Hydrogen Peroxide: The Helpful Tips and Tricks Everyone Should Know
Most of us know hydrogen peroxide as the wound care go-to of our childhood. Who could forget that burning sensation when your mom dabbed it on your cut?
But you might not know that hydrogen peroxide has many uses around the house. Here are the top ways you can use it around your home!
Get Streak-Free Mirrors
Hydrogen peroxide is a great way to achieve sparkling clean mirrors and windows without streaks. All you need to do is spray the glass down with hydrogen peroxide or a peroxide/water combination. Then wipe it with a dry microfiber cloth, paper towel, or rag. Some people also like using old newspaper!
Hydrogen peroxide can be a good choice for any windows that tend to have mold growth. Its natural mold-fighting properties will keep your glass sparkling for weeks, and you don’t need any special materials.
Remove Caked-On Food Crud
There is nothing more annoying than having to scrape off old, burned food waste from your pots and pans — or worse, leaving them to “soak” for an eternity in the sink. Scraping the pan bottom can also scratch the surface, ruining it for good
To remove the caked-on crud, you’ll need a double whammy: baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Mix them together to make a paste and spread it on the pan. Let it sit for a while and then tackle it with warm water and soap.
Get Relief From Canker Sores
Canker sores can be incredibly painful, especially if you are prone to getting them over and over again. They can be irritated or made worse by extra bacteria in the mouth, which is one reason why oral hygiene is important!
Hydrogen peroxide can help relieve some of the pain from a canker sore as well as facilitate healing. You can either swish some in your mouth for a few seconds or dab some on the store using a cotton ball. Just be sure not to swallow any peroxide!
Sanitize Your Retainer
Did you know that your mouth might be home to more than 20 billion bacteria? If you wear a retainer, it’s vital to make sure you clean it regularly to avoid causing tooth decay, bad breath, and other issues.
To do this, reach for your bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Let your retainer soak in a jar of cold water along with a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide and a small pinch of baking soda. These two household staples will kill any nasty bacteria lurking on your retainer and leave it sparkling clean.
Boost Laundry Power
If you’re struggling to get tough stains out of your laundry, don’t reach for the bleach. Instead, use a bit of hydrogen peroxide to boost the efforts of your wash cycle. Just put a cup of peroxide in with white clothing to brighten it.
For tough stains, pour peroxide directly on the stain and massage it with your fingers. Alternatively, let stained clothes soak in warm water mixed with two parts hydrogen peroxide and one part dish liquid to revitalize them and make them look new.
Get Your Bathroom Sparkling
If there are two things that hydrogen peroxide can do, they are removing stains and disinfecting surfaces. That makes it the perfect solution for cleaning those all-important surfaces in your bathroom.
Combine water and hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle in a 1:1 ratio and use it as an all-in-one cleaner for your bathroom. It can clean anything from your mirrors to sinks, floors, tubs, and even toilets. It is also safer and less smelly than substances such as bleach — not to mention much more affordable.
Soothe Your Damaged Skin
If you have dry skin on your feet, you know how painful it can be — and how difficult it can be to treat. Cracked, flaking heels are often from being on your feet a lot, especially if you have to wear constricting shoes for your job.
Start with two cups of hydrogen peroxide and two cups of steaming hot water. Let your feet soak until your skin is soft, then use a pumice stone to remove as much dead skin as you can. It’s an easy and effective at-home pedicure!
Sanitize Your Produce
You probably know that it’s important to wash fruits and vegetables before you eat them, but sometimes, just water isn’t enough. A solution with hydrogen peroxide can help you bring your sanitizing efforts to the next level, and you might be surprised by how much dirt comes off your veggies. Just make sure to use food-grade hydrogen peroxide so you don’t make yourself sick.
Finish things off with a rinse in some white vinegar, which also has sanitizing properties. You’ve never seen vegetables as clean as this!
Get Rid of Rust
Was there ever a tool that was as universal as hydrogen peroxide? It is even a great way to get rid of moderate amounts of rust! It is ideal for things like rusty tools, which you can let soak in a hydrogen peroxide solution.
