From a chemical standpoint, hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide. It’s a compound with an oxygen-oxygen single bond. Its chemical usage is as an oxidizer, bleaching agent, and disinfectant. However, in the past several years, hydrogen peroxide has shown it can do much more, from a simple mouthwash to even healing some health conditions.
Hydrogen peroxide therefore deserves a place in every home. As the only germicidal agent composed only of oxygen and water, it’s considered one of the world’s safest, all-natural sanitizers. With that in mind, let’s take a look at everything you can do with hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen Peroxide in Ear
One of the much discussed topics regarding hydrogen peroxide is its usage for cleaning ear wax. Some people believe it’s safe, others claim it’s dangerous. In any case, ear wax is what protects your inner ear from dirt and foreign matter. The problem is too much of it can affect your hearing and cause pain, itching, and general dizziness. Hydrogen peroxide can help you clean moderate or mild amounts of ear wax.
If you clean your ears regularly, you’ll prevent hard buildup, which can trap bacteria in the inner ear. For the hydrogen peroxide treatment, you’ll need a towel, a bowl, and a 3-4% hydrogen peroxide solution.
Here’s how to do it.
Start by pulling your hair back. Then cover your head with a towel or a hat (to prevent hair lightening or discoloration from the bleaching properties of hydrogen peroxide). You want to protect your hair before starting the treatment.
Lie down on your left side, using a pillow to make it more comfortable (make sure to cover your pillow with a clean towel so that you catch any excess fluid that might come out of your ear).Use a flat or low loft pillow to keep the head level so your ear is parallel to the ceiling. Only by doing this can the hydrogen peroxide penetrate deep enough and prevent drainage coming out of the ear.
Pour hydrogen peroxide into your right ear. Initially, you’ll experience fizzing or pouring sounds. You might also feel a deep itch inside your ear. Don’t worry, it’s nothing serious. It’s just the sign that the hydrogen peroxide is activated and breaking down the wax buildup.
Lie still and let the hydrogen peroxide work its magic for the next 20 minutes. Stay in the resting position. As time goes by, the fizzing and popping sounds will become less intense and frequent. Just be patient and let a few minutes to pass.
Stand up, tilt your head to the right, and allow the solution to drain from the ear. Make sure to keep a bowl or towel under your ear as the solution drains (you don’t want to make a mess in your home!). You might notice small pieces of wax coming out of your ear as well.
Using the towel, dry the outside of your ear. Once your ear is completely dry, repeat the process on the left side. This time, rest on your right side. Make sure to cover your pillow with a clean towel so that you catch any excess fluid that might come out of your ear.
Warnings and precautions
While some similar guides might recommend usage of cotton swabs, cotton balls, and hairpins, don’t use them. Using any of these might cause damage to your eardrum or allow bacteria to enter your ear canal.
If you experience changes in your hearing after you try the treatment, consult your physician. Don’t repeat the treatment too often . If you clean your ears frequently with hydrogen peroxide, you might experience itching and dryness in the inner ear. Or even worse—bacterial infections.
During the cleaning process, keep your fingers out of your ear, even if you notice itching. Your fingers might carry germs, and you might cause an ear infection without realizing it. Never dip or soak contaminated cloths, fingers, or other objects in the peroxide bottle, as that will contaminate the entire contents of the bottle.
What science says
There are always two sides to a story. In terms of ear wax cleaning, there are some people who claim that the solution isn’t safe. However, scientific studies show that hydrogen peroxide is one of the safest and most effective treatments for ear wax.
For example, a 2004 study showed that while earwax irrigation is a common treatment, eardrops (usually made with hydrogen peroxide) are the most cost-effective way to treat the condition. Ear drops use hydrogen peroxide to soften the wax.
Another study, this one from 2015 and from Australia, showed that using water only to remove the wax can lead to complications. Therefore, eardrops are again recommended, as they have less room for error.
Food-Grade Hydrogen Peroxide
Another common and problematic area for hydrogen peroxide is food. Or in other words, is there a grade of hydrogen peroxide that is safe for home usage?
Let’s examine the question.
What is food-grade hydrogen peroxide?
As we learned before, hydrogen peroxide is a substance compromised of two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms. The chemical sign is H2O2. Because of its chemical composure, hydrogen peroxide is easily broken down, resulting in water and oxygen.
There are different grades of hydrogen peroxide made for specific usages. For example, an electrical grade of the solution includes chemical stabilizers that prevent it from decomposing. The food-grade of hydrogen peroxide is one that has a concentration of 35%, and is more potent than what is usually sold in stores.
The benefits of this solution are that you get an effective and natural disinfectant. During the process of oxidization, the substance eliminates toxins and any other pathogens in the body.
What does food-grade hydrogen peroxide cure?
Let’s take a quick look at all of the benefits of food grade hydrogen peroxide. There are several ways you can use it to support your health. We’ll look at the many uses of hydrogen peroxide later on, but for now, here is a quick breakdown:
- Treat sinus infections
- Eliminate parasites
- Reduce toothache discomfort
- Clean wounds and prevent infection
- Kill microbes present in the body
- Kill microbes in the air or on surfaces
- Detoxify the skin and body
How to use food-grade hydrogen peroxide
The standard hydrogen peroxide offers a safe and natural treatment. But that’s a product with only a 3-5% solution. Food-grade hydrogen peroxide must be diluted prior to use. If not, it might cause health problems.
