Did you know that out of the 70% water found on Earth, only an estimated 1% is safe for human consumption? We’re not even talking about drinking water but rather the water used for various household purposes!
The water crisis is getting worse day by day, due to which people are inventing new methods to purify water. Saline and ocean-based water make up a large proportion of the total water content which is why purification processes have targeted those bodies of water more.
An underrated way for water purification that is now gaining popularity is using hydrogen peroxide for purification purposes.
You’re probably wondering how hydrogen peroxide, a toxic chemical used in removing stains and odors, can purify water and make it drinkable. Well, don’t worry as we’re going to cover everything in this article. From why it is an ideal water purifier to how you can use it, we will explain everything.
Yes! You Can Purify Water With Hydrogen Peroxide!
We’re sure many of you are left confused on whether or not this is true. We guarantee you this method has been tried and proven by the University of Cardiff.
They claimed that hydrogen peroxide is an instant disinfectant and is 100 times more efficient compared to its commercial counterparts.
An easy-to-use and accessible method, it can provide clean drinking water to nations across the world that suffer from scarcity of water due to unhygienic conditions.
As hydrogen peroxide can dissociate into water and hydrogen, it removes contaminants and is environmentally friendly, leading to its rise in popularity amongst purification plants. We’ll get more into that next.
Benefits of Purifying Water With Hydrogen Peroxide
When you think about hydrogen peroxide, water purification is not the first thing that comes to mind. But once you get to know the benefits of using it, especially in large-scale commercial purification processes, you’ll wonder why you didn’t opt for it sooner.
It Is The Best Oxidizing Agent Out There!
It is no secret that hydrogen peroxide is an incredibly strong oxidizing agent. Many would argue that it tops the list, beating others such as permanganate and osmium tetroxide. With commercial production of hydrogen peroxide ramping up, it has shifted well into the spotlight as people’s first choice for oxidizing agents.
Oxidizing agents are extremely beneficial for several reasons. Industries have to go through hundreds of chemical reactions daily to meet product demands. Just like any other company, water purification plants also need strong oxidizing agents that can effectively perform redox reactions within the water, ensuring its purity and cleanliness.
Gets Rid of Pathogens With An Iron Hand!
Some of the few well-known properties of hydrogen peroxide since it was introduced are as an antiseptic and antimicrobial. These are the same properties that make it so useful in water filtration and purification.
A strong oxidizing agent and disinfectant, hydrogen peroxide is commonly used on wounds and scrapes. This is to prevent bacterial colony growth or sepsis around open wounds. Getting the job done efficiently, is widely sold in pharmacies and drug stores. It is also an essential component of ‘First Aid Kits’.
It acts as an ideal disinfectant when used in water. Killing off bacteria and other harmful microorganisms with a success rate of up to 99%, you can use hydrogen peroxide to clear out all microbes from a sample of water, leaving only pure water.
While purifying water, it can react with various impurities such as excess ions or minerals. This is a key point accredited to its usefulness as a large portion of the water that comes in for purification is from wells or the ocean.
Both these bodies of water are loaded with various impurities, which can be hazardous if ingested.
Is Harmless When Used Appropriately!
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about water disinfectants is definitely how viable the water is after the entire disinfection process. You’ll find several different disinfectants on the market.
Some change the taste of the water, while others add trace chemicals to kill microbes already present. You might even see discrepancies in water provided by different corporations. But if you just want pure drinkable water without additives? If that’s what you’re looking for, hydrogen peroxide is the way to go.
Due to its unique dissociation property, hydrogen peroxide splits into oxygen and water after usage. This is not only eco-friendly but adds to the water’s oxygen saturation as well. The extra oxygen radicals then decompose pollutants, leaving behind pure, natural water without any extra additives.
A major plus point for filter plants that market themselves as environmentally friendly as this chemical used as a disinfectant is harmless to the environment and the water they’re used in.
Cheaper And More Easily Accessible Than The Alternatives!
Chemicals aren’t cheap, especially when you need them in bulk. They require a lot of different processes and prerequisites to be made, sky-rocketing their prices. This isn’t the case with hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is now available in every other grocery store, pharmacy, or supermarket. The reason? Its versatile nature.
From bleaching to cosmetic products, hydrogen peroxide is used in almost every industry. Due to this fact, the manufacturing of lower concentrations of hydrogen peroxide has started on a much larger scale than before.
Not only does this increases availability in different areas, but it also decreases prices significantly. This drop in prices made it cheaper and more affordable for many households.
With the introduction of lower concentrations of hydrogen peroxide made for domestic usages, such as 35% food-grade hydrogen peroxide or 3% hydrogen peroxide, you can find whatever concentration suits your purpose best. It also removes the restraint of buying the standard concentration and having to dilute it yourself.
The industrial-level concentrations are not only much pricier, but they can also be a nuisance to dilute at home every time hydrogen peroxide is required. This can save people a lot of money by directly buying lower concentrations.
Using It Is Reasonably Straightforward!
