How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Clean Your Home

by heather

Most people know that when it comes to green cleaning, baking soda, lemons, and vinegar reign supreme. But, how many of you know that hydrogen peroxide also makes an excellent green cleaner?

Yep, hydrogen peroxide isn’t just for the medicine cabinet anymore. The more research I did on this handy green cleaner, the more amazed I was at its usefulness. So, let’s take a look at how using hydrogen peroxide in your home can help keep it clean, help the environment, and help save money.

What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?

First, did you know that hydrogen peroxide is exactly like water, only with one added molecule of oxygen? I was never a whiz at chemistry, so I was surprised to find this out. Its molecular formula is h2o2.

In its strongest form it’s actually a light blue color, and because it has such strong oxidizing properties it’s a great bleach alternative.

Types of Hydrogen Peroxide

There are two different solutions of hydrogen peroxide.

The first is 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide. This solution is heavily oxidized and very strong. There is some controversy on whether or not it should be used for home cleaning. I could not find a reliable source that said, conclusively, that it was safe or not, so please be aware that this might not be a good option.

The other type of hydrogen peroxide is the 3% solution that can be found in any drugstore. For the rest of the article, when hydrogen peroxide is mentioned I’m referring to the traditional 3% solution.

Hydrogen Peroxide for Cleaning

Hydrogen peroxide makes a great cleaner because, like I said already, it works just like bleach but without harming the environment. And, some drugstores will periodically put it on super-sale, so if you can stock up when it’s at discount, even better.

  • Pour hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle and use it as an all-purpose cleaner. It can be used on countertops, sinks, and tubs.
  • You can use one cup of hydrogen peroxide in your wash to brighten up your whites.
  • Half a cup of hydrogen peroxide mixed with one gallon of hot water makes a great mixture for mopping floors.
  • Hydrogen peroxide works great on mold and mildew. Fill a spray bottle with one part hydrogen peroxide and 2 parts water. Spray it on the surface, let it sit for at least ten minutes, and then scrub it off.
  • You can also use hydrogen peroxide in your dishwater. Pour half a cup into the sink when you’re hand washing, and you’ll have cleaner dishes.
  • Pour hydrogen peroxide on your cutting boards after cutting meat or fish. It will kill salmonella and other bacteria.
  • You can safely use hydrogen peroxide to clean toilets if you have a septic system. Mix one part peroxide with one part water, spray on the inside of the toilet bowl, and scrub clean. By the time the hydrogen peroxide gets into your septic, it will be diluted enough to be harmless.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide Around the House

Just when you thought that little brown jar of hydrogen peroxide couldn’t do any more, here’s another list of uses for you.

  • Soak your toothbrushes for a few minutes in hydrogen peroxide to kill the germs in the bristles. Make sure you rinse the brush well before using.
  • You can use hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria and fungus on your fruit and vegetables. Fill a spray bottle with one part peroxide and one part water. Spray thoroughly, and rinse. If you do this right when you get home from the grocery store, your produce will last longer.
  • Keep your sponges free of bacteria by soaking them for ten minutes or more in a shallow dish, using a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. Rinse them out thoroughly, and then let them dry completely before you use them again.
  • If you want to save money on mouthwash, you can use one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide mixed with one cup of water. Swish for one minute, and then spit. Make sure you rinse your mouth out well afterwords. This will help kills germs, as well as help whiten your teeth!

Last Word

I have to admit, I had no idea hydrogen peroxide was such an all-around handy thing to have in the house. I’ve been using the usual “green cleaners”, you know, vinegar, lemon, and baking soda, but I’m definitely going to stock up on h2o2 next time it goes on sale at CVS or Target.small_su_logo.png

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Tatiana November 19, 2008 at 11:29 am

Searched hydrogen peroxide in msn but for some reason found this page.great info February 7, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Another great use is to clean toilets and showers. I put a little bleach in the toilet or shower and then add some hydrogen peroxide. It starts to bubble just a bit as it works to break down the dirt and grime. You don’t even need to scrub.
It’s also great at removing blood from clothing or carpets. My dog had a cut and tracked in blood and it was a miracle cleaner. I put some on the rug and let it soak and then just blot. No scrubbing needed. It’s a wonderful cleaner.
Thank you for sharing with us.

heather February 8, 2010 at 2:38 pm

@LivingFrugalTips- Thanks for those great suggestions!

