36 Survival Uses For Hydrogen Peroxide

Taylor Roatch
By Taylor Roatch January 22, 2018 08:55

36 Survival Uses For Hydrogen Peroxide

Chances are, you’ve got a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your medicine cabinet or first aid kit, or maybe even with your cleaning supplies. This common household item is also known by it’s chemical representation H202, and it is typically found in pharmacies and supermarkets in the pharmacy area. It’s commonly found in homes because it has several different applications, and it’s quite safe and effective compared to many other products that fulfill the same purposes. If you don’t currently have a bottle of hydrogen peroxide handy, here are a few reasons you might consider grabbing some at the next available opportunity.

Health Applications

  1. Wound cleansing- One of the most common applications of hydrogen peroxide is for wound care. Its antiseptic properties help reduce the risk of infection and the bubbling action helps fizz out any foreign particles.
  2. Cure boils- These painful puss-filled abscesses are often treated with hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Substitute mouthwash- In the absence of more traditional mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide can be used to help eliminate bacteria that thrives in the mouth, causing bad breath and tooth decay. Here is everything you need to know about dental care after SHTF.
  4. Get rid of ear wax buildup- Use a couple drops of hydrogen peroxide, followed by a couple drops of olive oil to help flush ear wax buildup out of your ears. Be sure to ask your doctor about this first, though!
  5. Eliminate foot fungus- Kill foot fungus by spraying feet with a combo of hydrogen peroxide and water nightly.
  6. Get rid of mites- While mites aren’t super-common in the developed world, you can use hydrogen peroxide to get rid of them.
  7. Reduce the risk of swimmer’s ear- To help keep this painful ear infection away, drop a couple drops of a combination of vinegar and H202 in each ear after swimming.
  8. Help other ear infections- You can use straight hydrogen peroxide dropped into the ears to help eliminate other types of ear infections, as well. Keep in mind that your doctor should be your go-to when you suspect an ear infection as they can be serious.
  9. Kill canker sores- These miserable mouth sores can be made better by swishing H202 around in the mouth for a few minutes.
  10. Drying up weepy rashes- It can be used, diluted appropriately, to help dry up weepy rashes like poison ivy.

Related: 18 Reasons to Stock Diatomaceous Earth for Survival

In the Bathroom

  1. Tile cleaner- Spray straight hydrogen peroxide on tile to clean it and help eliminate stains.
  2. Eliminate toilet bowl stains- There’s little in this world more unpleasant than a gross looking toilet even after you’ve cleaned it. Help get rid of those stains by pouring a half a bottle of H202 in the bowl and letting it sit for half hour before scrubbing and then flushing.
  3. Bleach grout- Make your tile sparkle by using hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to create a cleaning paste. Scrub with a toothbrush and rinse thoroughly.
  4. Disinfect toothbrushes- Many disinfectants absolutely don’t belong in our mouths under any circumstances, but you can use hydrogen peroxide to clean toothbrushes for a bacteria-free brushing experience.
  5. Kill mold- Spray it on hard surfaces that are showing signs of mildew or mold growth to stop the growth and eliminate discoloration.
  6. Glass cleaner- It can be used to clean grubby glass and mirrors. Just spray on and wipe away grime.
  7. Clean slimy bathtubs- Get rid of the grimy, soap-scummy ring around the tub by spraying hydrogen peroxide on and letting it sit for a while before scrubbing and finally rinsing.

Related: This Common Household Cleaner Has Over 50 Survival Uses

Kitchen Uses for H202

  1. Disinfect cleaning gear- Rags and sponges are a breeding ground for bacteria. Soak them in H2O2 to kill those gross germs.
  2. Clean cutting boards- Another haven for potentially dangerous germs, cutting boards can be sanitized with hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Sanitizing countertops- All kinds of things, both those we want to stay clean and those that are admittedly germy touch our countertops. Make sure to clean them in between with hydrogen peroxide to disinfect.
  4. Clean produce- Fruits and veggies from the store can be covered in all sorts of things you don’t want to eat, and a soak in hydrogen peroxide can help remove those things.
  5. Make your fridge spotless- There are inevitable messes in every fridge, but hydrogen peroxide can help.
  6. Lunchbox cleaning- Have you ever opened a grubby, moldy lunchbox that was forgotten in a locker by a kiddo and fought not to throw it out? No worries, disinfect with H2O2.
  7. Keep your grocery bags reusable – These are great for the environment, but not great for your family’s food supply if they get yucky. Spruce them up and eliminate funk with a spritz of hydrogen peroxide.

