13 Household Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

You might be surprised to find that hydrogen peroxide isn’t recommended for treating minor cuts and scrapes. Instead of tossing this first-aid staple, start putting it to good use with these other household uses.

clean cutting board

Use hydrogen peroxide to kill potentially harmful bacteria on cutting boards.

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Break out the bubbly—this household staple (usually sold at a 3 percent concentration and used further diluted in water) has many uses around the home. You might be surprised to learn that hydrogen peroxide is not recommended for use on cuts and scrapes by many doctors (it can inhibit healing), but this disinfecting, cheap and easy-to-find household staple has many other excellent uses. Note: Hydrogen peroxide becomes inert if exposed to light or air, so it’s important to store it in an opaque, dark-colored bottle with a lid.

1. Sponge Sterilizer: Combine half water and half hydrogen peroxide in a bowl, then soak a dirty sponge for 10 minutes before rinsing.

2. Neat Nails: First trim and file nails. Next, fill a bowl with warm water and add 15 drops of almond, avocado or olive oil; soak fingertips for 10 minutes. Dry hands, then wipe nails with a hydrogen peroxide-soaked cotton ball to whiten. Add a drop of oil to each cuticle and massage it in.

3. Sink Sparkler: Get a stained white sink sparkling again by spraying hydrogen peroxide in the sink, then allowing it to sit for 30 minutes or more. Scrub, then rinse.

4. Grout Cleaner: After cleaning your tub, whiten any dingy grout by spritzing it with hydrogen peroxide. After it has bubbled for 10 minutes, scrub with a toothbrush and rinse.

5. Make Your Bowl Glow: Pour hydrogen peroxide directly into the toilet bowl, and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes to disinfect and bleach stains. Scrub clean with a toilet brush.

6. Air Purifier: Combine 1 pint hydrogen peroxide with 1 gallon water and pour it into your humidifier to clean the machine from the inside out.

7. Underarm-Stain Lifter: To erase underarm stains, combine one part castile soap and two parts hydrogen peroxide, apply to the stains, then let sit for one hour. Rinse in cold water, then run through the washing machine.

8. Bleach Alternative: Replace chlorine bleach—its manufacture releases toxic dioxins into the environment—with hydrogen peroxide. Simply soak light-colored laundry in hydrogen peroxide, rinse in cold water, then run it through the washing machine.

9. Stain Breaker: Attack tough blood or red wine stains in clothing by pouring the hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain, then rinsing in cold water. Hydrogen peroxide is a mild bleaching agent, so use this trick on light-colored clothing and/or test on a small patch first.

10. Smile Enhancer: To whiten teeth, mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to form a paste. Brush normally and use daily for a brighter smile.

11 Mouthwash Magic: Dilute hydrogen peroxide in water (about half and half) and use as a mouthwash. Swish the mixture in your mouth to whiten teeth and kill bacteria, but be very careful not to swallow any.

12. Fresh and Clean: Bacteria can flourish on makeup brushes and sponges. To sterilize yours, add castile soap to warm water and soak brushes, tweezers and sharpeners. Rinse in cold water, then dunk in a half hydrogen peroxide/half water solution. Soak for 10 minutes, then immerse brushes in a cold water bath for 10 minutes. Remove and dry on a clean, dry cloth.

13. Cutting Board Cleaner: To sanitize cutting boards, spray hydrogen peroxide (in an opaque spray bottle) onto boards, allow it to bubble for a few minutes, then rinse and wash with soap and water.