Judith A. Crommie February 20, 2012 at 10:59 am

My home was flooded in Hurricane Irene. I tried using Hydrogen Peroxide to remove the mold that was present afterwards with outstanding results. I use it with my steam cleaner [not the chemicals that were recommended with it as I am sensitive to alot of chemicals], and there were no odors, no residual on my floors, or walls. The mold [Black and green types] were gone!! The pet stains were gone!!
I use the 3% Hydrogen Peroxide and no longer have to worry about my dogs having residual traces of chemical cleaners on the floors,etc that they may get on their feet,or fur that they may lick off and get sick from.
Chemicals that often say in “small print” **Toxic**: if swallowed, inhaled,Call a Poision Control Center [ or if gotten on your skin-flush with copious amounts of water].
This is such a Blessing to my dogs and I, that I wanted to share this with other pet owners and natural disaster survivors as a great alternative to bleach, detergents, and other chemicals that can harm those we love and ourselves.

Evan February 22, 2014 at 5:03 pm

As I was reading I just wanted to add there is only 1 difference between the 35% stuff and the 3%.

The 3% has a stabilizing ingredient that helps prevent the h2o2 from degrading over time in storage. That stabilizing chemical is not food safe at all.
The 35% h2o2 is self stabilizing and should last Almost indefinitely so long as it’s not contaminated. That’s what makes it food grade.

You can make 3% h2o2 from 35% h2o2 that is food safe and can be used in place of the store bought 3%h2o2 in all cases with tap water. Though it may degrade quickly over time. Use distilled water for long term mixing.

A single protein capable of degrading h2o2 has no limit to how much h2o2 it can process. One skin cell can degrade the whole 35% h2o2 over time.

Price is pretty equal for volume. So the better deal with the 35%. then you can use it on counters and cutting boards without having to wash with water afterwards to get the stabilizer off.
Less shipping weight, less processing, and, other than the free radical oxygens, safe to consume.

I feed it to my plants to keep roots oxygenated. I wash really disgusting laundry with it and baking soda. The machine still works and all the seals look good. It didn’t bleach my black towel when I used a ton of the h2o2 in there. Maybe equal to 4-6 large store bought bottles of 3%. I was just pouring in the 35% for a while. It was noticeably lighter afterwards. But the black towel was still just as black, very clean though.

I only have 5 cleaning products in my house for me and the house. Baking soda, vinegar, dawn, 35%h2o2 and a bar of soap. Baking soda better scrubbing power than all steel wool grits, toothpaste, shampoo, antacid, mouthwash 2nd, laundry detergent. Vinegar, good cleaner, great acidifying agent, laundry detergent*, makes awesome sauces, mouthwash 1st, conditioner. H2o2, need oxygen or disinfecting? Dawn doesn’t even kill grass when dumped right on it and its been used to clean critters after an oil spill. I’m assuming it does more good than harm. I clean my windows and dishes with it.

*vinegar and baking soda in a wash does get blood out, I’ve tried many times now. Fill a load with 1 lb baking soda and let it fill and run for a few minutes then add 2-3 cups of vinegar diluted if possible. The dilution slows down their reaction to longer than the wash. It works great. Chemistry is cool.

That got longer than I was expecting. Have a great day!

Mary March 11, 2014 at 11:32 am

Can hydrogen peroxide and water be a safe alternative in hand wasing dishes instead of using dish soap?

