Handy Household Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide

You’ve probably used hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant for cuts, but how about as a tooth whitener?

For the savvy consumer, hydrogen peroxide (that close relative to water that most of us just call “peroxide”), is a money-saving miracle. You can use it for everything from brushing your teeth to disinfecting household surfaces.

But you have to be able to separate the fact from the fiction where peroxide’s concerned, and you need to know how to treat it. In this article, we’ll provide some pointers.

Peroxide vs. Bleach

Chlorine bleach makes an excellent cleanser, disinfectant, and whitener; there’s no denying that. In fact, it’s better at the job than peroxide. However, chlorine bleach is also highly reactive, very strong, and pollutes the environment with chemicals like dioxin (the famous Love Canal pollutant).

Peroxide is much more eco-friendly, especially when used in combination with vinegar and baking soda. It does the job as a cleanser almost as well as bleach, won’t harm your septic or plumbing system (as bleach and other chemicals can), and breaks down into water.

It’s an excellent mold fighter, and is useful for cleaning and deodorizing toilets, sinks, showers, and bath tubs.

Because you can only buy peroxide in small amounts for personal use (we’ll get to that in a moment), it’s best to use it sparingly. Put it in a spray bottle and spray it on the surfaces you’re cleaning, or put a little on the rag you wipe those surfaces down with.

Other Uses

In addition to being a great all-around bathroom cleaner, you can use peroxide in the kitchen as a sanitizer; for example, on cutting boards and counters. It also makes a great vegetable wash.

You can use peroxide by the cupful in your laundry as an excellent substitute for chlorine bleach. Don’t overdo it, though; it is a form of bleach, after all.

Some folks even use peroxide as a mouthwash and tooth whitener, but be cautious here: use it as such only rarely and for a short period, unless approved for a mouth infection. Mixed with baking soda, however, it does make an effective toothpaste.

Two Caveats

First of all: don’t expose peroxide to direct light, or it’ll break down into water very quickly. Second, you’re simply not going to be able to buy peroxide in bulk unless you work for a chemical laboratory, because the government won’t let you. You see, criminals can use peroxide for clandestine purposes as well.

Its lack of availability in bulk is one of the reasons why most people use chlorine bleach instead, despite the fact that it’s a much nastier chemical. Your only real option is to continue to buy your hydrogen peroxide in those little brown bottles of 3% solution, one or two bottles at a time.