Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
18 Apr

8 Unusual Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

Besides the odd scraped knee and that one fateful summer where you decided you’d look better as a blonde, you haven’t had much time for the medicine cabinet staple hydrogen peroxide. However, it should be noted that it does have a number of wild and unusual purposes…

But first, a discussion of what exactly this bubbly little solution is: In its purest form, hydrogen peroxide, or H2O2 as it is referred to by chemists and other science-nerds, is actually highly toxic. What you are generally getting when you buy an over-the-counter variety is only 3% hydrogen peroxide, with the rest made up of plain ol’ H2O! Hydrogen peroxide is probably best recognized by its signature brown bottle, which is used not as a marketing strategy, but to actually protect the bottles’ contents, which are highly sensitive to light.

But let’s talk about all of its many uses:

Cranky-sore:

hydro2

According to folklore, holding a capful of H2O2 in your mouth for one minute daily will prevent you from developing canker sores (mouth ulcers) and will whiten your teeth too! Unfortunately, there have been no credible studies to prove this one, but it is one of those widely-held internet beliefs, with many people swearing up and down that it offers a protective benefit.

Neat Freak:

hydro3

Certified as an effective sanitizer by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hydrogen peroxide can be used to disinfect counter tops, chopping boards and other cooking utensils (and it leaves a nice fresh smell too!) Simply dampen a kitchen cloth with the solution or spray directly onto surfaces (just be careful for splash-backs since it will stain your clothes!)

Mold Master:

hydro4

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, hydrogen peroxide is among the substances that can be used to rid your home of mold (though even they admit that there really isn’t enough evidence on its efficacy to broadly recommend it as a first line treatment.) Our advice? It might be worth a shot!

Chemical Appeal:

hydro1

Picked up your produce in a dodgy section of the grocery store? Get it super clean – without harming diners – by using hydrogen peroxide as a vegetable soak. Not only will it remove the pesky dirt, a study published in the Journal of Food and Science suggests that it might remove strains of the stomach-ache inducing E-coli. This solution can also be used to wash meats and poultry.

Super Soap:

hydro5

Beef up your regular kitchen soap by adding roughly 2 ounces of 3% H2O2 to the bottle. It will add an extra – and safe – sanitizing boost to your everyday dishwashing routine!

Bathing Beauty:

hydro6

According to alternative therapy practitioners, adding about half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide to a warm bath can help detoxify the body and also help with the immune and eliminative properties of the skin. Our take on all this? We’re skeptical of the claims, but a bath is always a nice way to relax and the addition of hydrogen peroxide will leave you – and the tub – squeaky clean!

Vegetation Avenger:

hydro7

To avoid chemicals and harmful pesticides, you ditched grocery store produce in favor of growing your own. But then you ran into trouble with insects and had to haul out the industrial spray to fend off the critters. Next time, before disaster strikes, mix up a solution of 10% hydrogen peroxide by diluting 30% hydrogen peroxide (available at a feed store) with water and spray it on vegetation to keep it bug-free and healthy. But please, be extremely careful when handling hydrogen peroxide at these concentration levels as it can burn the skin and severely damage the eyes.

Salad Saver:

hydro8

Couldn’t finish last night’s tossed salad? Provided there’s no dressing, spray a solution of 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, drain, cover and refrigerate. According to those in the know, it will prevent wilting and better preserve your salad.

Share your favorite alternative uses for hydrogen peroxide with fellow readers in the comment boards!

Ricecake, massdistraction, Jeff Croft, Cornell Fungi, katiew, Annie Ominous, cleverswine, patty mitchell Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

10 Innovative Uses for Salt

10 Great Uses for Vinegar

13 Simple, Timeless Kitchen Hacks (Banish Tears, Cuts, Burns, Smells & Stains!)

DIY Household Cleaners

Wisebread: Going Green on a Shoestring

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You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. That’s nice to know that it can be used as a cleaner. It’s kind of crazy to try to avoid chemicals as much as possible and then turn around and slather them on everything to make things “clean.”

    Katie wrote on April 18th, 2008
  2. I use it on my face at night before bed. It removes my makeup & any other dirt pretty well, and doesn’t dry my skin out as much as washing it with soap & water. If I put lotion on to counteract the dryness of soap & water, my skin ends up too oily overnight. Using hydrogen peroxide as a kind of toner leaves my skin a little dry, but nothing that can’t be remedied with a shower & lotion in the morning.