After letting it soak for about thirty minutes, you might need to finish it up with a scrub with some steel wool or a brush. If you want to make it even more effective, mix the peroxide with borax for ultimate cleaning power.
Clean Your Carpet
Carpets can trap an astonishing amount of dirt, mold, and other grime. Left untreated, this can cause health problems for the people in your home, including allergies and respiratory issues. Meanwhile, cleaning the carpet can be a royal pain.
Luckily, hydrogen peroxide makes it so much easier! Mix one part peroxide with two parts water and spray it over your carpet. Leave it for a few minutes and then use a scrub brush to get it deep into those carpet fibers. You can add a few drops of essential oil, too!
Lighten Your Hair
Who said you need anything special to get some highlights in your hair? Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful lightening agent, and it works on everything from fabric to teeth, fingernails, and, you guessed it — hair!
A daily spritz with a peroxide and water mixture can lighten your hair over time, especially if you spend some time in the sun right afterward. If you’re looking for something more dramatic, spray more solution onto concentrated sections of hair before going outside in the sunshine.
Clean Your Humidifier or Dehumidifier
Humidifiers and dehumidifiers can be great tools to improve the air quality in your house. But because of their intended use, they can be hotspots for mold growth. All that warm, wet air and water trapped in a small compartment can mean mold spores get spewed out, infecting the air in your home.
The good news is that you don’t even have to do anything special to keep them clean — just add a few tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to the tank and let it run.
Get a Dazzling Smile
We’ve mentioned that hydrogen peroxide is great for lifting stains out of clothing and dishes, so it should come as no surprise that it can whiten your teeth, too! In fact, it’s the main ingredient in many of the commercial whitening agents you’ll find in stores.
To get a clean, fresh smile, try swishing a small amount of peroxide in your mouth, taking care not to swallow. Alternatively, you can soak your toothbrush in some hydrogen peroxide before brushing to transfer that whitening power.
Use as Emergency Deodorant
Finding yourself in a stinky situation without any deodorant on hand? Reach for the hydrogen peroxide instead! You can try mixing it with a small amount of dish soap or just dabbing it on your underarms on its own.
Peroxide is great at eating up bacteria, like the kind that causes underarm odor. While you probably want to stick to your regular deodorant on a daily basis, this simple hack can be ideal in an emergency, like when you need to put deodorant on your shopping list.
Swap it For Bleach
Bleach is a household cleaning staple, but it can also be dangerous. If you want a safer alternative to use around kids or pets, or if you dislike breathing in bleach fumes, consider swapping the bleach for hydrogen peroxide.
This safer, cheaper alternative has all of the sanitizing strength without the unpleasant smell or caustic effect on skin. To make it even more effective, combine hydrogen peroxide with lemon juice for a double dose of cleaning power. Your home will be sparkling clean and smell great!
Clean Your Toilet
Cleaning your toilet is a vital but unpleasant task. Luckily, hydrogen peroxide is a great way to make this chore a lot easier and more effective. Not only does the peroxide disinfect and kill bacteria, but it also treats stains, leaving your toilet looking sparkling and new.
All you have to do is spray the peroxide directly on the porcelain. You can even pour some directly into the bowl before scrubbing. It will also kill any bacteria causing a lingering odor and leave your bathroom smelling fresh.
Un-Stink Your Shoes
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: hydrogen peroxide is the king of banishing stinky odors. If your gym shoes are smelling pretty rank, just give them a quick spray with a hydrogen peroxide solution.
Even better, let them dry out in the sun after you apply it for a double bacteria-killing whammy of hydrogen peroxide and natural sunlight.. You’ll be amazed at how fresh they smell when they are dry (though we still don’t recommend sniffing your shoes).
Ease Your Dental Pain
Toothaches can be absolutely unbearable, making you unable to focus on anything else. Though the science is mixed, many people swear by soaking a cotton ball in hydrogen peroxide and holding it against the painful tooth for about five minutes. Alternatively, swish it around in your mouth.
Of course, using a home remedy should never replace visiting a dentist and getting professional care, but it is a good way to get some relief in the short term. It may keep you sane until the dentist office opens, at least!
