Non conventional uses of hydrogen peroxide

Non-Conventional Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is the king of functionality and versatility! It is a chemical of many talents. Most of them stem from its three fundamental properties: disinfecting, cleansing, and bleaching.

But do you know these properties can be collectively used in many unique and intriguing procedures? By effectively mixing hydrogen peroxide and using it in a certain way, it can be used in unthinkable procedures!

Are you excited to discover and learn how to perform them too? So without further ado, let’s begin!

You Might Already Be Using Hydrogen Peroxide For:

1. Disinfecting Items

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the supreme disinfecting agents available in the market. But of its non-specific bactericidal action and high functionality, it is widely used in homes, offices, and industries.

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to disinfect fruits, vegetables, kitchen counters, bathrooms, furniture, and anything else that has suspected bacterial growth!

2. Cleaning Wounds

Hydrogen peroxide has established itself as one of the oldest and important chemical agents to clean wounds. This functionality of hydrogen peroxide can be summarized into two simple phenomena: non-specificity and non-toxicity.

The oxygen hydrogen peroxide liberates can eliminate pathogens without any discrimination. Therefore, during the sudden onset of injury, hydrogen peroxide is the best bet as it can eliminate all types of pathogens.

The second important property of hydrogen peroxide is its non-toxicity. After killing germs, hydrogen peroxide breaks down into harmless water and oxygen. Which makes it a viable tool for human use and cleaning wounds.

3. Whitening Teeth

Bleaching is one of the other vital properties hydrogen peroxide has to offer. The oxygen liberation in the form of free reactive species also functions to remove pigments and stains. It can be attributed to the reaction of oxygen with colored substances, converting them into colorless ones.

Similarly, our teeth come into contact with foods having all kinds of pigments. Oftentimes they accumulate to give teeth a dul, yellow appearance. Hydrogen peroxide can save you a lot of time and energy by effectively removing tooth stains.

4. Sterilizing Equipment

The sterilization process is one of the most important medical procedures. Doctors and surgeons require instruments to inspect the patients. A lot of procedures are invasive and involve direct contact with the patient’s blood and plasma. This leads to the risk of transmission of many blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis.

Therefore, it is paramount to thoroughly clean and sterilize medical instruments before using them again for procedures. Hydrogen peroxide effectively performs this task by sterilizing all types of instruments, even those that are heat-sensitive. Hydrogen peroxide sterilizes the equipment using low-temperature sterilization methods.

5. Dying Hair

The bleaching property of hydrogen peroxide also manifests itself as an important product in the fashion and beauty industry. It is a famous bleaching agent which can be used for a variety of beauty procedures like dying your hair, manicure, and pedicure.

The effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide stems from its ease of use and non-toxic byproducts. All of these factors crown hydrogen peroxide as the secret ingredient of many beauty salons and spas.

6. Managing Skin Conditions

The last but certainly not the least task hydrogen peroxide performs is in the form of topical creams for the skin. Hydrogen peroxide has shown certain anti-inflammatory and healing properties (further discussed below). Therefore, it can be used as an ingredient in topical creams and lotions.

Some of the most common skin inflammatory diseases that you can treat with hydrogen peroxide include acne vulgaris, eczema, and topical dermatitis.

Some Unconventional Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide

Irrigation During Surgery

The use of hydrogen peroxide in medicine dates back to the 19th Century. The high functionality of hydrogen peroxide stems from its disinfecting and possibly wound healing properties. Both of them are made possible due to the presence of free oxygen.

Similarly, hydrogen peroxide is used to sterilize the surgical tools as well as helping patients in wound irrigation. Let’s have a clearer look at how hydrogen peroxide can perform these tasks!

Antimicrobial Properties

Hydrogen peroxide is a universally acclaimed antimicrobial and antiseptic agent. It provides broad-spectrum protection against all kinds of gram-positive, gram-negative bacteria, bacteria spores, viruses, and yeasts. Hydrogen peroxide attacks the cell wall of microorganisms, therefore gram-positive bacteria are more prone to hydrogen peroxide attack.

Moreover, when hydrogen peroxide comes into contact with a specific microorganism, it releases reactive oxygen species (ROS). Under normal circumstances, the organism has adequate antioxidant enzymes to combat them. However, because of hydrogen peroxide action, an immense number of ROS are released inside the pathogen cell. These are responsible for oxidizing important cellular structures like DNA, proteins, and essential enzymes.

