Hydrogen Peroxide – An Amazing Green Bleach Alternative

A Green Bleach Alternative for Laundry and Around the Home

So, my wash cloths are getting really stinky, and washing them isn’t helping because that nasty mildew has set in. In my past life, I would throw them in the washer with some bleach and knock the mildew and smell right out. But my more informed, greener self can’t do that anymore and so I searched the web to find a green alternative. What did I stumble upon? Hydrogen Peroxide! A little bottle of it packs quite a punch – not only is it green, but has a myriad of uses for cleaning the home (not to mention all the medical uses)!

Is it Really Safe for the Environment?

Yes! According to GreenOpedia and Wikipedia, Hydrogen Peroxide’s molecules are made of two hydrogen and two oxygen atoms (H2O2) that decompose after use back into oxygen and water, so it’s completely green. It’s a safe and effective bleach alternative, and is colorless and odorless to boot.

Recommended Uses

I found people all over the web who suggest using Hydrogen Peroxide for everything from a mouthwash and teeth whitener, to helping cure cancer and disinfect your bathrooms and kitchens. Can’t believe everything you read or see, right? So, I did a little more digging.

According to educate-yourself.org, there are 7 grades of Hydrogen Peroxide, from 3% up to 90%. The only grade that is safe to be ingested is 35% food grade. The 3% one you find in drug stores as a disinfectant also contains stabilizers which are dangerous to ingest, but according to the bottle, it can be used as a mouthwash when mixed with equal amounts of water.

Laundry – As a Bleach Alternative & Stain Remover

I’ve been using it in my laundry, especially for things like sheets, towels and cloth diapers that need disinfecting or mildew removal. I have even used it on my kids’ soiled underwear and pants (covered in diarrhea, sorry to be gross!) and the clothes come out clean, no stains and no smell at all. It has also done a nice job in removing the smell in my washer drum that even a cycle of bleach didn’t get rid of! Needless to say, it’s my new favorite thing to use for laundry. To use, just put it in the bleach compartment of your washer. 

You can also use it as a pre-stain treater, by applying directly on the stain before washing. It is powerful, so be careful on using it with darker fabrics as it may remove the color. In my favorite natural cleaning book, Clean House, Clean Planet, author Karen Logan writes that Hydrogen Peroxide only fades stains by about 40% per treatment. So, if it doesn’t do the job the first time, reapply and let dry again. Continue until the stain is gone.

Another natural and free alternative, is the old fashioned way of hanging the items outside in the sun to dry. Another tip from Karen Logan is to squirt lemon juice on a stain and then hang it out in the sun.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Sunshine as Green Bleach Alternatives

Other uses I read about included folks using it directly on laundry and carpet stains, then others saying it works like bleach and will remove color from fabrics and carpet. So, I recommend using caution when it comes to fabrics and start off using it like you would bleach – on whites and light colored upholstery and fabric. I personally have not seen it bleach any of my fabrics, so in my experience, it is safer than bleach to use on stains.

Household Cleaner & Disinfectant

This is an effective disinfectant around the house – and you can use it straight out of the bottle if you get the 3% diluted form from the drugstore. It also has anti-fungal properties and will help get rid of mold and mildew.

Mix it with some baking soda to add scrubbing power in the bathtub. You can spray it directly on countertops and cutting boards to disinfect

Mouthwash, Teeth Whitener & Toothpaste

It can be used as a mouthwash and teeth whitener when mixed with equal parts of water and as toothpaste – 2 parts baking soda to 1 part Hydrogen Peroxide – or just straight by itself. I have tried it several times by itself and it isn’t terribly pleasant, so I’m working on a recipe for mouthwash using other ingredients to make it more tolerable! Try to swallow as little as possible, just like commercial mouthwash. But it is a very effective mouthwash! My mother-in-law uses it every day and has for most of her life.

See more ideas of how to use it on using-hydrogen-peroxide.com.

This amazing green bleach is being shared at these websites.

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About Sara McFall

Sara is the owner and founder of My Merry Messy Life, which started in 2011 as a way to chronicle her journey to a natural, chemical-free lifestyle and to share her passions of mothering, real food, homeschooling and crochet. She is a mama to three precious and energetic little boys and wife to a university professor who loves to sing, dance ballet and ballroom, and live simply and naturally.

Comments

  1. Great post! I LOVE hydrogen peroxide! In fact, I just brushed my teeth with it & baking soda! lol

    • Oh cool! I haven’t brushed my teeth with it before. That’s a great idea!

    • For all you that still like or use “sun In” on your hair for that summer lightening or just to slowly lighten your hair. All it is is hydrogen peroxide. Put some in a spray bottle and there you go. saves you up to $5

      • Sun In* is actually a bit more than just peroxide. It also contains lemon oils and a bunch of other stuff that allows for a slower lightening of hair. If you apply straight peroxide onto your hair it will not only lighten it it will turn it white – so exercise caution.

