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Many Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

By John Milandred

Hydrogen peroxide is a widely used mild acid. It is present in fresh fruits, vegetables and in mother’s milk. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a weak acid with strong oxidizing properties. It is water with one extra oxygen molecule, hence is very similar to water in appearance, chemical formula and reaction products. Hydrogen peroxide is extremely dangerous in concentrated form, but uniquely useful in diluted form. It is stable at room temperature. Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful bleaching agent and is used for whitening paper. Hydrogen peroxide is widely administered as an antiseptic, as a disinfectant, as an oxidizer and in mono propellant and bi propellant systems. Using hydrogen peroxide is both effective and safe.

Production of Hydrogen Peroxide

Rain and snow contain hydrogen peroxide. Plants synthesize hydrogen peroxide during photosynthesis; so all fresh vegetables and fruits contain hydrogen peroxide. It is also generated by the liquifying xylem of many vascular plants (higher plants, for example, trees), which is very important for the plant metabolism. The plankton in the sea produce the maximum hydrogen peroxide. Our body’s immune system generates hydrogen peroxide. It is present in mother’s milk, especially in the first milk (colostrum) after childbirth, which boosts the baby’s immune system.

Commercially, it is produced in different grades for use in various purposes. Some of the grades are 3.5% pharmaceutical grade, 6% beautician grade, 30% reagent grade, 30-32% electronic grade, 35% technical grade, 35% food grade and 90% for use in rocket fuel. Hydrogen peroxide of 35% is the only recommended grade for internal use.

The first commercial launch of hydrogen peroxide was in the 1800s; since then its production has increased tremendously.  Usage of hydrogen peroxide has crossed more than 1 billion pounds per year.

Common Uses

Hydrogen peroxide is used in industries like paper, pulp, textile and leather, electronics, mining and processing, therapeutic products, drinking water purification, waste water treatment plants and hazardous waste treatment plants, site remediation, timber production, composting, and so on. Medically, hydrogen peroxide therapy is used to treat many of the ailments. Let’s see about the medical uses of hydrogen peroxide.

Medical Uses

According to William Campbell Douglass, M.D. of Georgia, hydrogen peroxide is an essential metabolite, meaning that it is necessary to life’s process. Post World War I, intravenous infusion of dilute hydrogen peroxide was used in the treatment of epidemic pneumonia. Studies conducted in 1940s by Father Richard Willhelm, pioneer in promoting hydrogen peroxide, and have revealed that it can be used to treat several ailments, right from bacterial-related mental illness to even polio.

Hydrogen peroxide is used as an antiseptic for sterilization in cleaning hospital toilets and bathrooms and in ambulances. It can effectively kill the disease-causing microbes. Hydrogen peroxide is also used for disinfecting medical and surgical equipment.

Hydrogen peroxide has been approved by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as mouthwash. In fact, many of the renowned companies manufacturing dental-related products use hydrogen peroxide.

All skin-related infections such as acne, cold sores, insect bites, pimples, burns and so on, can be healed by using hydrogen peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide is used in the treatment of arthritis. It supplies oxygen and kills the anaerobic pathogens Streptococcus viridans that cause arthritis. Due to its properties, hydrogen peroxide therapy has been used in many of the diseases such as viral, bacterial, fungal and yeast infection, allergies, food allergies and poisonings, gingivitis (inflammation of gums), pneumonia, ulcers, digestive problems, cancer, multiple sclerosis, anemia, sinusitis, liver cirrhosis and so on.

Hydrogen peroxide has been known to be used as a home remedy. Homemade toothpaste can be made by mixing hydrogen peroxide with baking soda. Hydrogen peroxide due to its bleaching and antiseptic properties whitens the teeth and also takes care of the germs.

For treatment of cuts and infections, prepare 3% hydrogen peroxide by diluting with water. Dip cotton in the 3% hydrogen peroxide and use it for wiping the infected areas and follow this procedure twice daily. Hydrogen peroxide kills the harmful microbes and heals the wound or infection.

Cold and flu are air-borne diseases. Studies have found that most of the cold and flu infections take place through the ear canal. Dip an earbud into the solution of 1-2 drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide, apply into the ear. This is known to shorten duration of the ailments. It is most effective to practice at the early stages of infection. Hydrogen peroxide also protects the ear from infection. This therapy is also useful in case of cleaning earwax.

Unsupervised use of hydrogen peroxide is not advised, as it may lead to medical complications. Inhalation therapy for colds can be harmful, if hydrogen peroxide is not diluted properly before use. Internal use of hydrogen peroxide as a therapy is known to cause stomach ulcers and intestinal problems. It is always recommended to check the safety and efficacy of the home remedy or consult your physician before using hydrogen peroxide for any medical problems.