Therefore, various studies point towards the fact that hydrogen peroxide is very effective in controlling infections. More particularly at times when the body is immune-compromised e.g. post-surgery.


Unlike the disinfecting properties of hydrogen peroxide, the hemostasis properties are not well-known. One of the major challenges surgeons face after an operation is managing hemorrhage and blood loss. Fortunately, hydrogen peroxide is one of the agents that can help them achieve this vital task.

One ground-breaking study clearly shows hydrogen peroxide’s efficacy in controlling blood loss. This study was conducted on adult mongrel dogs. Blood loss per area per minute was monitored before and after treatment of injured sites with 3% hydrogen peroxide solution in the control group. The results showed drastically lower blood loss from the sites that were treated with hydrogen peroxide.

The mechanism for hydrogen peroxide-induced hemostasis is complex and not well-understood. But according to researchers, hydrogen peroxide induces blood platelets via the cyclooxygenase pathway and stimulates clotting.

In the light of this evidence, we can safely say that hydrogen peroxide treatment can ensure speedy recovery in patients who went under incisions and surgeries!

Wound Healing

Hydrogen peroxide has also shown some regenerative properties inside mitotically active cells. However, this domain is somewhat controversial with a handful of studies in favor of hydrogen peroxide while some against it.

However, according to trusted articles, hydrogen peroxide can induce wound healing in the following ways:

  • Reducing inflammation by stimulating fibrosis of the wound (fibroblast proliferation).
  • Inducing growth factors (PDGF, VEGF, TGF-b)
  • Epithelization of the wound

Thus, all of these amazing properties make hydrogen peroxide one of the best tools in the irrigation and management of surgical wounds!

Monitoring Asthma

Asthma is one of the leading respiratory diseases worldwide. It is a hypersensitivity reaction in response to a certain allergen. Asthma is reversible and can be managed using inhalers. The hallmark of asthma is eosinophilia inside the lung interstitium. However, this procedure requires a couple of days to get results. Is there a quicker way we can monitor asthma and determine the status of a patient?

Asthma and Hydrogen Peroxide

Before we can conclude hydrogen peroxide as a diagnostic tool for asthma, we first have to understand its mechanism.

As mentioned above, asthma is a hypersensitive reaction that results in the contraction of smooth muscles and in turn, constriction of the airway passage. This vasoconstriction is caused by a variety of immune cells including the eosinophils. Eosinophils are cells that have several cytokines that can induce the contraction of smooth muscle cells. Moreover, they are known to release oxidative species (as hydrogen peroxide) through the superoxide anions (O2-) than any other immune cell. These cells cause oxidative stress inside the airway passage.

The superoxide anion released is rapidly metabolized into H2O2 or hydrogen peroxide. Formed hydrogen peroxide may diffuse into the airway lining fluid and evaporate into the exhaled air.

Hydrogen Peroxide Monitoring

A high amount of eosinophil inside the lung interstitium (fluid surrounding the cell) is a hallmark of asthma. Therefore, one can predict that a higher number of eosinophils is attributed to higher oxidative stress and in turn, a higher amount of hydrogen peroxide exhaled in the People, especially those who own pets must know the proper way to induce vomiting in their pets.

Why Hydrogen Peroxide

According to many expert veterinarians, hydrogen peroxide is the only safe chemical to induce vomiting in your dog. It can induce vomiting in your pet without the risk of further poisoning or trauma to inner mucosal linings.

Contrary to internet rumors, using salt or mustard is certainly not effective in emesis in dogs and may even lead to further poisoning.

Keeping a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide at home is always a wise decision, more so if you own a pet. Domestic pets like dogs and cats are allergic to some of the most common food items present at homes. They include (and are not limited to) chocolates, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, avocado, and corn on the cob.

Dogs are one of the most active and playful pets to have. They are inquisitive about most things and have an innate temptation to chew on them. As a result, chocolate poisoning is one of the most common causes of dog deaths worldwide. Therefore, knowing the proper protocol to induce vomiting in your pet can save their lives!

The Procedure

Before starting the procedure, make sure to calculate the adequate amount of hydrogen peroxide you need to induce vomiting. The general rule of thumb is using two teaspoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide per 25 pounds of dog’s weight. This means if your dog weighs 75 pounds (average dog weight), six teaspoons are more than enough. Regardless of the size of your dog, the dosage should not exceed 12 teaspoons!

It goes without saying but make sure the hydrogen peroxide you are using is not expired.

