There are so many uses for hydrogen peroxide—especially as a home cleaning solution. Right up there with other eco-friendly scrubbers such as baking soda and white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide is a must-have for any home’s green cleaning arsenal.
It’s a powerful and natural disinfectant, ideal for cleaning many common household surfaces, plus it can whiten some fabrics.
“It’s way safer to use than bleach because it does not have the same chemical qualities that irritate eyes, lungs, nose, and skin,” says Jane Wilson from Fantastic Cleaners in Melbourne, Australia.
This hydrogen solution is also nontoxic, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial. It does a dynamo job at killing bacteria, germs, mildew, and foul odor. And you can swish with peroxide to fight bad breath (and you may notice some teeth whitening as your chompers can get a slight bleaching at the same time). And a few drops of this peroxide powerhouse can also combat ear infections and earwax buildup.
That’s not too shabby for an over-the-counter product that you can pick up from your local pharmacy.
How to use hydrogen peroxide at home
So can hydrogen peroxide be used on anything in the home? It’s safe to use on most nonporous surfaces such as tile or stainless steel, and many people use it to disinfect surfaces, whiten fabrics (it works like bleach), and remove stains from light-colored upholstery and carpet.
To enhance hydrogen peroxide’s seemingly magical cleaning powers, you can combine it with other inexpensive ingredients such as baking soda or lemon juice to tackle tricky cleaning problems from dirty windows to hard-water buildup.
But beware: Peroxide should never be mixed in the same container with vinegar. Combining these two ingredients will create peracetic acid, which can be highly corrosive. You don’t want this.
Messes happen, but here are 10 different ways hydrogen peroxide has you covered.
1. Use hydrogen peroxide to remove stubborn bathroom dirt
From hard-water stains to that grimy ring around your toilet bowl, a paste made of hydrogen peroxide and cream of tartar (a type of baking powder) will liberate your bathroom from filth. Tough stains may require several applications. It’s worth it, though.
2. Bust rust and rust stains
Clean caked-on bits of rust on metal, or remove rust stains from hard surfaces. For easy application, pick up hydrogen peroxide sold in a spray bottle and apply a light coat. Afterward, scrub the rusted area with steel wool. If you are concerned about scratches, grab a plastic-bristle brush.
3. Combat moldy tile or grout with peroxide
After cleaning tile or grout with a soapy cleanser and warm water, wipe dry and saturate the area with undiluted hydrogen peroxide. Wait 10 minutes before scrubbing. If you prefer a little grit when cleaning, create a cleaning paste by combining equal parts hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. You can also spray hydrogen peroxide on your shower curtain.
4. Use hydrogen peroxide to zap carpet stains
Next time you spill, leave the club soda in the fridge.
“Whether the stain is fresh or set in, it will not stand a chance against hydrogen peroxide,” said Josh Matteson from LULA Home services based in Kansas City, MO. Be sure to do a test spot before applying hydrogen peroxide to any carpet or fabric.
A small amount can go a long way, so do not oversaturate the stain. It is best to dab a little on (or dilute peroxide with a bit of water and then apply) and then wait up to 10 minutes before reapplying.
5. Make windows sparkle—and streak-free
Get this arduous chore done right with a recipe for a homemade cleaner by Natalie Jordan, the window cleaning expert at Fantastic Cleaners: Pour three quarter-cups of hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle, then add a few drops of dish soap. (Tip: For boosted cleaning, use a liquid soap that cuts grease.) Fill the rest of the bottle with water to dilute the mixture, and gently shake.
Spray the hydrogen solution on your windows, letting it soak for several minutes before wiping the windows with a clean microfiber cloth.
“If your windows are heavily soiled, you may need to repeat the cleaning process,” Jordan says.
6. Disinfect kitchenware with peroxide
Get rid of germs and bacteria by spraying dirty items like your dishes or cutting board with hydrogen peroxide. A light coat will disinfect nicely. Afterward, wash the items in the sink or dishwasher.
7. Use hydrogen peroxide to deodorize while disinfecting
Refresh stinky sinks, toilets, and drains with several generous sprays. Let the solution sit for up to 20 minutes before rinsing.
8. Clean and disinfect your enamel pots
Place your dirty pot on the stove and fill it with a half-inch of peroxide and quarter-cup of baking soda. Boil the mixture until it gets foamy, and then turn off the heat. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Once the pot cools, pour the liquid out and scrub.
9. Refresh an old mattress
After vacuuming your mattress, spot clean with this homemade cleaner. Pour equal parts hydrogen peroxide, liquid dish soap, and baking soda in a spray bottle and gently shake. Spray the mixture on any dark marks or blood stains to help bleach or whiten them, and then gently blot with a clean rag or cotton balls. Wait until the mattress is dry before making your bed.
10. Rid dirty sponges of bacteria
Wash the sponge with dish soap and rinse thoroughly. Then soak the sponge for 20 minutes in a mixture of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and hot water to kill bacteria.
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