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There’s probably a bottle of it in your medicine cabinet or under the kitchen sink right now, and you might not even realize it is there. Hydrogen Peroxide is just one of those things that people seem to always keep around the house because, not only had their grandparents done so, but because it has countless uses, some of which you might not even realize.

However, if you haven’t a bottle or two of this helpful substance in your cache of emergency supplies, you might want to stock up on it because it can easily replace some of your more expensive supplies.

Though hydrogen peroxide can be found in nature—honey and rainwater both contain hydrogen peroxide—it isn’t a substance you can easily (or safely) create on your own. The equipment to create it much more expensive than the substance itself, so you’re not going to be able to replicate it in a long-term survival situation if you don’t already have it. The point is to make sure you don’t run out of it when you need it most.

Emily Thacker, in The Magic of Hydrogen Peroxide, writes: “Our grandmothers knew so many helpful uses for hydrogen peroxide. They wiped down counter tops and sterilized cutting tools, cleansed cuts and scrapes, and disinfected household items. As word traveled of it amazing versatility, everyone from health-care professionals to beauty consultants began finding new and fantastic uses for this wonderful household product.”

French scientist Louis Jacques Thernard first identified and isolated hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in 1818 by accident. He was involved in creating barium peroxide by burning barium salts and noticed that a byproduct of his experiment was hydrogen peroxide. It took many years to perfect the formula, and not until 1894 was 100 percent hydrogen peroxide isolated by Richard Wolffenstein.

There are many different concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, but the pure 100 percent H2O2 is a highly volatile substance still used as a rocket fuel. The X-15, for example, a ship used by the U.S. Air Force in the 1960s to experiment with high altitudes, one that still holds the record for the highest speed ever reached by a manned aircraft (4,520 mph) used pure hydrogen peroxide to power the fuel pump.

The fuel pump of this experimental aircraft from the 1960s is powered by hydrogen peroxide.

The fuel pump of this experimental aircraft from the 1960s is powered by hydrogen peroxide.

But the most commonly available household form is the three percent concentration that you see in the brown bottles at your local store. There is also a 35 percent “food grade” hydrogen peroxide, which is used to sanitize equipment that is used to prepare food, while other grades include chemical, industrial, and highly explosive military grades that are not generally available and are unsafe for common use.

Note of caution: Though there have been many successful experiments involving the injection of hydrogen peroxide into patients with diseases such as HIV or cancer, you should never drink it, ever. It is a poison and will readily kill healthy cells as easily as it might destroy bacteria and diseased cells.

Wound Care

Three percent hydrogen peroxide can be used for cleaning wounds and removing dead tissue. It can be used to stop a small wound from bleeding.

Catalase is an enzyme found in all living things that are exposed to oxygen, such as this potato. It reacts with the hydrogen peroxide in a similar manner as it would to a cut, by bubbling. This bubbling action is what removes bacteria from the wound.

Catalase is an enzyme found in all living things that are exposed to oxygen, such as this potato. It reacts with the hydrogen peroxide in a similar manner as it would to a cut, by bubbling. This bubbling action is what removes bacteria from the wound.

Infections

Soak any infections or cuts in three percent for five to 10 minutes several times a day. Even gangrene has been healed by soaking in hydrogen peroxide. Put half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your bath to help rid your skin of boils, fungus or other skin infections.

Mouthwash

Take one capful (the little white cap that comes with the bottle) and hold in your mouth for 10 minutes daily, then spit it out. If you have a toothache and cannot get to a dentist right away, put a capful of three percent hydrogen peroxide into your mouth and hold it for 10 minutes several times a day.

Foot Fungus

To cure a foot fungus, simply spray a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water on them (especially the toes) every night and let dry.

Mites and Ticks

People infected by mites and ticks should spray hydrogen peroxide on their skin to get rid of mites and ticks.

Toothpaste and Toothbrush

Mixed with baking soda, hydrogen peroxide makes a cheap and effective toothpaste.

Mixed with baking soda, hydrogen peroxide makes a cheap and effective toothpaste.

Add enough three percent hydrogen peroxide to baking soda to make a toothpaste. Also, simply dip your brush in three percent hydrogen peroxide and brush. Soak your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide to keep them free of germs.

Tooth Whitening

A positive side effect of using hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash is that the oxidation properties of it work as a tooth whitener. NOTE: Do not swallow it. When finished rinsing with hydrogen peroxide, be sure to rinse out your mouth with water.

Sanitizes Surfaces

Clean your counters and table tops with hydrogen peroxide to kill germs and leave a fresh smell. Simply put a little on a dishrag or spray it directly on the counters. Use hydrogen peroxide to clean glass and mirrors with no smearing. Also use a bottle of vinegar and a bottle of hydrogen peroxide together (keep the liquids separate). When they mix on the surface, the chemical action of the two make a very powerful sanitizer. Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide kills virtually all Salmonella, Shigella, and E. coli bacteria on heavily contaminated surfaces.

In the Dishwasher

Add 2 ounces of three percent hydrogen peroxide to your dishwashing detergent to remove bacteria left over after the wash cycle.

Mold

Mold can cause severe illness, so clean with hydrogen peroxide, especially areas that have water damage.

Washing/Laundry

Add a cup of hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach to a load of whites in your laundry to whiten them.

Stain Remover

Although it might bleach and/or discolor some fabrics, three percent hydrogen peroxide is a great stain remover. Use cold water and soap to remove the peroxide-treated blood.

Vegetable Soak

Add 1/4 cup of three percent hydrogen peroxide to a full sink of cold water to kill bacteria and remove pesticides. Soak light-skinned vegetables (like lettuce and tomatoes) for about 20 minutes, while thicker-skinned vegetables (like cucumbers and carrots) for about 30 minutes.

Meat Sanitizing

You can also use hydrogen peroxide to rinse off your meat before cooking.

 

Grades of Hydrogen Peroxide

A) 3. 5% Pharmaceutical Grade: This is the grade sold at your local drugstore or supermarket. This product is not recommended for internal use. It contains an assortment of chemicals that shouldn’t be ingested.

B) 6% Beautician Grade: This is used in beauty shops to color hair.

C) 30% Reagent Grade: This is used for various scientific experimentation and also contains stabilizers.

D) 30% to 32% Electronic Grade: This is used to clean electronic parts and is not for personal use.

E) 35% Food Grade: This is used in the production of foods like cheese, eggs, and whey-containing products. It is also sprayed on the foil lining of aseptic packages containing fruit juices and milk products.

F) 90%+: This is used as an oxygen source for rocket fuel.