You’ve seen it at the pharmacy, and you probably have a brown bottle or two gathering dust somewhere in your bathroom. Hydrogen peroxide may be old-fashioned, but there are plenty of things you can do with it besides disinfecting cuts and scrapes.
Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a non-toxic green cleaner, and you might be amazed at how many areas in your house you can use it. A 16-ounce bottle of hydrogen peroxide usually rings up at around 99 cents, which makes it far cheaper than most commercially available cleaners. Alongside vinegar, baking soda and castile soap, peroxide is a valuable addition to your green cleaning arsenal.
- Clean your countertop. Put some hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle and go to town on your counters and cutting boards. Peroxide bubbles away any bacteria left over from preparing meat or poultry, and it helps loosen dried-on spills. Let it sit for a few minutes, scrub and then rinse clean.
- Scour pots and pans. For cookware with baked-on gunk, combine hydrogen peroxide with enough baking soda to make a paste. Rub it into the dirty pan and then let it sit for a while before scrubbing with a rough sponge and warm water.
- Wipe out your fridge. Spray your refrigerator inside and out with hydrogen peroxide, let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe away. Peroxide is non-toxic, making it great for anywhere you store food. It’s good for cleaning dishwashers, too.
- Clean your sponges. Let sponges soak for about 10 minutes in a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. Rinse them out thoroughly afterward.
- Whiten grout. If the grout between your kitchen or bathroom tiles has gotten dingy, spray it generously with hydrogen peroxide and let it sit for a while. It will probably bubble a bit. Return and scrub the area with an old toothbrush. You may have to repeat a few times, but you should notice grout getting brighter each time.
- Brighten floors. Add one cup of hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of hot water, and use the mixture to mop your floors. You can rinse afterward if you want, but because hydrogen peroxide is non-toxic, you don’t really have to.
- Clean the toilet bowl. Pour a cup of hydrogen peroxide into the toilet bowl. Let it sit for 20 minutes, and then scrub away.
- Pre-treat clothes. Soak stained clothing in a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and water. You can also add a cup of peroxide to a regular load of whites to make them come out brighter.
- Remove stains. Use your spray-bottle to spot-clean stained carpets, drapes, table clots or clothing. Let the peroxide sit for a few minutes — again, it may bubble — and then rinse with water.
- Eliminate odors. Smelly tennis shoes are no match for hydrogen peroxide. Spray some inside and let it bubble. Repeat if necessary and let dry.
Keep in mind: Extended exposure to light ruins the effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide, which is why it always comes in brown bottles. Keep hydrogen peroxide in an opaque container with the lid tightly sealed.