How to store hydrogen peroxide

How To Store Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide, an effective and health-friendly disinfectant, has become a must-have product for every household.

And although it is now a necessity, most household owners are unaware of the Dos and Don’ts of storing it- because of which they regularly end up with bottles of expired hydrogen peroxide.

After reading through this guide, you’ll be better able to fully utilize every bit of hydrogen peroxide that a bottle provides.

Shelf life of Hydrogen Peroxide

Before you learn how to sustain your hydrogen peroxide better, you may be curious about how long you can expect it to last once it is stored properly.

Firstly you need to understand that the shelf life of hydrogen peroxide is different for a sealed and unsealed bottle. It also varies for different concentration levels.

A 3% hydrogen peroxide contained in a sealed bottle is likely to last around three years. A 3% hydrogen peroxide in an unsealed bottle should last around 6-12 months.

A 30- 35% hydrogen peroxide will last about 3 years in a sealed bottle. Once the seal is broken, it will last around 1-2 years.

Now keeping these figures in mind, assess whether your hydrogen peroxide has been decomposing faster than it should. If the answer is yes, you’re probably going wrong somewhere in how you store it.

Read on to identify and rectify your storage mistakes.

Store Hydrogen Peroxide in Original Opaque Container

This may cause some anxiety to the aesthetic wonders, who interchange packaging and bottles to match their tasteful home interior.

Nonetheless, switching the bottles of hydrogen peroxide is a grave mistake that many may make.

This is because glass bottles usually contain metal iron residues. When hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with these ions, it changes into water or evaporates as oxygen gas.

Hydrogen peroxide is also stored in these brown plastic bottles so that it can be sheltered from heat and light.

Store Hydrogen Peroxide Away From Heat and Ultra-violet Light

As we mentioned earlier, hydrogen peroxide must be sheltered from heat and ultra-violent light, and the eminent bottle is a blockade from those two catalysts.

As the compound comes in contact with heat or ultra-violet light, it breaks down and decomposes, leading to oxidation and, in turn, increased temperature.

This rising temperature indicates increased heat, which boosts the rate of decomposition. Every 10-degree Celsius rise in the temperature of hydrogen peroxide doubles the decomposition rate.

A question that arises is- since heat increases the decomposition rate, can refrigerating hydrogen peroxide slow down the rate of decomposition? Both common sense and science answer with a yes.

Store Hydrogen Peroxide in a Refrigerator or Freezer

Refrigerating or freezing hydrogen peroxide is a way of preserving hydrogen peroxide.

It is not possible for a 35% food-grade hydrogen peroxide to freeze in a normal freezer. This is because it freezes at -34°C, whereas the range of the average home freezer is between 0°C and -17.78°C.

This means that you can store high concentration hydrogen peroxide in your freezer and still be able to use it.

This also gives you a way of testing your 35% hydrogen peroxide reliability- if it can freeze, you will know that it is a fake or unreliable product.

On the other hand, 3-20% hydrogen peroxide can freeze in your freezer because its freezing point happens to be at or below -15°C. Therefore, if you plan on regularly using it, it would be recommended to store it in your refrigerator instead.

Beware that hydrogen peroxide can cause various health issues if it is consumed and hence make sure to label it very clearly and boldly and keep it out of your children’s reach.

Store Hydrogen Peroxide Away From Contaminants

This is where basic etiquettes come into play. First, pour the hydrogen peroxide solution onto the spoon rather than dipping your spoon inside.

Do not dip anything into the solution; this is not the cheese sauce to your nacho.

Be it your finger, a swab, a spoon- none are allowed to find their way inside that brown bottle. This happens to be the case because when hydrogen peroxide is exposed to contaminants, it breaks down faster.

Store Hydrogen Peroxide Away From Chemicals and Organic Materials

The bottom line is- keep hydrogen peroxide away from most substances, be it metals, acids, alkalis, organic materials, combustible materials, and oxidizing agents.

This happens to be the case for three main reasons.

Firstly, when hydrogen peroxide is combined with certain substances (i.e., ammonia and vinegar), it releases chlorine gas which was once used as a choking agent during world war 1. This should indicate the level of danger that it imposes on humans.

This case is very common as many household hacks require vinegar and ammonia to be used with hydrogen peroxide, without emphasizing the fact that they must be used one after the other.

Secondly, it must be noted that although hydrogen peroxide in itself does not lead to explosions, merging it with certain substances (i.e., chlorine and bleach) creates oxygen gas so violently that it causes a detonation.

Thirdly, intermixing two household cleaners has the ability to emit toxic fumes. When these fumes are not avoided, they can create a worst-case scenario, such as with the manager Ryan Baldera, who attempted to clean up the solution and died.

Better Sustained Hydrogen Peroxide

After fulfilling all the criteria required to store hydrogen peroxide properly, I’m sure you’ll notice the shelf life prolonged.

You’ll no longer have worry hanging over you about what could go wrong with hydrogen peroxide- you’ll have a clean, disinfected home, all the while not facing any health risks. Of course, saving dollars in the process is also a plus.

As a victory, you can pop open a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and get cleaning!

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