Food-grade hydrogen peroxide is a 35% solution intended for use in preparing or storing food.
Dangers and side effects
Most folk remedies with hydrogen peroxide are safe, and there are no side effects when you use the appropriate dosage of 4 drops per 8 ounce glass of distilled water. However, here are some problems that might occur.
For example, food-grade hydrogen peroxide can damage the gastrointestinal tract. This happens if you accidentally consume a high dose of food-grade hydrogen peroxide. Never mistake it for water. Ingesting the substance can lead to many accidents and even worse side effects.
Hydrogen peroxide in the body can release dangerous amounts of oxygen. Rapid release of the gas can cause the perforation of the stomach and intestines. While oxygen is beneficial and welcomed, excessive amounts in the bloodstream can lead to a gas embolism.
Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide
Health and beauty
- Natural antiseptic, great for cleaning wounds and prevents infection in the process.
- Bleach your hair with hydrogen peroxide, as it’s gentler than household bleach.
- You can get a sun-bleached look by spraying hydrogen peroxide over damp hair and then let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Soak your fingertips and toes in a solution of hydrogen peroxide to whiten them.
- Use it as a face rinse to kill acne-causing bacteria and clean your face of irritating acne.
- Pour 8 ounces of the solution into warm bath water. Soak to treat boils.
- Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to prepare a homemade whitening solution that will remove stains from your teeth.
- Use it to prepare an antiseptic mouth rinse. It will also whiten your teeth and kill all the germs living in your mouth responsible for bad breath.
- Remove ear wax by putting a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide into the ears.
- Mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar and then put several drops of the mixture in each ear after swimming. This will prevent infections and the so-called swimmer’s ear.
- Speaking of ear infections, you can put 6-8 drops of hydrogen peroxide into each ear to alleviate symptoms of ear infections.
- Combine water and hydrogen peroxide in a 1:1 ratio. Put it into a dark colored spray bottle and apply to skin to treat foot fungus. Repeat the treatment every night to stop the fungal growth.
- Combine water and hydrogen peroxide in a 1:1 ratio, add to a soaking bowl, and put your feet in to soften them after a hard day at work.
Home and kitchen
- Spray hydrogen peroxide directly onto tile to remove any stains and dirt.
- Mix hydrogen peroxide and white flour, apply the thick paste to grout and cover with plastic wrap. The next morning, rinse with water and you’ll have whiter grout.
- Spray hydrogen peroxide on soap scum, dirt, and stains in the bathtub. Let the solution work its magic for 30 minutes, and then rinse to loosen the grime.
- You can also clean the toilet bowl by pouring half a cup into the bowl. Let it stay for 30 minutes, and then rinse for a clean and stain-free bowl.
- Countertops will look much cleaner by spraying hydrogen peroxide on them. You’ll not only clean them, you’ll also disinfect the countertops.
- Spray hydrogen peroxide on dirty mirrors or any other glass surface and then just wipe with a clean cloth.
- Cutting boards are another kitchen item you can disinfect with hydrogen peroxide and kill off germs and bacteria.
- To clean the refrigerator of odors, spray hydrogen peroxide inside of it, and let it soak for few minutes. Wipe away with a clean cloth.
- Add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your wash water and soak fabrics for 15 to 30 minutes. You’ll revitalize dingy or yellowed whites.
- You can even remove organic stains. Combine hydrogen peroxide and dish detergent in a 2:1 ratio and apply to organic stains like coffee, blood, sweat, wine, and so on.
- To control mold and mildew, spray hydrogen peroxide on areas where they are present and you can easily stop fungal growth.
- If you are unsure about the contaminants on your fruits and veggies, spray them with hydrogen peroxide, let them soak for a minute, and then rinse in clean water. This will remove dirt, wax, and any other contaminants.
- For your rugs and carpets, spray hydrogen peroxide to remove stains such as mud and food. Remember to use only on light-colored fabrics, as it will bleach your dark-colored rugs and carpets.
- Use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect lunchboxes, cooler bags, and coolers. Let the solution stay on for few minutes and then wipe away with clean cloth.
- You can clean the dehumidifier as well by adding a pint of hydrogen peroxide to one gallon of water, and then run the solution through the humidifier.
- Spritz hydrogen peroxide into an empty dishwasher to disinfect and clean it.
- Don’t toss away old and musty towels. Instead, add half a cup of hydrogen peroxide and half a cup of vinegar to the wash cycle as a pre-soak, and then wash as normal. Don’t worry about the possibility of a lingering vinegar smell; it won’t.
- To clean your children’s toys, spray the toys with hydrogen peroxide. And it’s better than buying fancy wipes, as the hydrogen peroxide is non-toxic and safer for children.
- You can banish dust mites from the mattress by spraying hydrogen peroxide on a bare mattress. You’ll get rid of all the invisible critters.
- Clean your sponges by soaking them in a 50:50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and warm water for 10 minutes. Rinse afterward.
- Sanitize your toothbrush between uses by soaking it in hydrogen peroxide.
- Your dingy floors can benefit from hydrogen peroxide as well. Combine half a cup in one gallon of hot water, and then use it on your flooring. Don’t worry, the solution is safe for any floor type and you don’t need to rinse it off.
- For your gardening and inside plants, help them ward off fungus. Add some hydrogen peroxide to the spray bottle the next time you are spritzing the plants.
- For a fish tank treatment, use hydrogen peroxide to control the fungi present in the aquarium. It won’t hurt your fish, but use it sparingly.