it’s time to toss out your bottle of H2O2. Instead, it may be time to restock your supply. From cleaning vegetables to treating canker sores, there are seemingly countless ways to use this non-toxic, natural compound. These are some of our favorites:

1. Clean your mouth, brighten your smile

Rinse your mouth with a solution of one part hydrogen peroxide and one part water to kill bacteria, freshen your breath and whiten teeth. Swishing this solution may also help relieve minor pain associated with gum disease, canker sores and gingivitis. Operative words: rinse and swish. Don’t swallow hydrogen peroxide.

Combine baking soda and H2O2 to make your own whitening toothpaste. But use sparingly – this abrasive paste can damage your tooth enamel and irritate gums if used too often.

2. Purify produce

Use H2O2 as a fruit and vegetable wash to remove chemicals and kill bacteria. Spray a mist of hydrogen peroxide over your produce and let it soak about five minutes before rinsing. Or for a more thorough cleansing, fill your sink with cold water and add 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide. Let your produce soak in this bath for 20-30 minutes.

3. Disinfect counters and cutting boards

Ward off food-borne illnesses that love to live and breed on your kitchen counters and cutting boards with an H2O2 spray. Simply spray, let sit for 5-10 minutes and wipe clean. For those hard-to-reach grooves where bacteria can fester, try a more aggressive approach on your cutting board and follow your hydrogen peroxide wash with distilled white vinegar. Let it stand for about 10 minutes and then rinse.

4. Cure root rot

Brown, slimy, over-watered roots can’t absorb (from the soil) the nutrients the plant needs to survive. Whether or not you have a green thumb, you can cure this plant-killing root rot with a little H202.

Combine 1 quart of water with an ounce of hydrogen peroxide. Let the soil around the plant completely dry before pouring this mixture in. Repeat until the root rot is gone, making sure to let the topsoil (roughly 1-2 inches deep) dry completely between treatments.

5. Revitalize sponges

Clean those stinky, funky sponges with a combination of H2O2 and warm water. Let the sponge soak in the solution for at least 15 minutes, giving it plenty of time to attack the smell and bacterial build-up.

6. Remove unwanted earwax

Earwax protects our ear canals from infection. But when we poke or push earwax into our canal, we encourage build-up and impacted earwax that blocks the canal.

Talk to your primary care provider about using a simple solution of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water to help soften the earwax and remove the build-up. A few drops of the mixture in your ears twice a day for 3-5 days is usually enough to do the trick.

  • Learn more about easing childhood ear infections.

7. Whiten your whites

Put down the bleach. Instead, add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your load of whites to keep them bright.

To tackle old sweaty armpit stains, try combining a mixture of one part dishwashing liquid and two parts hydrogen peroxide to the affected area. Let it stand for an hour, then rinse. But caution: H2O2 can bleach fabrics. It’s a good idea to keep a careful eye on your clothes if you’re worried about damage.

8. Kill mold and mildew

Attack mold and mildew on bathroom tile with a solution of one part hydrogen peroxide and two parts water. Apply it to the surface with a spray bottle and give the solution at least an hour to do its work before rinsing clean. And because hydrogen peroxide acts as a whitening agent, this solution is also effective for removing stubborn stains in your grout.

Additional resources

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