Surprising Uses For Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide may seem like an unassuming household product, but the chemical powerhouse is good for a number of uses. Hydrogen peroxide is a colorless liquid with a bitter taste. Even though it has just one more oxygen molecule than water (its molecular formula is H2O2), the nonflammable agent works completely differently (via PubChem).

When hydrogen peroxide comes into contact with a superficial skin wound, it releases oxygen and causes foaming to help clean the skin, making it a useful antiseptic, per WebMD. It's found in many everyday products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, bathroom cleaners, hair dye, and stain removers (via

Hydrogen peroxide's oxidative properties make it an antimicrobial and disinfecting agent. In fact, new technology has used concentrated vapor hydrogen peroxide to sterilize personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic, per However, inhaling it or using it on the skin in high concentrations can be harmful, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hydrogen peroxide has a surprising number of uses — both for personal and in the household.

More than just another bottle in the medicine cabinet

Keep it in the bathroom for all kinds of personal care. You can prevent infection of minor cuts, scrapes, and nonserious burns by applying a little hydrogen peroxide to the affected area, after washing thoroughly, asserts WebMD. It can work effectively as a mouth rinse, too. Mix with equal parts water and swish in the mouth to remove mucus and relieve irritation. If you have earwax buildup, place a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear to soften the wax. Then simply rinse with warm water in a day or two and tilt your head to drain (via WebMD).

Hydrogen peroxide is also a great substance for many household uses, as Healthline has compiled. Sanitize your dishwasher, sink, cutting board, and garbage can with undiluted hydrogen peroxide, as 3% hydrogen peroxide is effective at eliminating E. coli and Salmonella. Likewise, hydrogen peroxide is effective at cleaning the toilet, killing mildew, and whitening porcelain in the bathroom. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it has bactericidal, virucidal, sporicidal, and fungicidal properties. And it's even helpful with pets! After cleaning the litter box, spray with undiluted hydrogen peroxide and let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing and drying. Lastly, get those makeup brushes squeaky clean by soaking them in diluted hydrogen peroxide for 10 minutes, then rinsing.