Unlike most additives or disinfectants, using hydrogen peroxide is extremely simple. You do not require any heavy machinery or factory-level requirements. As you’ll see ahead, using hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant is pretty straightforward and can be done at home without any hassle!
This is a great addition for third-world countries that do not possess the infrastructure to carry out large-scale filtration. Individuals wanting to carry out humanitarian missions in wartorn countries or visiting lesser developed areas can use hydrogen peroxide to always have a portable purification system at the ready.
Oceans stretch all over the world, and it is rare to see a country with no possible source of water, except in cases of drought.
Once we explain how hydrogen peroxide is used in water purification, you’ll get to see why we claim for it to be an incredibly easy way to receive pure, drinkable water.
Hydrogen peroxide has all the requirements to act on the water as a disinfectant. Why is that important? We’ll tell you why.
As soon as you pour some hydrogen peroxide solution into a sample of contaminated water, it will instantly start removing impurities such as excess ions, minerals, microorganisms, etc. Requiring no additional catalysts or starters, hydrogen peroxide can get the job done all on its own.
Besides being a self-reliant disinfectant, it is also fast and efficient. Its antimicrobial properties kick in as soon as it comes into contact with a microorganism, clearing it from the sample. It can also remove other pollutants by dissociating into water and oxygen, where the excess oxygen radicals react with pollutants to provide you with fresh, drinkable water.
You should have a good idea now about why hydrogen peroxide is an optimal choice for water purification and the mechanism behind it. But how do you use it? What do you need? And lastly, how much is too much? Read ahead to find out.
How To Purify Water Using Hydrogen Peroxide – Tank Water
Water is an essential component of our daily lives. That much is true. But not all water needs to be purified to the same extent or in the same way. Water for bathing must be cleansed of anything harmful to our skin, while drinking water needs to be purified of all bacterial microorganisms.
There are three major categories of water we’ll talk about. Tank water, drinking water, and water for domestic usage. These have been classed according to the chores they’re used for.
Tank water is mostly for bathing or washing clothes and dishes. This category needs the least filtration as it is used majorly on inanimate objects.
What You Need
We talked about the simplicity of using hydrogen peroxide in water purification, and we’re not going back on our word. All you need to purify water using hydrogen peroxide is:
- 2 mL of 35% hydrogen peroxide
- 1 gallon of tap water
- 50 mL of chlorine (optional)
How to Use
If you want to purify a sample of water you’re going to use it to wash the dishes or do laundry. This approach works best. All you need to do is pour the 2 mL 35% food-grade hydrogen peroxide into the gallon of water. If you don’t trust hydrogen peroxide completely, you can add 50 mL of chlorine.
Let it sit overnight, as the chlorine will take time to work through.
Both these disinfectants work together to get rid of every contaminant. We’re using 1 gallon of water as you’ll need approximately 2 mL of hydrogen peroxide for every gallon of water.
Chlorine can be used paired with hydrogen peroxide as it will, later on, get rid of any by-products and odors left behind by the chlorine, neutralizing the chlorine flavor in the water.
How To Purify Water Using Hydrogen Peroxide – Drinking Water
The second category we’re talking about is drinking water. This is probably the most important category as you will be ingesting this water, meaning it should be completely safe and clear.
Even the slightest of impurity in drinking water can prove to be detrimental. Therefore, you should be extra cautious in this regard! Moreover, this is why you should opt for perhaps the best antimicrobial agent out there!
What You Need
For this method, you should use 3% hydrogen peroxide. Higher concentrations may affect the pH of water itself and cause irritation or burning sensations when you drink it. DO NOT use chlorine for this method as it and its by-products are toxic to our body’s internal environment. You will require:
- 1 liter of tap water
- 1 mL of 3% hydrogen peroxide
How to Use
When going about this approach, you should be extremely cautious of the concentration you are using. Always use it on a small sample first. In the case, it is not drinkable and you attempted it on a large scale, the water will not remain viable any longer.
Pour the 3% hydrogen peroxide into the liter of tap water. Hydrogen peroxide is an extremely fast-acting disinfectant so it should not take it long to clear the pollutants found in the water.
Once you see there is no active reaction taking place, you can try it out to see if it is drinkable and should be done on a larger scale or if adjustments need to be made.
How To Purify Water Using Hydrogen Peroxide – Water for Domestic Usage
The last category we’ll be talking about is water used for domestic purposes such as cooking. Every dish needs some amount of water, and if the water isn’t clean, it can easily contaminate the entire dish. This is why pure, healthy water is a necessity when it comes to making food.
What You Need
For this approach as well as the last, you should always use 3% hydrogen peroxide. This is because, as we mentioned before, higher concentrations can be detrimental to your health. DO NOT use chlorine for this method as it and its by-products are toxic to our body’s internal environment. You’ll need:
- 1 gallon of tap water
- 2mL of 3% hydrogen peroxide
How to Use
If you’re preparing water that is to be used for cooking purposes, you’ll need a moderate amount of cleanliness. The heat in cooking can also help kill off various microorganisms but cannot get rid of excess minerals or ions that may prove harmful for us.