    Heather wrote on April 18th, 2008
    • The gentler thing to use as a toner is witch hazel. I use Thayer’s – there are many varieties but my favorite is Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera. I buy mine at http://www.vitacost.com.

      livesimply wrote on August 25th, 2009
  3. It’s Great, We use it for everything. It will remove pet stains from carpet, coffee, blood, You name it, it will remove stains. Just clean up mess, pour on stain ,let stand a few minutes and soak up remainder with towel. Try it you will like it.

    Jerry wrote on May 4th, 2008
  4. we use for all kinds of stains, and it’s great for fresh cut flowers a little in the water and they live longer. as a mouth rinse promets health teeth and healthy gums. of course diluted with water.

    Anna wrote on May 5th, 2008
  5. Romain Lettuce:
    Wash under tap then spray 3% solution on and in the lettuce. Keep in the fridge in a sealed container. Use as required. I experimented last fall and it kept fresh for nine weeks. I didn’t expect this great a result.

    Ron wrote on May 23rd, 2008
  6. Eczema. For most of my life, I had eczema really bad on my feet. A friend suggested I try 30 percent hydrogen peroxide on them. It was probably the worst pain I ever felt, but after a few weeks of this, the eczema cleared up, and it hasn’t come back since.

    Rhys wrote on July 25th, 2008
    • Can you specify how you used the peroxide? Did you pour it directly on the eczema or was it diluted? Thank you.

      Donna wrote on November 28th, 2009
    • 30% that’s chronic! 3.5 to 0.35% are about right – you can use up to 18% directly on skin, get ready from some capillary embolisms.

      Pee wrote on September 9th, 2013
  7. Its great I came know many thing form this post….thanks…..hair loss treatment products

    Somnath wrote on May 19th, 2009
  8. I use it as a cold remedy. This has worked very well for me over the past couple of years.

    http://www.healingdaily.com/exercise/hydrogen-peroxide-in-ears.htm

    gymx wrote on May 3rd, 2010
  9. selamlar hocam

    scortman wrote on January 29th, 2011
  10. I would like to know what can you do for eczema thats in my hair on my scalp. My shampoo is over $100.00. I just dont have that every month to spend. Is there a remedy for peroxide and hair without bleaching my hair. I just need something to make my head feel better and not keep itching and flakes keep pouring out.

    sherry wrote on May 24th, 2011
    • My wife had always had a big eczema problem as does her cousin. She is eczema free now and all we can point to as the source of the respite is the 6000 D3 she takes now. Additionally her joints feel much better.

      over time we had also discovered that sugar can trigger a bout of eczema. but now sugar intake is irrelavant as it doesnt cause a bout of eczema anymore

      Bob

      Bob R wrote on November 8th, 2011
    • There is a place called Squire Boone Caverns in In. that makes old fashioned lye soap that is extremely mild and gets rid of eczema on the skin or scalp. The good part is that it’s only $1 a bar; while the bars are small, they do last a long time. Check out their website.

      pdaddy wrote on November 8th, 2011
    • My daughter had it and what you do is get Apple cider vinager the one with “the mother” in it put on scalp set til dry wash twice do once a week.

      Mindy wrote on November 7th, 2012
  11. thanks for this post. I am always looking for ways to use more natural products, so thanks for the tip.- Kristie

    Kristie Campbell wrote on June 22nd, 2011
  12. Have anyone ever used HydrogenProxide
    to whiten your white cupboards. I read something once about this, but I do not remember if it was deluted with another
    item

    Would like to hear from you

    Patti wrote on August 13th, 2011
  13. I picked up orange tongue two months ago. Its a new malady floating around, hope no-one gets it. A orange coating on the tongue with the inability to taste…everything tastes like liquid plastic…yeck…I have been using H2O2 and oregano extract and have been gaining good results…better results than the nystatin the regular saw bones gave me…good luck to other OT folks

    P.A. Hansen wrote on November 2nd, 2011
    • How do you get “Orange Tongue”?