Personal Use

  1. Bleach nails- You can use it to whiten discolored nails so that you can more effectively rock a natural nail look.
  2. Help remove calluses and corns- Feet get calluses and corns. It’s kind of a fact of life. You can soak your feet in hydrogen peroxide and warm water to help soften them up for removal.
  3. Teeth whitener- It can also be used to whiten teeth. Just mix up a homemade toothpaste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and brush with it to help clean and whiten teeth. You can even add a drop of essential oil to the mix to make this whitening technique more palatable. Just like with regular fluoridated toothpaste, though, DO NOT SWALLOW! Also, keep in mind that this is a short-term solution. Using this method for a long time could damage your teeth.

Other Household Uses

  1. Clean carpet- Once you’ve tested on an inconspicuous area for bleaching, you can use hydrogen peroxide to eliminate stains on light colored carpet.
  2. Spruce up your whites- Whites inevitably get dingy, but a little H202 will bring them back to their original glory.
  3. Remove funky, musty smells from fabric- Just spray on a highly diluted mix of hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar to eliminate fabric odors.
  4. Get rid of organic stains- Things like grass, red wine, and coffee can cause stains in your fabrics, but a little hydrogen peroxide can help eliminate them from light fabrics.
  5. Disinfect humidifiers- Humidifiers can be great for your health, but they can be harmful when they’re run while dirty. Clean yours out with hydrogen peroxide once a week to keep mold and bacteria buildup at bay.
  6. Aquarium cleaning- It can be used to clean aquariums so long as you follow safety instructions to keep your fish healthy.
  7. Help seeds grow- Hydrogen peroxide can be used to help seeds germinate and, highly diluted with water, can help plants develop healthy roots.
  8. Pet wound care- It can be used on pets the same way it’s used on human wounds.
  9. Disinfect toys- Kids put stuff in their mouths, and it makes toys a harbor for bacteria if not cleaned regularly. You can use diluted hydrogen peroxide for that.

Be forewarned: taking hydrogen peroxide internally can be dangerous, and you should always speak with your doctor (or veterinarian in your animals’ case) before using home remedies like those found above. It will also bleach everything, from your skin to fabrics, so be cautious.

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Taylor Roatch
By Taylor Roatch January 22, 2018 08:55
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31 Comments

  1. Cap January 22, 18:00

    Hydrogen peroxide bubbles on a wound because it is reacting with peroxidase, an enzyme produced by the body to neutralyze a toxic material produced by the body’s metabolism, hydrogen peroxide. HP kills germs as well as healthy tissue, creating a larger wound. The once healthy tissue, now killed by peroxide, must be replaced before the wound can heal. In the ER we wash wounds clean with saline, mild salt water,. We don’t nuke them with perooxide

    Reply to this comment
    • jefe Gordo January 22, 19:10

      What is the effect of alcohol on wound washing. ?? I was taught in the military that the most sterile liquid available in a combat or P O W situation would be Urine.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck January 22, 19:47

        I don’t know if alcohol will cause further damage or not. I do know that IPA (isopropyl alcohol) must be 60% or greater to kill germs. It is used in hand sanitizer. The reason you see whiskey being poured into wounds in the movies is actually based on fact. The whiskey, even if it isn’t 120 proof or stronger, generally is sterile (see Cap’s comment about sterile water above) and washes out any dirt and debris and will wash out germs, even if it doesn’t kill ’em in the process. I would try to pour whiskey, wine, beer or Coca Cola (Pepsi if you are in a SNL skit) over a wound before I peed on it, given a choice.