    • how does it taste

  2. I know how well this works – this morning I treated the underside of a bath matthat had mold starting on it. It is dark blue fluffy stuff and a rubberized backing, so bleach was out of the question. I just put some on a paper towel, rubbed it across the areas that were discolored and pre washed it…and it’s all gone!

  3. I have been using quite a few of your cleaning product recipes & the laundry detergent (in a regular washer I seem to need about 1 cup for things to come out clean & non-smelly), and I love them. I was wondering what grade of hydrogen peroxide you use in the laundry, & about how much to use for a load of something like towels? Do you know if it discolors things the way bleach does if you get it on colors? Where do you purchase your hydrogen peroxide?
    Oh, and I also love using vinegar as a fabric softener & cleaner. I think I’ll try infusing it next time we get oranges! Thanks for your ideas.

    • Do not ingest 35% hydrogen peroxide, it can be fatal!

    • I use HP regularly in my wash. I use about 1/2 a cup per load. Because my husband takes blood pressure medications, and he does a lot of work outside, he often gets cuts and bleeds quite a lot, which leads to blood on his clothing or on the bed linen. I pretreat the spots of blood with HP, and I have a little rubber scrubby that I rub the stain with to get it out. DO NOT LEAVE HP ON FABRIC AND LET DRY … wash immediately. If left on fabric, HP will weaken the fibers and cause holes.
      In my husband’s work clothing, I also use a cup of Vinegar and it takes out the sweat in his shirts. Also works great on towels. I never wash towels without it.

  4. My sister tries to stay away from chemicals ever since she developed a sensitivity from using too much of them (while working as a caretaker and using disinfectants all the time). She loves vinegar and HP. She uses vinegar in the kitchen, especially when washing her vegetables. Good for the environment, good for people, and so much cheaper, too!! Thanks for some more great ideas!

  5. My grandma in law brushed her teeth with HP
    & soda weekly. At 93 she passed with ALL her own teeth!
    She swore by it- she had the prettiest white teeth

  6. I mix paste of baking soda and peroxide .This cleans so many things .I. Have started cleaning my kitchen cabinets and it’s amazing .they are twenty eight years old and we had already decided to get new doors .They look great and I couldn’t get them to look good with other cleaners ..Also it’s great on my stainless steel sink .Just let the paste sit a few minutes an clean .No hard scubing at all .

  7. So, how much Hydrogen Peroxide do you use in a washer load? The entire bottle?

    • Hi there! Oh no, not the whole bottle. I use the recommended amount for my washer, which is indicated in my washer in the bleach compartment. I just fill it to the top. Do you have something similar in your’s? I’d guess it’s about a 1/3 or 1/2 cup.

  8. Lady Jaymez says:

    be careful when brushing your teeth with baking soda. It is abrasive and will wear down your enamel which does not grow back. Dentist do not recommend the use of household baking soda on your teeth.

  9. Hydrogen peroxide is great for killing germs when you are sick. I always use as a mouth wash when I get a cold or flu to keep the germs from multiplying. It seems like it cuts down on sick time. I use it from time to time for a mouth rinse too. Also, great for getting blood stains out. Here is a product for cleaning and killing about anything but its pricey because its concentrate:environ: H2Orange2Concentrate 117.

  10. jeff hayes says:

    What grade/percentige do you use for a bleach substitute?

  11. Hi, I am reading your post about HP and I am bit confused. I am not entirely sure what to believe as when you just google hydrogen peroxide MSDS (material safety datasheet) then you can find that even the 3% one is causing irritation to eyes, skin, respiratory tract, might be harmful if swallowed and is not recommended to dispose off into environment. Moreover if you look at the msds of 35% HP you can learn that it has been linked with the cancer in animals (35% HP has just a bit more water that 3% but the substance is same). I am not so sure if it is safe to use. What do you think?

    • Hi Roza! You have done excellent research! I’m inclined not to use something when it poses a risk, but I still read many places that HP is safe. I only use the 3%, not the 35%. Also, it doesn’t splash into my eyes nor do I breathe it in when pouring it into the washer. I mean, the same could be said about apple cider vinegar (irritation to eyes, skin and respiratory tract) and it is highly recommended to drink as a natural supplement (diluted, of course). But, I totally support doing what you feel is right and what you’re comfortable with until there is scientific proof, and even that can be skewed. I did not know that it not recommended to dispose of in the environment – is that for the 3%? Because it is very diluted if used in the washer.

