Did you know that Hydrogen Peroxide is an amazing natural alternative to chlorine bleach? It also works well as a natural disinfectant in home cleaning and even for use in a mouthwash and toothpaste. It is and in this article, you’ll learn how to use in it your natural laundry, cleaning and oral care routines and how it works.
So, my washcloths 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, natural self can’t do that anymore and now I use hydrogen peroxide! A little bottle of it packs quite a punch – not only is it green and natural, but it 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 biodegradable and safe for the environement. It’s a safe and effective bleach alternative, and is colorless and odorless to boot.
How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide
You can use hydrogen peroxide in your natural laundry routine to whiten and clean clothes, to remove stains, and to remove odors. It can be used as a natural mouthwash and in a natural toothpaste recipe, and in your natural cleaning routine as a disinfectant and cleaner. Read more below!
Different Grades of Hydrogen Peroxide
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.
Use it to Clean Clothes
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 poop stains, 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.
Use it as a Stain Remover
You can also use hydrogen peroxide as a stain remover, 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.
Use it as a Carpet Stain Remover
I have used it on carpet stains and smells by diluting it in a spray bottle – half hydrogen peroxide and half water – and spraying directly on the stain. It does lighten the color of the carpet, so if you have light colored carpet or rugs, great! Otherwise, I’d use this recipe that include baking soda.
Interestingly, I haven’t experience it lightening the color on fabrics in the laundry, but maybe because it ends up being more diluted? I’m not sure.
Household Cleaner & Disinfectant
Hydrogen Peroxide is an effective disinfectant around the house – and you can use it straight out of the bottle if you get the 3% diluted from 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. Spray distilled white vinegar on top of it and leave it on for 30 minutes or more to properly disinfect.
Mouthwash, Teeth Whitener & Toothpaste
Hydrogen Peroxide can be used as a mouthwash and teeth whitener when mixed with equal parts of water. My mother-in-law has been using HP as her mouthwash (by itself) for decades and swears by it as she used to get chronic mouth ulcers before using it nightly. I have found that I don’t like it by itself as tastes unpleasant, so I created a natural mouthwash recipe that includes Xylitol as a natural sweetener, along with essential oils and Calcium Carbonate to remineralize the teeth.
To use it as as a toothpaste, mix 2 parts baking soda to 1 part Hydrogen Peroxide.
How does Hydrogen Peroxide Work to Kill Germs?
Hydrogen Peroxide is able to break down the cell wall of bacteria by attracting and stealing electrons in a process called oxidation. When used on human skin, it also kills healthy cells and can slow wound healing, which is why doctors do not recommend it for wound cleaning but once or twice on the wound.
Here’s a fun fact – our bodies produce hydrogen peroxide naturally when we metabolize food and turn it into energy. Read more about that here.
However, it’s wonderful to use around the house natural cleaning and disinfecting recipes, like the ones I shared above. I also have an All Purpose Household Cleaner recipe that uses it – grab that here.