        Reply to this comment
    • smooth one January 22, 19:32

      That’s a nice story but your wrong, just more misinformation put out by the medical community who would rather use a drug then an organic substance. The bodies killer cells of your immune system use H2O2 to kill foreign substances, viruses , bad bacteria, ETC. The bubbles of which you speak are from the reaction with bacteria and or catalase , the enzyme that breaks down H2O2 into water and oxygen, both of these are highly beneficial to the oxygenation of the body’s tissues. In addition in older times the native Americans and south Americans rubbed Honey on open wounds so they would heal. Honey when rubbed on the skin surface creates guess what ? , H2O2 so the wound can heal. Go back and do your own research and stop believing what those in the medical community told you. Hospitals are now starting to use H2O2 and ozone in clean rooms instead dangerous chemicals . They also told us Ozone was bad for use as it is a pollutant . Wrong again as Ozone is created in the atmosphere as the Ozone breaks down toxic chemical in the air. Ozone is a cleaner and positive for the atmosphere . Ozone and H2O2 are the only things know that can kill both bacteria and Viruses and cancer cells as these are all anaerobic . H2O2 was also used in the treatment of HIV in the 1980s. In 1987 it was presented in multiple studies to the FDA for trials for the treatment of HIV . It was sidelined that year because that’s when AZT came out and there was no money to be made with H2O2 as it is an organic substance. AZT however is a big money maker and its always about the money not what really works.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck January 22, 19:49

        Smooth One: I wonder if you could cite some reference material so that we can, as you suggest, do some research to form our own opinion?

        Reply to this comment
      • Johnny January 22, 22:40

        1. Ozone, EVEN in its highly diluted [3%] over the counter form, is an incredibly POWERFUL OXIDIZER!!! Therefore, any living tissue cells which it contacts [e.g., the ‘face’ surfaces of a cut] are instantly killed. I’ve read [senior moment block re source] that killing of wound face tissue inhibits good contact of the wound edges and thus inhibits quick healing [AND, I suspect also promotes scarring].

        2. You say, ‘Hospitals are now starting to use H2O2 and ozone in clean rooms instead of [SIC] dangerous chemicals .’ True, BUT… They are NOT using it on/in patient wounds; only on inanimate surfaces to KILL bacteria!!!

        Reply to this comment
      • TJ January 22, 23:53

        I’m with you! ! I love my peroxide!! My grandson had staff infection on ear lobe. I dabbed it with peroxide for about 30 minutes and kept wiping it off in between. Pulled the infection right out of there!! Love it. Too much bull out there!!

        Reply to this comment
    • Knowledge is power January 22, 20:24

      Thank you for this information, Cap. In my 6th decade of life and never knew this about peroxide. I was taught to use peroxide for any and everything. Will now fill (and label) empty peroxide bottles with a saline solution and place around house and garden for ppl use as well as animal use for cuts, scrapes, wounds. Blessings…God is Good all the time!

      Reply to this comment
  2. Ivy Mike January 23, 01:38

    I’ve worked and played outdoors all my life and there is never a time I don’t have cuts, scratches and abrasions. 99% of the time I just rinse them clean and put a bandaid or dressing on if they’re bleeding, never get infections. Products like triple action antibiotic cream and H2O2 don’t contribute much to wound care, outside of the tropics most minor cuts and abrasions heal right up, a healthy person’s immune system is an awesome thing. The worst cut I never treated was a 1″ gash to the bone on my left knuckle, I was wilderness camping and didn’t want to go to town to get stitched up. Healed w/o infection but left a very irritating mass of scar tissue that took another 20 years to mellow out. Wound care is a complex issue in a SHTF scenario, medical saline solution and a syringe for wound cleaning are absolute reqiurements, finding a sympathetic Physician to furnish you a rotating (for freshness) supply of antibiotics you can keep stashed is difficult. Organic gardeners think H2O2 is a miracle, meh…

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 23, 02:23

      After years of use (like since it first came on the market) I have developed an allergy to neosporin. It first appeared after my knee replacement surgery. The orthopedist recommended neosporin use on the incision while a couple spots were still open. Within 24 hours my skin was blistered and red. Quit that in a hurry. Blisters and rash went away without further symptoms.