Hydrogen Peroxide And Farming

 

The Amish started using hydrogen peroxide in agriculture. Amish people spray their string beans after they’re done yielding, with a solution of hydrogen peroxide several times in the morning. Those beans re-bloom, and they get another 1-3 pickings. They spray it on their cabbage and on their cauliflower and potatoes, and the bugs leave. They spray their alfalfa with it and they find that they get 6 inches more growth, and the alfalfa aphids and weevils leave. An ounce of 3% H2O2 per quart of water used. Spray the solution on the leaves as well. Seeds germinate faster, with bigger sprouts when they are first soaked in one ounce of H2O2 to a pint of water. Instead of cutting trees that are diseased or otherwise struggling, spray them with 1 part H2O2 to 32 parts water. To use it as an insecticide, take a gallon of water and add 8 oz. of white sugar, and 8 oz. of 3% hydrogen peroxide and spray your plants with it. The sugar absorbs the hydrogen peroxide, and it sticks to the leaf. However it will fall off if it rains. If you do your carrots with this sugar solution they will foliage feed and become very sweet. The H2O2 stimulates the plants so they take out more nitrogen from the air.

How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Plants

Hydrogen peroxide should be used in a diluted form for plants. Using an increased dosage leads to detrimental effects on plants. You can purchase 3% hydrogen peroxide from health food centers for use in your gardening project. Those who are familiar with this acid can consider diluting hydrogen peroxide at 35% strength for the same.

Treat soil with dilute acid before you start with planting flowers and vegetables. By doing so, you are enriching the soil medium with water and oxygen. In case of weak or drying plants, spraying diluted hydrogen peroxide benefits in restoring normal growth.

For treating seeds, dilute one ounce of hydrogen peroxide in one quart of water. Soak seeds with this solution and sow in garden soil to get healthy sprouts. After seedling transplantation, you can continue regular watering and misting with dilute hydrogen peroxide solution.

Spray diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide to control diseases and pests in regular garden plants as well as in hydroponic plants. For existing diseases, use 3% hydrogen peroxide over the affected plant parts to contain the spread of the disease.

For large fields, a spraying solution can be prepared by mixing 35% hydrogen peroxide (5 ounces) with water (20 gallons). Based on the purpose for application, strength of the mixture can be increased to 2 times or more.

If you are interested in making a homemade insecticide for your garden plants, you can do so by mixing 8 ounces each of hydrogen peroxide and sugar along with 1 gallon of water. Keep this concoction in a dark bottle, and you can spray it on plants whenever required.

As we have seen, the application of hydrogen peroxide is mainly attributed to its oxidizing and disinfectant properties. Not only for humans and animals, but this chemical also acts as an effectual first aid remedy for plants. For ease in application, fill it in a regular misting spray bottle. However, ensure that you store hydrogen peroxide in its original, dark-colored bottle to preserve its chemical properties.

Hydrogen Peroxide Uses In the Home

  1. 1.       Clothes – An Alternative to Beach

Add a cup of Peroxide to white clothes in your laundry to whiten them. Peroxide is great to get rid of blood stains on clothes and carpets. If there is blood on clothing, just pour directly on the spot, let it sit for about a minute, then rub and rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary.

  1. 2.       Rejuvenating Detoxifying Bath

Use about 2 quarts 3% Hydrogen peroxide to a tub of warm water. Soak at least 1/2 hour, adding hot water as needed to maintain a comfortable water temperature.

3.   Foot Fungus

To cure a foot fungus, simply spray a 50/50 mixture of Hydrogen peroxide and water on them (especially the toes) every night and let dry.

4.   Douche

Add 2 capfuls of 3% Hydrogen peroxide in warm distilled water once to twice a week to remove even chronic yeast infections.

5.  Infections

Soak any infections or cuts in 3% for five to ten minutes several times a day. Even gangrene that would not heal with any medicine has been healed by soaking in Hydrogen peroxide. Put half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your bath to help rid boils, fungus or other skin infections.

6. Bird Mites Infections

Patients infected by tiny mites report that hydrogen peroxide effectively kills the mites on their skins. They spray it on their skin a couple of times (with a few minutes in between the applications) with amazing results.

7.  Sinus Infections

A tablespoon of 3% Hydrogen peroxide added to 1 cup of non-chlorinated water can be used as a nasal spray. Depending on the degree of sinus involvement, one will have to adjust the amount of peroxide used.

8.  Wound Care

3% H2O2 is used medically for cleaning wounds, removing dead tissue, and as an oral debriding agent. Peroxide stops slow (small vessel) wound bleeding/oozing, as well.

Some sources recommend soaking infections or cuts for five to ten minutes several times a day. However, washing and rinsing action is sufficient. You shouldn’t leave the solution on open tissue for extended periods of time as, like many oxidative antiseptics, Hydrogen peroxide causes mild damage to tissue in open wounds. Therefore it is important to use with caution.

Personal Care

Mouthwash / Tooth Care

Healing Properties: Take one capful (the little white cap that comes with the bottle) and hold in your mouth for 10 minutes daily, then spit it out. You will not have canker sores and your teeth will be whiter. If you have a terrible toothache and cannot get to a dentist right away, put a capful of 3% Hydrogen peroxide into your mouth and hold it for 10 minutes several times a day. The pain will lessen greatly.

