5 Unusual Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

Posted on August 11, 2010 by Courtney

We’ve written before about the wondrous powers of baking soda here at The Greenists, but here’s another cheap, easy-to-find substance with all kinds of uses: hydrogen peroxide. When I was a kid, my mom used hydrogen peroxide to bubble away the germs after I skinned my knee or got into a rambunctious fight with my brother that ended up bloody. Little did I know that hydrogen peroxide can be used for all sorts of things around the house, even when one is too old to be roughhousing with her brother anymore.

Why buy expensive products when you can get the same job done with a $2 bottle of hydrogen peroxide that you can find at any grocery or drugstore? It’s cheap, it’s effective, and it involves less packaging — win/win/win.

1. Use it in place of bleach. Did you spill spaghetti sauce all over your favorite white shirt again? Instead of bleaching it, add half a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your next load of whites, and that stain will come right out. Just be sure you’ve got all whites in that load, because this stuff REALLY bleaches. It’ll even get out blood stains.

2. Make your bathtub grout white again. A while ago I noticed the grout in my bathtub was slowly starting to turn … well, let’s just say not white. My regular all-purpose cleaning spray wasn’t doing the trick, so I simply poured some hydrogen peroxide on the grout and let it sit for a while. When I checked on it after an hour or two, the mildew had all bubbled away, and my grout was gleaming white once again.

3. Whiten your teeth. Instead of buying mouthwash, pour one teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide into your mouth and swish for about five minutes every day. It’ll kill the bacteria growing in your mouth that lead to tooth discoloration. Be prepared for the peroxide to bubble, so it will feel a little weird, and be sure not to swallow it.

4. Help out your plants. Add a little hydrogen peroxide to your spray bottle the next time you’re watering plants, and it’ll help keep things healthy and green. This site has a helpful chart to help you figure out what the radio of peroxide to water should be, depending on what kind of plants you have. (Fun fact: Hydrogen peroxide actually makes up a small percentage of natural rain. When water evaporates, some molecules pick up an extra oxygen atom, making them H2O2, also known as hydrogen peroxide. So when the rain falls, a little H2O2 falls with it, making it nature’s cleaning system. Cool, huh?)

5. Keep your ears clean. Yeah, it’s gross, but we all get waxy buildups in our ears. Put two or three drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear and let it sit for a few minutes (or as long as you can keep your head tilted to the side without straining your neck too much.) Then flush out your ear carefully with warm water and dry it with a soft cloth.

What do you use hydrogen peroxide for?

7 Comments +

  1. I need to invest in some hydrogen peroxide. My grout could use a little whitening too.

    August 11th, 2010 at 9:41 am
    Comment by The Modern Gal
  2. Cat trick. When there is an accident, hydrogen peroxide can go right on the carpet. Test a spot first, but I’ve never had it bleach it. The bubbling action “eats” the enzymes that create the lingering smell and make them want to go to the bathroom there again. Works like a charm.

    August 11th, 2010 at 10:28 am
    Comment by k8
  3. I’ve bought borax and vinegar and baking soda for household stuff; why do I always forget about hydrogen peroxide? I’ll have to pick up a bottle and try it on some whites. Nothing else works on the dingiest and oldest of them; hydrogen peroxide is worth a try!

    August 11th, 2010 at 10:34 pm
    Comment by stefanie
  4. I use food grade peroxide from the health food store (diluted) to soak anything I’m going to eat raw. Also, grapefruit seed extract is great too.

    August 18th, 2010 at 11:17 pm
    Comment by MJ
  5. Oh, and I also soak my toothbrush in it to disinfect it….

    August 18th, 2010 at 11:19 pm
    Comment by MJ
  6. I use HP to get rid of canker sores in my mouth. Just swish around and then let the air at it while the HP bubbles up. Can sting a bit, but it does the trick. Works for burnt tongue too…

    August 24th, 2010 at 11:43 am
    Comment by liberace
  7. [...] sink in the first place, so I did a quick search of The Greenists archives and remembered. It was this post, written by Courtney a year and a half ago already. Have I tried a single one of those five unusual [...]

    February 16th, 2012 at 12:02 am
    Pingback by The Baking Soda and PeroxideTrick

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Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

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According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.


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