      Some time later I had a nasty abrasion and applied neosporin again as I have done on many occasions in the past. Bingo! Within 24 hours another nasty looking rash popped up around the abrasion, which also had gotten nastier looking. Again quit the neosporin. Dematologist concurred and advised that many folks are allergic to neosporin. He recommended polysporin as a substitute. It works for me.

      I don’t know how long neosporin has been on the market but at least 30 – 40 years and I have used it many times with no adverse reaction until three years ago.

      Reply to this comment
      • SoJ_51 January 23, 07:46

        For a Great organic ‘Neosporin’ substitute, try making a ‘tincture’ of Yarrow and Plantain (NOT the ‘banana-like’ plantain, the Actual plantain-plant) leaves, boiled in olive oil, and balanced with a bit of beeswax to give it a ‘paste consistency’ (that will stick to skin, vs run off, as oil will) which is also an Excellent anti-itch / poison-ivy salve.. Try it!

        Reply to this comment
  3. drussell January 23, 06:08

    I found a 50/50 mix of HP and water used as a gargle a couple or so times a day will totally kill a nasty sore throat and stop the attacking cold in it’s tracks. Love it.

    Reply to this comment
    • Johnny January 23, 06:35

      Similar for me, not H2O2 but instead, about a half teaspoon of table salt to 8 ounces of warm water. Gargling with that 2 to 3 times a day stops the sore throat and blocks the severe cold that usually follows!

      Reply to this comment
  4. Lucy January 23, 15:41

    Interesting article and debate. If peroxide will help cold sores heal, that’s wonderful! I remember reading about l-lysine ointment for cold sores (which I just learned are not the same as canker sores, according to the website Dentistry iQ). And according to the World Health Organization study, TWO THIRDS of the world have herpes simplex virus type 1, which is the primary cause of cold sores! Highly contagious and incurable. Zowie! I read years ago that the primary spread came from people kissing babies. (The article blamed grandmothers.) I have read about l-Lysine ointment, which costs $4 – $5, and cold sores heal in 4 – 5 days instead of 10 – 15 days.

    In case anyone is considering taking an l-arginine supplement, let it be known that it supports the growth of the cold sore virus (herpes simplex 1), and l-lysine supresses it. Works for me!

    Reply to this comment
  5. sunflowersue January 24, 00:15

    For sore throats gargle with hot sauce mixed with a little warm water. Works wonders for me

    Reply to this comment
  6. Mace January 24, 22:26

    I’ve used HP since born. Never had a problem and still use it. Not everyone is chemically the same. Use what works and stay with it unless an issue arises.

    Reply to this comment
    • Left Coast Chuck January 25, 02:58

      Too true! While theoretically there are only two basic models, the variations are amazing. Prior to CAT scans, many times a doctor would open a patient up for, say, an appendectomy only to say, “Where’s the d – – -d appendix? It’s supposed to be here” and have to go fishing around to remove the infected sucker. Fortunately, major organs are located approximately where they are supposed to be, i.e.. your brain in in your head although for some people, it is located in another portion of their anatomy. The heart is in the chest, although, again, for some people that organ is totally missing. The stomach is located mid-thorax except some peoples’ stomach occupies the entire thorax. The feet generally are located at the end of the legs although some people have feet located in their mouths. And some peoples’ heads are not located on the top of their neck but in a body cavity somewhat lower on the torso.

      This was an attempt at humor. Hope it generated a laugh for you.

      Reply to this comment
  7. steve January 25, 19:07

    dont remember if it was korea or veit nam but a mash unit ran out of alcohol, which they used to flush the gut of gut wounded soldiers, so they tried hydrogen peroxide and discovered that the survival rate of those that were treated with hydrogen peeroxide increased by about 90%

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 26, 05:43

      I went on line to see if I could find any reference to H2O2 usage in army MASH units. I didn’t find anything, however on Wikipedia I did find an interesting discussion which I post here for your perusal. In particular please note that “it is now thought. . .” which means that there is no peer-reviewed testing to prove the theory that H2O2 inhibits healing. It is only a theory and not a proven fact. In addition please note “Surgical use can lead to gas embolism.” While H2O2 might have been used as suggested during war emergency to reduce peritonitis, the danger of gas embolism probably precludes such use now. I would point out that as far as I could determine, none of the hypotheses outlined in this article have been peer reviewed nor edited.