AzSmurfs January 27, 2015 at 7:27 am

For those that are considering keeping some peroxide in a spray bottle, you will need to find a dark colored spray bottle – not the frost plastic or see-through bottles.
Hydrogen peroxide is highly photosensitive.
This means it breaks down very quickly when exposed to light. It should be stored in a dark container. That is why the pharmaceutical formulations typically come in brown bottles that filter out light.
Since I don’t have a dark colored spray bottle, I usually place just what I need into a small clear bottle and use it immediately; then dump out any leftovers when finished cleaning. Hope this helps.

East Side Cleaning August 21, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Be very careful with using hydrogen peroxide on carpets!

It can work wonders to get stains out of carpet but if you put too much/don’t dilute it enough, or have dark or non-white carpets it will change the color of your carpets!

I learnt this the hard way. I had carpets that were near white, but I put too much hydrogen peroxide on the carpets and it discolored them quite a bit. Luckily my carpets were replaced due to another issue, but just a warning to the wise. Test it out on a small hidden area first!

فى الخدمة August 23, 2016 at 9:09 pm

For those that are considering keeping some peroxide in a spray bottle, you will need to find a dark colored spray bottle – not the frost plastic or see-through bottles.
Hydrogen peroxide is highly photosensitive.

Linda Whyte November 2, 2016 at 4:22 am

I only use a clear bottle but keep it in the dark, in a cupboard.

Gloria December 9, 2016 at 4:22 pm

Great tips! Not many people know how useful peroxide can be outside of would care. To me, it’s the ultimate green cleaner; when it breaks down, you’re simply left with water and some oxygen in the air! A couple words of caution, never mix hydrogen peroxide with vinegar, together they create paracetic acid, which is pretty corrosive stuff. Also never mix hydrogen peroxide with bleach, as it releases toxic chlorine gas. As long as you’re careful and aware of what you mix and use, peroxide is fantastic!!

remas December 12, 2016 at 2:32 am
الريماس December 12, 2016 at 2:42 am

Hydrogen [Note 2] is a chemical element with the symbol H has the atomic number 1. Hydrogen is located in the periodic table elements within the first session and over the elements of the first group. In standard conditions of pressure and temperature, the hydrogen is a colorless, odorless gas, flammable, non-toxic, diatomic monovalent him molecular formula H2. More isotopes of hydrogen abundance is protium, which has a 1H code consists of a single proton only without the presence of neutrons in the nucleus.

NewsView June 21, 2017 at 11:45 am

After a porcelain kitchen sink was replaced with a stainless steel version, I was forced to abandon my go-to cleaner Ajax, which contains bleach. Products sold for cleaning stainless steel are more costly than Ajax and generally toxic. One day it hit me to use a combination of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide (3%). This combination will fizz up a bit and quickly lift residue and stains with minimal “elbow grease”. As a side benefit, it also helps deodorize the garbage disposal, too. Provided a diluted form of hydrogen peroxide is used, I would imagine this would be an alternative, also, for people who are on septic systems and need a bleach-free way to clean out their toilets. (Just be prepared for the fizzing action!)

NewsView June 21, 2017 at 1:31 pm

FYI… The following article touches upon the science behind the use of vinegar and peroxide, with the caveat that a lot depends on how much these germ-killing alternatives are diluted or allowed to remain in contact with the surface they are intended to clean. The article clarifies a key issue that a lot of the blogs on green or nontoxic household cleaners do not, which is that vinegar and hydrogen peroxide address different types of germs. Per the article, the only “gold standard” disinfection method is bleach. The good news is, household distilled vinegar and drugstore-strength hydrogen peroxide can be applied in a two-step process — but not combined in the same bottle! — to weaken a broader-spectrum of germs than either one, alone, can accomplish.The method is described on the following website:

Kevin June 23, 2017 at 4:18 pm

I can tell you from first hand experience that 35% food grade hydrogen-peroxide will blister Formica counter tops if left on for too long and will cause chemical burns to your skin. At the same time, several drops of 35% H2O2 (from an eye dropper) is said to have health benefits. That will have to be your own rabbit hole to go down if you choose.

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