      • Hi Sara, yes it is even 3%. I have been working in the cleanroom during my phd and I was using hydrogen peroxide to clean = remove layer of glass (mixed with some other chemicals). This is how strong is HP. We had to dispose it in a special way. We were said also to be very cautious in using it as it can burn the skin and cause other damage to the body. The fact that it is diluted it doesn’t change fact that it not natural – its a chemical compound. I am not sure if you noticed but they use it in a lot of whitening skin and hair products and hair dyes which are not a first choice either for you (I guess) or me. I understand that some house products like ACV and even lemon juice could cause irritation but they are not linked with cancer (as HP is). I would be very careful in using it. One more thing, I have found in one of your posts advice to mix HP with baking soda (don’t remember for what) but in MSDS it is written to not mix it with alkalis (which baking soda is). Thanks for a nice blog. In the meantime I will search for better bleach 🙂

  12. What! 35% would almost certainly damage, if not kill you!

    Unfortunately the “better for the environment” bit does make a classic error – it forgets the manufacturing process (google for chemistry fun). Conversely chlorine can be produced from table salt and electricity. Chlorine is more “chemically sounding” than “water and oxygen” which probably leads to this misnomer, but chlorine is already used in water purification for the reason that it is safe and very rapidly decomposes.

    H2O2 did used to be easily commercially available as all-purpose bleach.

    It is rarely available for this purpose since anymore – while “water and oxygen” sound nice breakdown products its reactions with other compounds are less satisfactory. It was commonly accidentally mixed with other cleaning products such as chloride based cleaning products which yielded chlorine gas. H2O2 does have other problems to be aware of, aside from the iffy manufacture process – if not ventilated H2O2 is explosive. It doesn’t smell, which can hide its danger and it bleaches skin very fast.

    H2O2 is now sold mostly for bleaching clothing and hair, where the safety (in LOW concentrations!) and lack of smell is advantageous. Each bleach has its own uses, I wouldn’t use hypochlorate on my hair and I wouldn’t use peroxide in my toilet!

  13. I found hydrogen peroxide to be an excellent bleach alternative. I had just bought some new towels one of which was a royal blue color. My grandson had a nose bleed. In times past, he had used white wash cloths to wipe the blood, so I had told him to pour peroxide onto the blood stains to prevent them from being stained. The particular day he had a nose bleed, he grabbed what was nearby….the new royal blue towel. When he was finished and I found the towel, a large white ~~~~~~ was down the center of my pretty blue towel. Oh well, he was just doing what I had told him…only with the wrong color of cloth. 🙂

  14. Justin Banner says:

    the second paragraph under “intended uses” states that 35% is food grade and gives the impression that anything under 35% is safe to work with. 35% food grade does not mean that it is ingestable. 35% H2O2 will kill any living thing that tried to ingest it. peroxide is an oxidixer. oxidizers destroy organic tissue and some inorganic tissues as well. This is why it is such a good cleaner. This is also why anti-oxidants are good things to have in your diet. the body naturally produces H2O2 as a waste product that needs to be removed before it does cellular damage.
    35% H2O2 is highly reactive. it can be dangerous to handle without the right training and equipment.

    if you would like to read some about the cautions of working with it, look here: http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,125556.0.html

  15. Towels should be washed with a minimal amount of detergent….MINIMAL…
    IF you use too much detergent it will build up and THAT is what smells like a mildewy smell.

    SO, every once in a while send your towels through a cycle with NOTING! You’ll be amazed at how clean they are….and BTW, NEVER use fabric softener on towels!

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  17. You can also use it to break up ear wax. Warm slightly, then syringe into the outer ear

  18. Hi! I think you should edit your post as people may ingest 35% HP and die. It needs to be clarified. There are people who do Hydrogen Peroxide therapy, but with the Food Grade 35% there are strict protocols. Most if not all doctors will advise against it internally. But if people do take internally, it’s so highly diluted (like 1 drop per large glass of water). I would hate to see some uniformed reader use it in a dangerous way and be seriously injured.

  19. A small hometown doctor, a genius and #1 in his class, suggested dipping a q-tip in hydrogen peroxide and swiping over a mouth ulcer before bedtime, no rinsing and by morning the irritation was gone. Have been using this procedure for my children and self ever since for the past 56 years. Works like a charm. Thank you Doc Morelli. ..may you rest in peace!

  20. RHONDA NICHOLAS says:

    My husband had a wisdom tooth extracted and bleed all over my expensive floral green sheets, had set by the time i saw it and peroxide and a little soaking in the sink and the stain is gone!!!!

  21. My impressions about using Hydrogen Peroxide as stain removal for clothes:

    After reading several positive reviews of Hydrogen Peroxide, I decided to do a small test. I sprayed it over some small areas of a white shirt (armpit, neck and elbow). On the other day all the stains were gone or faded a lot. Amazing results! I was very impressed and put it in the washing machine for the final ‘touch’.

    However, after the washing machine came the huge disappointment. The shirt was destroyed. All the areas I sprayed the hydrogen peroxide had torn apart.

    Any ideas what I might have done wrong?
    Send me an email: mkms2011@bol.com.br

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