Hydrogen Peroxide: How to Use It Properly – Cleveland Clinic

Video Hydrogen peroxide what is it

Who can forget the stinging sensation that occurs when your parents put hydrogen peroxide on a scraped knee?

Found in a brown bottle, hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic liquid that in the past was typically used to treat cuts or other skin wounds and kill germs. however, peroxide is often used in non-medical situations, including cleaning, disinfecting, and stain removal.

In fact, hydrogen peroxide has many uses, some of them surprising. family medicine doctor sarah pickering beer, md, explains why it’s helpful to have hydrogen peroxide nearby.

what is hydrogen peroxide?

hydrogen peroxide is water (h2o) with an extra oxygen molecule (h2o2).

“The extra oxygen molecule is oxidized, and that’s how peroxide gets its power,” says dr. beers “this oxidation kills germs and whitens the color of porous surfaces such as fabrics.”

When using peroxide, opt for medical-grade peroxide, which has a 3% concentration. that means it’s 97% water and 3% peroxide. “medical grade is strong enough for home use,” says dr. beers.

You can also purchase a more concentrated form of hydrogen peroxide, called food-grade peroxide, with concentrations up to 35%. it’s called “food grade” because it is used by the food industry for various purposes, such as processing and whitening certain foods.

however, dr. beers says to skip.

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“Food-grade peroxide can be toxic if inhaled or if it comes in contact with your skin. and that high resistance is not necessary to clean and disinfect.”

when not to use hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can be used everywhere, from the kitchen to the bathroom. but keep it away from wounds and acne.

do not use hydrogen peroxide on wounds

It’s time to remove the peroxide from the first aid task. let us all breathe a collective sigh of relief.

“hydrogen peroxide has fallen out of favor as a wound cleanser,” says dr. beers says. “Studies have found that it irritates the skin. it can prevent the wound from healing, doing more harm than good.”

so what do you use on a scrape or cut? “all you need is a good wash with soap and lots of clean water,” says dr. beers says. After washing, dry it with a clean towel. then apply an antibiotic ointment and cover with a bandage.

Seek medical attention for larger wounds and cuts, excessive bleeding, or if debris is stuck in the wound.

don’t put hydrogen peroxide on acne

peroxide kills germs and you may have acne treatments that contain benzoyl peroxide. but hydrogen peroxide and benzoyl peroxide are not the same thing. don’t use hydrogen peroxide for acne.

like dr. beers explains, “hydrogen peroxide can be irritating, which can make acne worse. and dissolves in water. so the germ-killing effects don’t last long on the skin.” benzoyl peroxide forms a film on the skin so it can penetrate the pore and continue to fight acne bacteria for several hours.

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Use products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid for breakouts. If breakouts still don’t increase, see your doctor.

ways to use hydrogen peroxide

get ready for the wonderful world of h2o2: you can use hydrogen peroxide to:


Moves peroxide from the medicine cabinet to the cleaning kit. It’s a great alternative to bleach and won’t make your house smell like a pool.

use peroxide in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves. “there is a potential for toxicity if you inhale it, and it can irritate the skin and eyes,” says dr. beers says.

To disinfect, first clean any visible dirt or grime from the area with plain soap and water. then spray surfaces with a 50/50 mix of developer and water. let it sit for five minutes or more. rinse surfaces that touch food, like cutting boards, but allow other surfaces to air dry.

hydrogen peroxide is a great germ killer for:

  • bathtubs, sinks and showers.
  • counters.
  • cutting boards.
  • doorknobs.
  • garbage bins.
  • mirrors.
  • refrigerators.
  • toilets.
  • toys.
  • “peroxide kills bacteria, fungi, and viruses,” says dr. beers explains. “can be helpful if you don’t have disinfectant wipes or bleach. just be careful not to stain your clothes or furniture, or you may discolor them.”

    wash products

    Looking for an affordable and effective way to remove germs and pesticides from fruits and vegetables? peroxide can do the job.

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    Fill a large container or clean sink with water and add a quarter cup of peroxide. wash the products in the peroxide and water mixture, rinse well with clean water and dry. Bonus: cleaning your product with peroxide could extend its life.

    do not attempt this cleaning method with household disinfectant sprays or wipes. they contain chemicals that are not safe to use in food.

    remove household stains

    peroxide has great whitening power, which makes it an effective stain remover. but don’t use it on color items. and always test it first in a hidden area.

    Here are some ways peroxide removes pesky stains and blemishes:

    • Bleaches the carpet: If you have white or off-white carpet, spray peroxide directly onto the carpet stains. rub lightly with a clean cloth.
    • removes stains from clothing: Soak white or off-white clothing in a bucket of water mixed with 1 cup peroxide for 30 minutes. You can also add peroxide directly to the bleach compartment of your washing machine. warning: do not try this on colored fabrics or vintage clothing!
    • Tile grout shines: Spray peroxide directly onto the grout and let it sit for several minutes. scrub with a stiff cleaning brush. repeat if necessary.
    • makes ceramic cookware shine: spray pots and pans with baking soda and spray with peroxide. let them sit for 10 minutes, rinse and dry.
    • beauty tools and clean nails

      Peroxide is not a skin care product, but it is found in certain common items, such as whitening toothpaste or mouthwash. “peroxide is also an ingredient in many tooth whiteners,” says dr. beers however, talk to your dentist before using whitening products as they can cause tooth sensitivity.

      you can also use it to:

      • Disinfect nail care and beauty tools: Use peroxide to clean nail clippers, tweezers, and eyelash curlers.
      • fix stained nails: did that trendy black nail polish leave you with unsightly smudges on your nails? Pour a bowl of warm water, add 3 tablespoons of peroxide and soak your nails for three minutes.
      • make a mouthwash: gargle with diluted peroxide to kill everyday germs in the mouth, or buy a mouthwash that contains peroxide (and it probably tastes better). don’t swallow it! stop using if you notice mouth irritation.
      • Keep your toothbrush clean: Limited research supports this use, but you can clean your toothbrush by soaking it in peroxide for five minutes to kill germs, then rinsing it well with water. if you choose this method, be sure to change your peroxide daily and be sure to replace your toothbrush at least every six months.
      • how to store hydrogen peroxide safely and properly

        Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical. can cause serious side effects if ingested. store it in a locked cabinet out of reach of children and pets.

        Before using peroxide, check the expiration date. “The extra oxygen breaks down over time,” says dr. beers says. “Once it loses its bubbles, you basically have water left.” keep peroxide in its original brown bottle or a dark spray bottle to avoid exposing it to light. if it no longer foams, throw it down the sink and buy a new bottle.

        and rest easy knowing you’ll never have to endure their stinging booing ever again.

Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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