9.   Mouthwash

Many people don’t realize that hydrogen peroxide makes a very effective and inexpensive mouthwash. Use 3% H202 – add a dash of liquid chlorophyll for flavoring if desired.

10. Toothpaste

Use baking soda and add enough 3% H202 to make a paste.

11. Toothbrush

Soak your toothbrush in Hydrogen peroxide to keep them free of germs.

12. Tooth Ache

Hydrogen peroxide is not a pain killer; however, as an anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-fungal agent, it is effective at treating the pathogen that is causing the infection. The following is from my own personal experience: My dentist wanted to give me a root canal some time ago as one tooth was inflamed and, in her opinion, would die. I felt some discomfort but told her that I would give it chance to heal. I rinsed with hydrogen peroxide (several times a day) as well as coconut oil (once a day). The discomfort went away and I have had no further problems with the tooth.

NOTE: Do not swallow any peroxide. When the peroxide rinse is done, be sure to rinse out your mouth with water.

13. Hair Lightening

Peroxide is a bleaching agent and is used for lightened hair. Dilute 3% Hydrogen peroxide with water (50 / 50) and spray the solution on your wet hair after a shower and comb it through. You will not have the peroxide burnt blonde hair like the hair dye packages, but more natural highlights if your hair is a light brown, faddish, or dirty blonde. It also lightens gradually so it’s not a drastic change.

14. Contact Lenses

Hydrogen peroxide is used as a disinfectant in CIBA Vision’s Clear Care no rub contact lens cleaning solution, due to its ability to break down the proteins that build up on the lenses from the eye’s immune response, resulting in increased comfort for those with sensitive eyes.

Sanitizing / Disinfectant / Cleaning

15. Straight or Diluted Hydrogen Peroxide

Clean your counters and table tops with hydrogen peroxide to kill germs and leave a fresh smell. Simply put a little on your dishrag when you wipe, or spray it on the counters. Use hydrogen peroxide to clean glass and mirrors with no smearing.

Keep a spray bottle of 3% (straight) to disinfect the interior of the refrigerator and kids’ school lunch boxes.

16.  In the Dishwasher

Add 2 oz. of 3% Hydrogen peroxide to your regular washing formula.

17. In the Bathroom

Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of 3% Hydrogen peroxide and water and keep it in every bathroom to disinfect without harming your septic system like bleach or most other disinfectants will.

I use peroxide to clean my mirrors with, there is no smearing.

18.  In the Kitchen

After rinsing off your wooden cutting board, pour or spray hydrogen peroxide (and then vinegar) on it to kill salmonella and other bacteria.

Combination of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide make a cheap, effective and non-toxic disinfectant agent and is said to be more effective at killing pathogens than bleach.  As it is non-toxic, you can use it to disinfect fruits and vegetables, as well as pet toys, equipment and cages.  In tests run at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, pairing Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide mists, kills virtually all Salmonella, Shigella, or E. coli bacteria on heavily contaminated food and surfaces.

19. Vegetable Soak

Use as a vegetable wash or soak to kill bacteria and neutralize chemicals. Add 1/4 cup 3% H202 to a full sink of cold water. Soak light skinned (light lettuce) 20 minutes, thicker skinned (like cucumbers) 30 minutes. Drain, dry and refrigerate.  This prolongs freshness.  If time is a problem, spray vegetables (and fruits) with a solution of 3%. Let stand for a few minutes, rinse and dry.

20. Meat Sanitizing

You can also use it to rinse off your meat before cooking.

21. Leftover tossed salad

Spray with a solution of 1/2 cup water and 1 Tbsp. 5%. Drain, cover and refrigerate.

22. Marinade

Place meat, fish or poultry in a casserole dish (avoid using aluminum pans). Cover with a dilute solution of equal parts of water and 3% H202. Place loosely covered in refrigerator for 1/2 hour. Rinse and cook.

23. Mold

Clean with Hydrogen peroxide when your house becomes a bio-hazard after its invaded by toxic mold, such as those with water damage.

24. Humidifiers/Steamers

Use 1 pint 3% Hydrogen peroxide to 1 gallon of water.

25. Laundry / Stain Removing

Stain Remover

3% Hydrogen peroxide is the best stain lifter if used fairly soon – although blood stains as old as 2 days have been successfully lifted with Hydrogen Peroxide. Although it will bleach or discolor many fabrics. If a little peroxide is poured onto the stain it will bubble up in the area of the blood, due to a reaction with catalase. After a few minutes the excess liquid can be wiped up with a cloth or paper towel and the stain will be gone.

3% H2O2 must be applied to clothing before blood stains can be accidentally “set” with heated water. Cold water and soap are then used to remove the peroxide treated blood.

26. Washing/Laundry

You can also add a cup of hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach to a load of whites in your laundry to whiten them. If there is blood on clothing, pour directly on the soiled spot. Let it sit for a minute, then rub it and rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary.

Peroxide is a perfect alternate solution to keep those clothes white. Also, when chlorinating clothes, they tend to wear out faster – peroxide won’t do that.

(Don’t use chlorinated tap water to dilute the peroxide!)

 

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