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Hydrogen peroxide is a staple item in many homes because this clear odorless liquid is a multipurpose product, capable of providing antiseptic and bleaching effects. It can be found in drug stores across the country in its familiar brown bottle and usually for less than a $1. Hydrogen peroxide uses in the home seem practically limitless; however, some of the product’s reported uses are more hype than fact. Furthermore, natural does not mean completely safe in all situations. Learn some of the legitimate uses of hydrogen peroxide to save money and support green cleaning.
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Sanitizing & Cleaning
Hydrogen peroxide is a natural product and can be used to disinfect, sanitize, clean and deodorize all around the home. To sanitize kitchen countertops, refrigerator shelves and other surfaces in the home you can fill a spray bottle with the solution and use full strength or apply the product directly to a rag and wipe off. To remove tough grout, a brush, hydrogen peroxide and a little elbow grease can get the job done. You can also spray on tile, in garbage cans and in empty aquariums. Dealing with mold in the home? Instead of turning to commercial products that can cause irritation when inhaled, spray one part hydrogen peroxide mixed with two parts water on the mold.
You might also be surprised to learn that hydrogen peroxide can be used for cleaning your laundry! Hydrogen peroxide is a well known spot cleaner, especially when attempting to remove blood stains. To remove a stain, pour the peroxide directly onto the soiled area and allow it to sit for a while before rinsing with cold water. Since peroxide does lighten however, it is also possible that it will lift up the color from the garment. When washing white clothing, add the liquid directly to the rinse cycle to make your garments brighter without having to use bleach.
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Hygiene & Beauty
For a whiter smile, some people choose to brush their teeth with hydrogen peroxide instead of toothpaste or use it when making organic toothpaste. Generally, the peroxide is mixed with baking soda to whiten and clean the mouth. Commercial mouthwashes usually include a 3 percent solution of the product but for those looking to go green; you can swish a capful of the undiluted solution in your mouth. To avoid irritation, however, the product is usually mixed with water. You should also take care not to swallow it! Since toothbrushes are swirling with germs after using them, you can fill a small bottle with hydrogen peroxide and spray after each use to disinfect your toothbrush.
For those dealing with stained nails from frequent use of nail polish, the nails can be soaked in hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes to whiten the stains, water should then be used to remove all traces of the peroxide from the skin. Additionally, a popular natural remedy for the treatment of toenail fungus and athletes foot is to apply hydrogen peroxide directly to the infected nail and skin or to use a foot soak of hot water and hydrogen peroxide. This use however, does not appear to be verified by medical professionals.
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Commonly, hydrogen peroxide uses in the home revolve around first aid. After rinsing small cuts and scrapes with soap and hot water, hydrogen peroxide can be applied to kill bacteria and disinfect. Some studies, however, have called in to question this practice and believe that hydrogen peroxide will actually slow healing time and damage the skin. To relieve pain from canker sores or mouth ulcers, Medline Plus suggests that hydrogen peroxide be mixed with equal parts of water and applied directly to the sores using cotton swabs.
When it comes to pet first aid, hydrogen peroxide might also be of use. For example, if your dog eats something toxic, your veterinarian might suggest inducing vomiting with hydrogen peroxide. Mixing the liquid with certain toxic substances, however, can make things worse; be sure to contact your local poison control center or your veterinarian before attempting such a method.
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Hydrogen Peroxide Warnings!
It is very important for home users to understand that hydrogen peroxide sold for home use is available in diluted form, usually at 3 percent with water making up the remainder of the product. Another concern is the use of high-grade concentrations of 30 percent or greater. These solutions are designed for industrial use, such as for submarine fuel and should never be used in the home!
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also warned consumers about companies advertising 35 percent food grade hydrogen peroxide as a medicinal aid. Such companies have claimed that drinking these high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can cure various cancers, AIDS and other serious conditions. According to the FDA, consuming this high concentration can lead to life threatening complications or even death, additionally; the FDA has not approved any internal uses of hydrogen peroxide.
For food grade hydrogen peroxide uses in the home include personal care, food and home cleaning. If 35 percent food grade peroxide cleaners are used in the home, they must be kept refrigerated (or in the freezer), be sure to take precautions so the product will not be mistaken for water and consumed. Due to the risk of accidental ingestion, high concentrations of food grade peroxide are not usually recommended for use in homes with young children. Before use, the product will need to be diluted down to the standard 3 percent concentration. To dilute, wear gloves when handling and take care not to spill the product as it can burn the skin.
At any strength, large amounts of hydrogen peroxide can be dangerous when the liquid comes into contact with the eyes or lungs. If spilled in the eyes or on the skin, the area can be flushed with cool water for several minutes. If significant amounts of hydrogen peroxide are swallowed, immediate medical attention is likely necessary.
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Cleaning Green Around Your Home (http://www.schools.utah.gov/cte/documents/facs/conference/S10/FM_Washburn_CleaningGreen.pdf)
FDA Warns Consumers Against Drinking High-Strength Hydrogen Peroxide for Medicinal Use Ingestion Can Lead to Serious Health Risks and Death (http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2006/ucm108701.htm)
First Aid For Pets (http://www.das.psu.edu/research-extension/companions/pdf-companions/first-aid-for-pets.pdf)
Hydrogen Peroxide Poisoning (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/poison/hydrogen-peroxide-poisoning/overview.html)
Medline Plus: Canker Sores (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000998.htm)