You probably have an unassuming bottle of hydrogen peroxide sitting in your house somewhere, ready to treat cuts and scrapes. But hydrogen peroxide can do more than just take up space in your first-aid kit. Here’s what else regular strength (3%) hydrogen peroxide is good for.
1. Clean tile grout
Tackle tough-to-clean grout with hydrogen peroxide. Grout is made of porous cement which can be eroded by using harsh chemicals found in typical household cleaners. Ordinary household hydrogen peroxide helps whiten and clean without damaging delicate grout, plus its fumes are way less irritating than bleach. Spray on, wait 30 minutes, and scrub with a stiff-bristled brush, according to HomeTalk.
2. Disinfect fresh produce
Protect yourself from harmful bacteria that can live on produce with mild hydrogen peroxide and household vinegar. Spray first with 3% hydrogen peroxide, then with white vinegar, and rinse well.
A test performed by a food scientist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University found that the combination of the two solutions killed bacteria like E. coli, listeria, and salmonella, better than either solution on its own. The scientist said what she really likes about this method is that “every [microbe] that drips off is killed,” which means you won’t spread contamination to cutting boards and food prep surfaces. She also found that there is no lingering taste or smell from either solution.
3. Whiten your teeth
For a sparkly smile, after brushing, dilute a small amount of 3% hydrogen peroxide with the same amount of water and swish around your mouth for 30 to 60 seconds, taking care not to swallow. Spit and rinse with water. Repeat daily for two weeks to see whiter teeth. After the initial two weeks, most experts recommend spacing out the hydrogen peroxide swish to once a week for maintenance. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends consulting a dentist before using an at-home bleaching product like peroxide, and especially if you have dark stains, or many crowns and fillings.
4. Remove bloodstains
That 3% hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove tough spots and stains on clothing, including bloodstains. Pour on the spot, let sit for a minute, then rub and rinse with cold water. Note that peroxide is a bleach, so use carefully on colors — it might lift both the stain and color.
To remove stains of unknown origin, Readers Digest recommends this sure-fire method: Mix 1 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide with a little cream of tartar or non-gel toothpaste, rub the mixture into the stain with a soft cloth until the stain in lifted, and then launder as usual.
5. Clean makeup brushes
Makeup brushes can be a pain to clean, but peroxide makes the process easier. Mix one part water with one part 3% hydrogen peroxide in a cup, soak synthetic brushes for five minutes, then rinse. Repeat once a week for squeaky clean brushes, according to dermatologist Debra Luftman, M.D., on Today.com.
6. Fight mildew & mold
Quickly take care of mold and mildew anywhere — from the shower curtain to a leaky basement, by spraying the dirty surface with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then scrub lightly and rinse. This process will both remove mold and mildew and kill bacteria, making for a thorough clean-up.
See also: 8 genius uses for old coffee grounds