      “Historically hydrogen peroxide was used for disinfecting wounds, partly because of its low cost and prompt availability compared to other antiseptics. It is now thought to inhibit healing and to induce scarring because it destroys newly formed skin cells. Only a very low concentration of H2O2 can induce healing, and only if not repeatedly applied. Surgical use can lead to gas embolism formation. Despite this it is still used for wound treatment in many developing countries.

      “Dermal exposure to dilute solutions of hydrogen peroxide cause whitening or bleaching of the skin due to microembolism caused by oxygen bubbles in the capillaries.” LCC NOTE: You can prove or disprove this theory on your own.

      “Cosmetic applications
      Diluted H2O2 (between 1.9% and 12%) mixed with ammonium hydroxide is used to bleach human hair. The chemical’s bleaching property lends its name to the phrase “peroxide blonde’. LCC NOTE: When I was a young lad, long, long ago and far, far away we called them bottle blondes.

      “Hydrogen peroxide is also used for tooth whitening. It can be found in most whitening toothpastes. Hydrogen peroxide has shown positive results involving teeth lightness and chroma shade parameters. It works by oxidizing colored pigments onto the enamel where the shade of the tooth can indeed become lighter. Hydrogen peroxide can be mixed with baking soda and salt to make a home-made toothpaste. LCC NOTE: If it bleaches your fingers, I wonder what it does to your gums?

      “Hydrogen peroxide may be used to treat acne, although benzoyl peroxide is a more common treatment.

      “Use in alternative medicine
      Practitioners of alternative medicine have advocated the use of hydrogen peroxide for various conditions, including emphysema, influenza, AIDS and cancer, although there is no evidence of effectiveness and in some cases it may even be fatal.

      “The practice calls for the daily consumption of hydrogen peroxide, either orally or by injection and is, in general, based around two precepts. First, that hydrogen peroxide is naturally produced by the body to combat infection; and second, that human pathogens (including cancer: See Warburg hypothesis) are anaerobic and cannot survive in oxygen-rich environments. The ingestion or injection of hydrogen peroxide is therefore believed to kill disease by mimicking the immune response in addition to increasing levels of oxygen within the body. This makes it similar to other oxygen-based therapies, such as ozone therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

      “Both the effectiveness and safety of hydrogen peroxide therapy is scientifically questionable. Hydrogen peroxide is produced by the immune system but in a carefully controlled manner. Cells called phagocytes engulf pathogens and then use hydrogen peroxide to destroy them. The peroxide is toxic to both the cell and the pathogen and so is kept within a special compartment, called a phagosome. Free hydrogen peroxide will damage any tissue it encounters via oxidative stress; a process which also has been proposed as a cause of cancer. Claims that hydrogen peroxide therapy increase cellular levels of oxygen have not been supported. The quantities administered would be expected to provide very little additional oxygen compared to that available from normal respiration. It should also be noted that it is difficult to raise the level of oxygen around cancer cells within a tumor, as the blood supply tends to be poor, a situation known as tumor hypoxia. LCC NOTE: Notice that they don’t say that it can’t happen but that it is “scientifically questionable” They do, however, give the reasons why they feel it is so.

      “Large oral doses of hydrogen peroxide at a 3% concentration may cause irritation and blistering to the mouth, throat, and abdomen as well as abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Intravenous injection of hydrogen peroxide has been linked to several deaths.”

