17 Uses For Hydrogen Peroxide

hydrogen peroxide

META: Our guide to the many ways you can use hydrogen peroxide for your health and household. Some of them may surprise you.

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    First Aid

Most people keep a bottle of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide in their bathroom cabinet for first aid purposes. Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant, so it prevents infection in minor cuts and burns. Just apply a small amount to the wound, let it air-dry, and then wrap it in a bandage.


Hydrogen peroxide has many uses in your beauty routine, including:

  • Hair bleaching: After washing and conditioning your hair, let it air dry. Fill a spray bottle with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, and then spray your hair until it’s saturated. Put on a shower cap and wait 30 minutes for your hair to process, then thoroughly wash your hair.
  • Nail whitening: If your nails are stained, you can soak them in a mixture of ½ cup hot water with one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide and one tablespoon of baking soda until the stains disappear. Make sure you thoroughly wash your hands afterward.
  • Deodorant: Though hydrogen peroxide doesn’t work as an antiperspirant, it does kill the germs in your sweat that cause body odor. If you’re sick of the chemicals in commercial deodorant, try dabbing or spraying 3 percent hydrogen peroxide under your arms instead.
  • Contact lens cleaner: Many contact lens cleaners contain hydrogen peroxide. If you create your own hydrogen peroxide lens cleaner, you must combine it with a neutralizer. Otherwise, it will burn your eyes.

     Oral Hygiene

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Hydrogen peroxide is the main ingredient in most commercial whitening toothpastes. You can also rinse your mouth with a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and distilled water to kill germs, whiten teeth, and freshen your breath.

      Skin Care

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Since hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant, it kills the bacteria on your skin. That’s why many prescription acne medications contain hydrogen peroxide as an active ingredient. Always use 1 percent hydrogen peroxide if it will come into contact with your skin, or dilute 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with water.

Hydrogen peroxide also softens corns and calluses, kills foot fungus and sub-dermal parasites, and soothes dry skin. Just add a few tablespoons to a bath of hot water and soak the affected skin.


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Hydrogen peroxide kills a lot of the bacteria found in your average bathroom. You can whiten grout, clean tiles, remove soap scum, clean toilet bowls, wash shower curtains, and clean glass surfaces with a spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Just spray it on the dirty area, let it sit long enough to bubble up, and then wash off.

To disinfect your toothbrushes, soak them in a mix of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water for about 30 minutes.

     Ear Health

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Stop poking in your ears with cotton swabs! Not only is it a dangerous practice, but it also compacts your ear wax and makes it harder to hear. Hydrogen peroxide is a great alternative ear cleaner. To remove ear wax and treat and prevent ear infections, do the following:

  • Lie down on one side, and pour one capful of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide into your ear
  • Leave it in for about 20 minutes, while continuing to lie down
  • You should hear a lot of fizzing and popping noises in your ear, which means the hydrogen peroxide is breaking down your ear wax
  • After 20 minutes, stand up and tilt your head to let the hydrogen peroxide drain out. Use a towel or bowl to catch it
  • Repeat in the other ear


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A spray bottle full of hydrogen peroxide can clean and disinfect all of your kitchen surfaces, including countertops, floors, and appliances. Just make sure you wipe away the hydrogen peroxide with water when you’re finished.

To disinfect your sponges, dishrags, and cutting boards, fill a bucket with a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and warm water. Soak for at least 20 minutes.

A paste of hydrogen peroxide mixed with baking soda is great for removing tough, caked-on messes from dishes. For best results, you should soak the dishes in the same mix of hydrogen peroxide and warm water as your sponges and cutting boards first.


Hydrogen peroxide is excellent for removing phlegm and mucus build up in your mouth and throat during an upper-respiratory infection. Mix 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with an equal amount of water, and swish it around in your mouth for a minute or so. Use the mouth rinse up to four times a day after meals and at bedtime for best results.

Hydrogen peroxide naturally occurs in our body, and for women, it plays an essential role in vaginal health, killing yeast and other infections. To treat a yeast infection with hydrogen peroxide, mix one teaspoon of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with one cup of water, and use it as a douche once a day.


Hydrogen peroxide is a great stain remover that’s easier on your clothing and your skin than bleach. To brighten up your white cloths, try adding a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your washer in the bleach compartment.

You can also pre-treat a stain with a little bit of hydrogen peroxide before you wash it.

   Oral Health

If you ever have a toothache but have to wait a while to see the dentist, you can use hydrogen peroxide to ease the pain. Just soak the affected tooth in 3 percent hydrogen peroxide for several minutes, then spit it out and rinse your mouth with water.

A mouthwash of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water also kills the bacteria responsible for gum disease (also known as gingivitis).


Did you know that diluted hydrogen peroxide is beneficial for plants? Soaking seeds in a bath of hot (but not boiling) hydrogen peroxide will improve germination and kill some common bacteria that affects young plants.

Once you’ve established your plants in the garden, you can spray them with a mixture of one cup hydrogen peroxide in one gallon of hot water. This will increase plant growth and protect them from pests.

Higher concentrations—above 10 percent—of hydrogen peroxide kill plants, so you can spray weeds with it to kill them and prevent weed growth.

Soaking your compost buckets in a 50/50 mix of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and hot water will disinfect and clean them. Just make sure you rinse them thoroughly afterward, so the hydrogen peroxide doesn’t affect your microorganisms.

    Fabric Care

You can clean your rugs, carpets, and curtains with a mixture of ½ cup hydrogen peroxide in a gallon of hot water. Use it in a spray bottle or add it to your carpet shampooer to kill bacteria, remove stains, and freshen up the fabric.

   Pet Care

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Hydrogen peroxide fights strong pet odors by killing the bacteria that causes it. You can clean any floor with a ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide mixed into a gallon of hot water. Use the mixture with your mop or steam cleaner to erase pet odors, as well as kill mites or fleas that may be hiding in your carpets or fabrics.

Hydrogen peroxide also kills aquarium algae. The next time you clean your aquarium, spray the inside with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. Make sure you rinse the aquarium out thoroughly before adding your pets back in.

If your pet eats something poisonous, your vet or poison control may advise you to induce vomiting. A safe and easy way to do so is to use 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Give your pet one milliliter of hydrogen peroxide per pound of body weight, up to 45 milliliters. Never give your pet more than 45 milliliters, no matter how large they are.


Any concentration of hydrogen peroxide lower than 3 percent is safe for kids, so we recommend soaking their toys in a mixture of ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide in a gallon of water rather than using bleach. Soak the toys for 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

You can use the same hydrogen peroxide and water mixture to disinfect lunchboxes and reusable shopping bags.


Many water purifiers use hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria. We recommend purchasing a commercial water sanitation system, but if you want to build your own, you can find many DIY instructions online.

If you’re unfortunate enough to be sprayed by a skunk while camping or hiking, then you can use hydrogen peroxide to remove the odor. Add a cup or two of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide to your bath water, or soak your camping supplies in a mixture of ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide per gallon of water.

   Fruits and Vegetable

Hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria on fruits and vegetables and keeps them fresh in your refrigerator. Wash your produce in a bucket of cold water with about ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide mixed in, then rinse under running water.

     Miscellaneous Household Cleaning

Some other items you should clean with hydrogen peroxide include mattresses, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, upholstered furniture, and makeup brushes. Just spray or soak them with a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and water.


There are many uses for hydrogen peroxide in your household, and it’s safer for you and your family than chlorine bleach.