Hydrogen Peroxide: My Gentle Disinfectant

I use Hydrogen peroxide to disinfect. It is a gentler disinfectant than bleach, so it takes time to do its work rather than having immediate bacteria killing powers. I do purchase Clorox wipes and bleach on occasion when I know I will need something powerful and quick to nip something. For instance, in the old-farmhouse where we lived, the bathroom had very poor ventilation. So, black mold continually appeared on the walls and ceilings. I purchased bleach to clean it. I found the bleach not only quickly killed the mold, but whitened it so the spores no longer showed. I also used bleach to clean my toilets because we had unfiltered well water which I think promoted growth of a fungus in the toilets. Only the bleach worked to whiten and kill those spores. I also buy Clorox wipes on occasion. For instance, when we moved, we had a lot of cleaning to do, both in the old home and in the new, so I bought Clorox wipes to hasten those wipe-down jobs. Although I prefer a safer, gentler approach to sanitize my home on a regular basis, I have been known to use chemical methods as needed. Chemicals are only used after my gentle, natural methods are proven ineffective.

I get the diluted form of hydrogen peroxide from the first-aid aisle in a pharmacy. It is a 3% H2O2 solution, which from my reading has been proven to be more than enough to destroy harmful microbes. It comes in an opaque bottle because hydrogen peroxide is light sensitive and easily dissipates. As this link states from the CDC hydrogen peroxide turns into water and oxygen– a good thing when it comes to the environment and health safety. There are those who would disagree with me, but I do not believe hydrogen peroxide is safe for internal consumption. It is poorly absorbed by skin and safe to inhale, so I am comfortable using it to clean my home. I usually leave hydrogen peroxide in its original container, and squirt it out as needed. However, it could be used in a dark, opaque, spray bottle as well.

Hydrogen Peroxide is effective at whitening, killing most unfriendly bacteria, and is odorless, which is great for sensitive airways.
How I use Hydrogen Peroxide:

Bathroom Cleaner: I squirt a dry thin rag with hydrogen peroxide until the rag is well soaked. Then I wipe down my counter-tops, sinks, and sometimes even the floors in my bathroom. I squirt a few drops around my toilet rims, and use toilet paper to wipe it around and away. I do not use it in the shower currently, but if one feels the shower is in need of disinfecting, it could be used there after the shower or bath as a daily shower cleaner, or it could be used as a rinse after the soap scum and minerals have been scrubbed away.

General Sanitizing: In the same way a Clorox or Lysol wipe could be used, I use a cloth squirted with hydrogen peroxide to wipe down computer keyboards, remote controls, cell phones, door-knobs, and light switches.

Kitchen Uses: Hydrogen Peroxide can be used to clean up after cutting raw poultry. A small squirt on a counter or cutting board will disinfect. It can also be used to disinfect sinks, floors, counters, cupboard handles, and appliance surfaces. I just use a cloth with a good amount of hydrogen peroxide poured on it.

Fruit and Veggie Wash: Soaking fruits and vegetables in a water and hydrogen solution will help kill harmful bacteria. I use this method to clean my produce, especially, if I am doing bulk, food prep for canning or freezing. It takes about 10-15 minutes to adequately kill bacteria, so I let my veggies and fruit soak in the solution for that time, and sometimes even a bit longer. After a hydrogen peroxide soak, I rinse off the produce and scrub with a brush before preparing the food.

I know there are many more ways to enlist Hydrogen Peroxide in the home, but I tend to stick to what works for me at present. I am happy with its results. I bounce between my used of H2O2 and white vinegar as needed. I do believe vinegar has similar properties and can be used to help sanitize. But I am uncertain that it is quite as effective as hydrogen peroxide. And vinegar does have a potent smell, for those like me who don’t want their house to smell like pickles after they clean.

For more study on the scientific research done with hydrogen peroxide, I have posted helpful article from various state cooperative extensions and the CDC below:

Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities (2008)

Cleaning & Sanitizing the Kitchen
Using inexpensive household food-safe products

Medical Management Guidelines for Hydrogen Peroxide

On-farm Food Safety:
Cleaning and Sanitizing Guide