      So there you have it. While the the article has not been peer reviewed nor edited, I personally prefer an opinion that lists bases for its statements and offers them as possibilities or probabilities as opposed to making them a flat out dictum.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Wicked January 26, 12:13

    I think the best message here is to note that too much of anything is not a good thing. Immunities, allergies, toxicity build-up, etc. can occur with too much of anything (think of that last all-night binge with your BFF’s). Using any one chemical or product as a “cure all” is not in your better interest. Certainly, if there are no other options available in a SHTF situation, that’s one thing, but any Prepper is going to have a myriad of products/chemicals hopefully stashed and available for best-use situation. Thanks to all of you for diversity of opinions and proofs… as it is by “stating and questioning” we separate myth and fact. Cheers!

    Reply to this comment
  9. spike January 26, 21:37

    A few years ago I tore the stitches out of a small surgery on my hand which left a 1/4″ gap to heal the slow way. After a week and no healing progress I went back to the doctor. He explained to me that those fibers reaching across the wound WAS NOT puss but skin tissue and I was killing that new tissue with the alcohol and HP I was using trying to clean up the puss. Started to see immediate results towards healing when I followed his instructions of keeping the wound covered, dry and cleaning with mild soap and water once a day. Lately I’ve read to leave a wound covered and dry and not washing it regularly. My daughter is a new doctor and she says research is saying to only apply an antibiotic cream initially after the injury and then no longer after than unless an infection is starting to take foot.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 27, 19:39

      I am currently being treated for an abscess in my gum caused by a failed root canal filing from 30 years ago. The endodontist used a clorox solution to clean out the infected cavity before she inserted the temporary antibiotic filing to combat the infection. I mentioned that I could taste the clorox, although it was the smell rather than actual taste as they had a dam in my mouth to keep the infected material and the cleansing agent isolated. She quickly asserted that it was medical clorox, not gotten from the local Safeway but basically, yes, it was clorox. I don’t know what the dilution was. I suspect it was quite weak but the application was very interesting. I think I will check with her on my next visit to see what the dilution was. The filling they are going to put in the root canal is an old, old material going back to the 19th century. They have tried all kinds of new materials that were supposed to be improved over the old filling, but gutta percha, the filling material from the 19th century is once again the preferred material to fill the root canal when the nerve has been removed. A more familiar use for some would be as scales for pistol grips. Many late 19th century, early 20th century pistols came with gutta percha grips. Gutta percha was also used to insulate the early transatlantic cables from degradation by sea water. I don’t know what they use today, but wouldn’t be surprised if once again it is back to gutta percha.

      Reply to this comment
  10. eric the red January 27, 19:06

    I had mold i my basement and was told to use peroxide on the wooden parts, but the brick and concrete to use bleach. It has something to do with the way wood is more porous than concrete so peroxide is more effective. And the bleach is better on more solid surfaces like concrete.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Grammyprepper January 28, 04:20

    Keep in mind that open bottles of peroxide degrade over time, much like bleach does. Also know that there are different strengths of peroxide. 3% is the strength sold and used most often. The higher percentage has different uses than the OTC version.

    Reply to this comment
    • Spike January 28, 16:19

      How long will an unopened bottle of HP last?

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck January 31, 05:40

        Questions like “How long will X last?” leave open too many variables for anyone to give a meaningful answer. The date listed on the bottle is probably the best approximation anyone can give.

        Shelf life significantly depends upon the temperature at which the product is stored. Humidity also plays a part. Exposure to sunlight or some artificial sources of light can play a part. Exposure to air can affect shelf life. The type of vessel the product is stored in can affect shelf life.

        Those are just factors that come to mind right away. I am confident that I have not listed all the factors that affect shelf life.

        My personal guideline for clorox is, if the disinfecting strength that I use causes mold to disappear, the clorox is probably still effective as a disinfectant. If my disinfectant solution sits on the mold overnight and the mold hasn’t changed appearance, the clorox is history. Unscientific, I know, but I really don’t want to go to the expense and effort to buy a chlorine testing kit and do chlorine testing. Gotta just draw the line somewhere.

        I am confident that there are other reasonable opinions regarding shelf life, but that is mine.

        If you open the can of meat and you go “Whew!” and almost throw up, that is a significant sign you shouldn’t eat that can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew.

        Reply to this comment
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