Sponges exist to wipe away all the germs and crud from used dishes, so it should come as no surprise that they are havens for all kinds of bacteria. To keep them clean, give them the occasional spray or soak in a hydrogen peroxide solution.
This will kill off the majority of harmful bacteria and make them more effective at keeping your dishes clean. It can also extend the life of your sponges, since you won’t have to replace them as often!
Clean Your Ears
We’ve all been told time and again not to stick Q-tips in our ears, but it can be so tempting when you have too much waxy buildup! If your ears are feeling gunky and you’re itching to reach for the cotton buds, grab some hydrogen peroxide instead.
Just put a few drops in your ear canal and hold still for about five minutes to let it work its magic. Then use a towel or a tissue to wipe away any fluids that remain. It’s easier and safer than Q-tips!
Boost Your Dishwashing Power
If you have to rinse dishes frequently before putting them in the dishwasher, or if you notice caked-on food after running a cycle, your dish detergent alone might not be enough. The good news is that you don’t need new detergent or to spend hundreds on a new machine.
Just add a small amount of hydrogen peroxide before running a dish cycle. Your dishes will be clean, fresh, and free of all the caked-on grime that you’ve gotten used to.
Get Rid of Mold
Hydrogen peroxide isn’t just great for sanitizing. It is also an effective mold killer, which is good news for us all! Left unchecked, mold can cause serious issues in your home by spreading spores through the air and causing damage.
For regular, non-toxic mold, just spritz with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide mixed with water. The peroxide will kill off the spores and prevent more from developing. It is an easy, affordable way to make sure your home stays safe and clean!
Protect Your Plants
Whether you’re a gardener or just love your houseplants, hydrogen peroxide is a great tool to keep on hand. It can function as a two-in-one pesticide and fungicide, repelling harmful critters and spores that will damage or sicken your plants.
All you need to do is give the leaves and stems a quick spritz of water and hydrogen peroxide to keep them safe and healthy. You will need a full spray bottle of water and just a few tablespoons of peroxide to do the trick.
Improve Your Bad Breath
Hydrogen peroxide is a pro at killing bacteria, so it should come as no surprise that it’s a great tool for banishing bad breath! Halitosis is often caused by excess bacteria in your mouth, which is why hydrogen peroxide is the original DIY mouthwash.
If your breath is a bit stinky, just swish a small amount of peroxide in your mouth for about thirty seconds. Make sure to spit instead of swallow or you will risk making yourself sick! You can also dip your toothbrush in peroxide and then brush.
Clean Your Contacts
If you wear contacts, you know how vital it is to keep them clean. Dirty lenses can harbor all kinds of bacteria, increasing your risk of damage to your eye, infections, and even blindness.
Most commercial lens solutions use hydrogen peroxide as their main ingredient, and you can use the same in a pinch. Let your contacts soak in a solution of peroxide and water and they will be clean and ready to go, with no worries of harming your vision or eye health.
Wipe Down Toys
As cute as they are, kids are still learning the concepts of germs and hygiene. Babies are prone to putting everything in their mouth, which increases their risk of getting sick.
For a safe way to keep germs off your children’s toys, give them a regular wipe-down with a paper towel or rag soaked in hydrogen peroxide, or spray with a peroxide solution. This is safe to have around kids and pets and, most importantly, will get rid of all that harmful bacteria that spreads illness.
Keep Cuts Clean
Most of us first experienced hydrogen peroxide as our parents’ go-to for cleaning wounds. While some more recent studies have shown that using it on big cuts may cause tissue damage and impede effective healing, it’s likely okay to use on minor wounds.
Just dab a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on the wound or even on the bandage to clean out any harmful bacteria. This will also reduce the risk of infection — even though it can burn a bit in the process!
Bid Pimples Begone
Hydrogen peroxide is the ultimate bacteria killer, which means it can be an effective treatment for pimples. Many people use it as a simple toner. Just soak a cotton ball in peroxide and dab it on your face where you’re experiencing a breakout.
Alternatively, you can wipe it over your whole face after washing and patting dry. Just make sure to go easy, or you may attack the healthy bacteria your skin needs to thrive — and that can just cause future breakouts!
Keep Your Dog Safe
Hydrogen peroxide can even be used in some instances to save your dog’s life. If your pup has swallowed something poisonous, you can give them a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting.