Simply pour the 3% hydrogen peroxide into the gallon of water and let it do its thing. After a while, it should be absolutely clear and ready for cooking purposes.
Hydrogen Peroxide vs Chlorine – What’s Best For Purifying Water?
It has been a long-standing debate about which of these two disinfectants is better and should be used commercially: hydrogen peroxide or chlorine?
When you visit community pools or farmhouses, you will often hear them talking about adding chlorine to the pools to kill off bacterial spores. This has been a long-established method of purifying water but is now being challenged by modern research.
Researchers today claim that hydrogen peroxide is a much better and safer alternative to chlorine as a disinfectant. There are several reasons why.
Chlorine, when added to water, breaks up and leaves behind chemical by-products in the water. Previously disregarded as harmless, new information proves that these by-products can be extremely detrimental to health.
Some of the by-products are carcinogenic, meaning they activate the cancer genes in our body. Using it on a commercial level could significantly affect the lives of millions. This is why chlorine is now being substituted with hydrogen peroxide for the disinfection process.
Residual Odors and Taste
Another off-setting point about chlorine is the aftertaste it leaves behind. If you’ve ever been to a pool where they’ve recently added chlorine or the water from your tap tasted different, chances are chlorine was added to them to kill off the bacteria and filter it.
Before the introduction of hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant, chlorine had been the sole option for water filtration plants, so the odors and varying taste just had to be accepted. Now that hydrogen peroxide, a chemical with no trace odors left behind, can be used, purifying plants are considering it to remove any suspicious tastes and provide fresh, pure water to the consumers.
We’ve talked about how hydrogen peroxide is very environmentally friendly. Chlorine, on the other hand, is not. Forming carcinogenic by-products, can also severely affect crops and plant-based products.
This makes the water less reliable and decreases usage as farmers will opt for other routes. Having one of the highest water usages across the board, the agriculture industry opting out would be very disappointing.
Is It Safe to Purify Water With Hydrogen Peroxide?
We’ve elaborated several times on the precautions that should be taken while dealing with hydrogen peroxide, but don’t let those steer you away from a great product.
Although it should be dealt with caution, hydrogen peroxide is completely safe to add to water. It will kill every germ or microbe present all the while removing other pollutants that may not show up in tests.
Aside from that, it leaves behind no traces. When decomposing, hydrogen peroxide breaks down into oxygen and water. This is very beneficial as it increases the purity of water by adding excess oxygen to it.
Oxygen radicals present in the water then take care of any remaining pollutants that could harm you. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to purify water as it is environmentally AND human-friendly. Hence, we can safely conclude that hydrogen peroxide, if used appropriately, is totally safe!
What Concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide is Ideal to Purify Water?
3% hydrogen peroxide, without any question! We know many people might like to try with higher concentrations thinking it may give them better results, but that is not the case. Hydrogen peroxide is an extremely toxic chemical that can be detrimental if ingested.
3% hydrogen peroxide is made specifically for domestic uses meaning addition to home-use water will not harm the individuals using it.
Concentrations above 3% may have varying results. But once dissolved in the water, they can burn or irritate when applied to the skin or ingested.
They will greatly reduce the neutral pH of the water and can also cause issues in the internal environment of the body. So always look to use nothing higher than 3% hydrogen peroxide to be safe and receive usable drinking water.
For industrial purposes or usage besides drinking, other concentrations may be opted for such as 35% food-grade hydrogen peroxide for washing clothes and dishes.
Safety Precautions to Take At All Times!
Regardless of the concentration, hydrogen peroxide is still a dangerous chemical to handle. It can easily burn or scar your skin if used carelessly. Here are some general guidelines you should follow while using hydrogen peroxide.
- Always use splash goggles and gloves to avoid direct skin contact
- Eye-wash and shower stations should always be accessible
- Have open ventilation to allow toxic fumes to escape rather than be inhaled in case of emergency
- An authorized vapor respirator should be present for respiratory issues
- Do not ingest or consume hydrogen peroxide as it is extremely toxic
- In the case it is ingested, contact medical professionals immediately to receive medical aid
- Hydrogen peroxide produces a burning sensation when coming in contact with the skin. For this method, that is required, but if irritation becomes unbearable, immediately wash it off and let your skin heal before trying again.
- Should be disposed of in a manner approved by law in accordance with federal, state, local environmental control regulations
- Keep away sources of heat, ignition, or moisture at all times. Store in a dry, tightly closed container
Following these regulations is crucial. Although hydrogen peroxide is extremely handy, it can be dangerous as well if used carelessly as it is a caustic chemical!
The Take-Home Point
If you’re looking for a takeaway from this entire article, it’s definitely how useful hydrogen peroxide can be in the purification process of water. No waste products, eco-friendly, cost-effective, and simple to use, it does not get much better than that.
Therefore, order your set of hydrogen peroxide bottles today!