      Junie wrote on May 23rd, 2012
  14. Mark,
    You forgot to specify diluted food grade H2O2 does not the 3% stuff have chemical stabilizers in it and for external use only?

    Joe in Missouri wrote on November 4th, 2011
  15. After reading “The One-Minute Cure: The Secret to Healing Virtually All Diseases” I have been consuming food-grade H2O2 ever since. I spray it on the back of my throat and on my teeth. The taste is a little unpleasant but you get used to it. Thanks to Jim for his flu cure/preventative as well. I never thought of the ears as being a culprit…

    Joe wrote on November 4th, 2011
  16. A couple of drops in each ear at the onset of a cold will greatly shorten its course.

    Jim wrote on November 5th, 2011
  17. I use it for cleaning out the wax from my ears. Just as good, and much cheaper, than the prescription ear drops I used for over a decade. It was my ENT who had recommended the prescription ear drops who later told me just to use Hydrogen Peroxide.

    David wrote on November 5th, 2011
  18. eczema is a fungus. baking soda works well to get rid of it. Also I use Hyrogen Peroxide to kill athlete’s foot…so it will probably work just as well on eczema.
    Someone mentioned colds…if you put a clove of garlic in your mouth 3 times a day for half an hour it kills flu and cold germs in your throat, nose and ears. Take more raw garlic in a blender drinks and i’ve been told it shortens the length of illness.
    My neighbor had an infection where they pulled her tooth and gave her three different antibiotics and scraped her jaw three times….didn’t work. I told her to put hydrogen peroxide in the tooth hole and a clove of garlic in her mouth for half an hour 3 times a day and it cured it.

    Rita wrote on November 5th, 2011
  19. Hydrogen peroxide with a pinch of baking soda and a few drops of dish washing soap can be used to completely eliminate odors caused by pets urinating where they’re not supposed to. Just saturate the area and let stand for a few hours.

    MetaCynic wrote on November 5th, 2011
  20. How bout intravenous Hydrogen Peroxide for emphysema. Been doing it 3yrs now. People also do it for cancer. Do search “Intravenous Hydrogen Peroxide” Works good.

    George Cleary wrote on November 5th, 2011
  21. Rocket fuel!

    UncleSim wrote on November 6th, 2011
  22. How about sinus infections? Anyone have some ideas? I hate antibiotics.

    kwispe wrote on November 6th, 2011
    • Try the saline nasal rinses available in drug stores. I use these 3 -4 times daily, it has reduced my allergy and sinus troubles greatly. Inexpensive too

      dagny wrote on November 6th, 2011
    • Get a Neti Pot. It’s a little pot with a spout that allows you to pour warm water up one nostril and out the other. I’ve never tried using it with H2O2, but I don’t see why you couldn’t. Offers great relief to the sinuses.

      dave howard wrote on November 7th, 2011
  23. Mix 1 qt. hydrogen peroxide with 1/4 cup baking soda and 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid to make a skunk stink remover for a dog who got sprayed. Apply to dog avoiding eyes, ears, nose. Leave on 5 minutes, rinse and repeat as needed. The wash dog with normal dog shampoo. Works great! I have 4 dogs who get sprayed a few times each year.

    dagny wrote on November 6th, 2011
  24. Don’t you get a visit from Homeland Security when you buy a gallon of the 30% stuff?

    Info wrote on November 6th, 2011
  25. WARNING: There should have much more written on this product. While it has FAR more than 8 uses, the type you use makes a HUGE difference. Store bought H2O2 is FULL of heavy metals… as stabilizers to prevent it from breaking down. Light (UV light) can damage it, but normal household light won’t. Heat will cause breakdown. You want food grade H2O2 to use for everything you do. Just do a search for “35% food grade hydrogen peroxide.” 35% is VERY caustic, and is classified as hazardous material, so be sure you know what you are doing. The 3% store bought stuff is OK for external uses, but still, the heavy metal issue should be avoided.

    drhealth

    County Guard wrote on November 7th, 2011
  26. Hydrogen peroxide causes your hair to go grey and white!Its in the skin a natural body antiseptic. Hydrogen peroxide builds up in the skin as one gets older. The antidote to keep your hair from going gray is to neutralise the natural hydrogen peroxide! Using hydrogen peroxide in or on your body will just speed up going gray!