There are a few important caveats — you need to use a three percent or less hydrogen peroxide solution and administer one teaspoon for every five pounds of weight. Don’t ever give your dog more than three full tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, and always check in with your vet!
Clean Your Makeup Brushes
Makeup brushes can trap a truly horrifying amount of bacteria, gathering dirt, oil, and even mold spores. Unfortunately, using a dirty makeup brush can spread this bacteria around your skin, causing acne breakouts, irritation, and even infection.
It’s vital to clean your makeup brushes about once a month. Put a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide in a bowl of warm water and let your brushes soak for ten minutes, then rinse with cold water. Your brushes will be safe, healthy, and effective in no time at all!
Lighten Yellowing Nails
If your nails have a tendency to turn yellow, you might feel frustrated. Yellowing nails can happen because of working with certain materials like dye, or as an indication of diet or health. Regardless, hydrogen peroxide is a great tool to fix them.
There’s no special trick, either — all you have to do is wipe your nails with a cotton ball soaked in peroxide. You will have whiter, brighter nails in no time! It is also a great way to remove old, hardened nail polish.
Soothe a Cold
The science is mixed, but there are many people who swear by hydrogen peroxide as a remedy for treating a cold! And as long as you’re acting safely, there is no reason why you can’t try a home remedy like this.
If you’re feeling cruddy, you can add a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to a diffuser or humidifier (in a one-to-eight ratio with water). Alternatively, try swabbing your nose or mouth with some peroxide to kill an amount of harmful bacteria.
Wipe Out Lunch Boxes and Coolers
As every parent of a school-age kid will tell you, lunch boxes are havens for bacteria. Spills and hot lockers can cause lunch boxes and coolers to get sticky and smelly, making you groan as you contemplate packing your kid’s lunch.
The good news is that hydrogen peroxide is excellent at sanitizing these compartments, reducing odor and bacteria. Just give the box a quick spritz or wipe it down with a rag soaked with hydrogen peroxide solution. It also works great for camping coolers!
Defunk Your Towels
Fabric is great at trapping odors, even if it’s fabric that you wash on a regular basis. If your bath towels are smelling funky, grab some hydrogen peroxide.
All you have to do is throw a small amount in with your next wash load, and you will be amazed at how clean it smells when you take it out. No more sour or mildewy smell. What’s more, this hack is killing two birds with one stone, since you’ll also sanitize your washing machine!
Clean The Air in Your Home
We’ve talked about how hydrogen peroxide is highly effective at killing mold, and that goes for killing mold in the air, too! To clean your home’s air, add a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to a diffuser or humidifier, in a one-to-eight ratio (one part peroxide to eight parts water).
It will clean your air and make your home smell fresh and clean! Bear in mind that you shouldn’t diffuse undiluted hydrogen peroxide, which can make you sick and cause breathing problems.
If you have grout in your bathroom or kitchen, you might notice it becoming discolored. This is because of mold and bacteria gathering in the cracks between tiles. A scrub with some hydrogen peroxide can revitalize your grout, removing the hidden bits of fungus and crud causing discoloration.
It is amazing to see how different your floors and walls look with cleaner grout! Make sure you also use an effective grout brush. These usually have metal teeth that are great for gripping in small spaces.
Treat Your Foot Fungus
We keep saying that hydrogen peroxide is amazing at killing bacteria and fungus, and guess what? That even applies to fungus that attacks the skin, such as the one that causes athlete’s foot! If your feet are itchy and smelly, try a soak in a hydrogen peroxide solution.
You can also apply it directly to your feet using a cotton ball, but bear in mind that it might sting a bit! This will kill surface bacteria, relieving itching and reducing some of the odor, too.
Keep Your Cutting Boards Clean
If you have a cutting board that you usually use for cutting meat, it’s important to keep it as clean as possible. Bacteria can get trapped in knife cuts on a board, and when it comes to raw meat, you don’t want to mess around.
Washing is great, but it’s not always enough on its own. To make sure your food prep surfaces are pristine, give them a quick wipe down with some hydrogen peroxide before putting them in the dishwasher.