    Roger wrote on November 8th, 2011
    • I had several major cases of skin cancer including melanoma on my shoulder. I read that over 15000 European physicians recommend taking diluted food grade H2O2 for a variety of diseases so I started taking it four years ago. All my cases of skin cancer ceased and it has greatly improved my entire system. Make sure to follow directions and dilute it to 3%. It’s an amazing cure.

      Mountain Jack wrote on November 8th, 2011
    • so how does one neutralize H2o2 in the body to eliminate gray hair?

      Kent wrote on November 8th, 2011
  27. Hydrogen peroxide has been known as a fungicide for a long time. Baking soda has been known as a fungicide for a long time. The problem has been that younger doctors are kept in the dark by the establishment medical/dental schools and are taught to use patent drugs to resolve sickness.

    Larry Leija wrote on November 8th, 2011
  28. Hydrogen peroxide should never be used undiluted. At 30 % it causes whitening of skin and severe burns. Don’t put it
    in you mouth unless it is dilued to about 3%

    S E Aw wrote on November 8th, 2011
  29. If you have ever burned food in a pot or pan to the point that it becomes that rock hard black carbon residue, you know how hard it can be to remove. Next time just soak it in H2O2 for one to three days. the carbon will simply lift off leaving the pot absolutely clean. No scrubbing necessary.

    Terry Anthony wrote on November 8th, 2011
  30. A great alternative to H2O2 for many of these uses (especially internal health, surface disinfection and vegetable washes) is grapefruit seed extract. It’s another one of those seeming “miracle” compounds that’s recently making headlines. Like H2O2, it can be harmful in high concentrations (causing skin burns, etc.), but in smaller amounts is a powerful antifungal and antibacterial.

    James wrote on November 8th, 2011
  31. I use peroxide in place of bleach for doing my whites. More environmentally friendly and I feel whitens better. Also, no bleach stink!

    Bill wrote on November 8th, 2011
  32. For sinus problems. Half fill an eyedropper with everyday cheap peroxide and squirt it back your nostril. It will sting a little. Repeat for other nostril. Do it a second time but this time immediately bend forward to get it up into your sinus cavaties. Works great. Some people use more than half an eyedropper and let it run down the back of their throat. Also helps with sore throats.

    Joe wrote on November 8th, 2011
  33. Got a problem with those pesky government spooks using a nerve agent in your water supply?

    Try injecting a 30 to 35% solution of hydrogen peroxide in to the pipeline that feed into your water supply.

    The solution will neutralize most all water born nerve agents within minutes, and as and added bonus kill all water born pathogens keeping both you and your family healthy and poison free.

    Digital Gravy wrote on November 10th, 2011
    • what a crock of shit. Nerve agents my a$$, what is this; Japan?

      I wash the radiation out of my Tuna with Hydrogen Peroxide, but there is still that heavy metals issue with the Mercury.

      What about Arsenic, Help!

      Allah Ackbarf wrote on June 27th, 2012
  34. One of my neighbors pesky dogs runs past my backdoor every morning … I got to squirting him with hydrogen peroxide ,,,, now the damn mutt moves so damn quickly, all I can see is its white racing stripes …. Left by the peroxide ….

    Joe Ryan wrote on July 11th, 2012
  35. Your article helps to explains my present problem. I bought a bottle of whitening mouthwash with the peroxide in it a few years ago and developed an inflamed mouth from using it. So I set it in the back of the cupboard and haven’t used it since. I went to a restaurant two nights ago and had a large salad and have had an inflamed mouth since. It sounds like that restaurant either uses it as the vegetable soak or the preservative. I don’t know how many people are allergic to peroxide, but perhaps restaurants need to provide warning labels for how they wash/preserve their food if they are going to use it. I spend a lot of time reading the labels on my toothpaste and mouthwash because peroxide is in so many of them. But I never thought I’d have to worry about my salads.

    Gene Stevens wrote on February 13th, 2013
  36. What can orally I take to neutralize hydrogen peroxide to stop greying hair?

    David wrote on October 2nd, 2014
    • Catalase is an enzyme that neutralizes H2O2. You can buy catalase supplements, but I have not tried it for grey hair. Let us know if you do , and it works!

      Kathryn wrote on October 4th, 2014

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