  • Make sure to calm down your dog if it’s agitated
  • Take the calculated amount of 3% hydrogen peroxide in a syringe
  • Gently lift your dog’s face and pour the syringe inside its mouth
  • Some of the hydrogen peroxide solution will start to drool out but gradually the dog will start to swallow
  • Do not worry if you notice foaming in your dog’s mouth (its oxygen from hydrogen peroxide bubbles)

You should avoid emesis if it’s late and your dog has started showing signs of poisoning e.g. racing heartbeat, trembling, high agitation, etc. Seek medical help in that case instead of performing the procedure on your own.

The steps to induce vomiting are simple and easy to follow. However, they can be easily misdirected and prone to errors if precautions are not followed. One of the foremost is not consulting your veterinarian before inducing vomiting. Because some allergens should not be taken out once they are ingested, as there is a risk of further corrosion to the food-canal on their way up.

Decontaminating Used N95 Respirators

The COVID-19 virus took the world by storm and changed the way most of us spent our lives. Apart from being an immense challenge to the healthcare field, it also puts a fair share of the burden on the management resources. One of them includes Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like N95 masks.

The industries can only produce so many products given the limited resources and high market demand. Therefore, many of the entities have depleted or are near depletion. Therefore, a systemic regime is needed which can save millions of dollars of products and help to spread the PPE resources among people of all classes.

Hydrogen Peroxide as Potential Savior?

The high availability and effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide across all types of pathogens roused the question: can this agent be used to cure COVID-19 too?

The disinfecting properties of hydrogen peroxide are well-known. It is effective against all types of sticky pathogens and bacteria on all types of surfaces. Similarly, a key article found out that hydrogen peroxide is also effective in killing the COVID-19 virus from surfaces. Therefore, people started to hypothesize how effective this agent can be in treating people from coronavirus and disinfecting equipment.

Although hydrogen peroxide’s effectiveness in treating and preventing the COVID-19 virus is under-researched and not conclusive, the PPE disinfection has yielded promising results.

The Evidence

The groundbreaking evidence for hydrogen peroxide as a potential disinfecting tool for PPEs was given by none other than Duke University. They found out that hydrogen peroxide is an amazing tool to clean your protective equipment, especially the N95 masks which are extremely effective in preventing COVID-19. This saved millions of dollars and helped people protect themselves against this notorious disease.

Researchers concluded that hydrogen peroxide retained the protective qualities of N95 masks after disinfection. That too under normal circumstances and commercially available equipment!

Visualizing Tattoos Hidden by Decay and Mummification

When it comes to expressing yourself, there are no par tattoos. Tattoos are permanent designs made by injecting ink inside the dermal layer of the skin. Once completed, tattoos stay throughout life. However, they too have a limit. As the body starts to age, the skin starts to get loose and shed of cells that were part of the ink. Therefore, you may have noticed faded tattoos marks as people age.

This reaction is further exacerbated once the body starts decomposing. Once the cells are dead, they release certain chemicals and pigments. These pigments accumulate as the carcass age. Which gives the dead body its characteristic pale-brown contour. Therefore, it becomes extremely difficult to identify old dead bodies and mummies for postmortem inspection.

So the question arises, can hydrogen peroxide be used in removing the pigments, or at least faint them?

The Procedure

Hydrogen peroxide has excellent cleansing properties. This makes it a viable agent to visualize the hidden tattoos and remove the pigmentation. A forensic study published mentions the use of hydrogen peroxide to see the tattoo by removing skin debris.

In order to perform the procedure, first, make sure to gently clean the targeted area with cotton or soft cloth to remove the remaining detritus. Then a soft cloth can be soaked with 3% hydrogen peroxide and placed over the area.

After a couple of minutes, the stored decompositional pigments slowly start to fade away. And the dermis regains its pale-pink tan. By doing so, any tattoos within the soaked area can be readily exposed and photographed.

However, this change is temporary. If it’s left idle for several hours, the decompositional compounds gradually accumulate back into the soaked area and obscure the tattoo.

Giving Regular Metallic Items a Rustic, Antique Appearance

Rusting is an inevitable process for all metals. Through time, they lose their lustrous contour by reacting with the moisture and oxygen present in the atmosphere. Though they can be prevented by using glazing, paints, etc, people have started to embrace this change instead of running away.

Rusting iron purposefully is becoming a modern trend. Moreover, by using the right tools and ingredients you can get yourself a beautiful patina with unique designs. However, if you rely on the atmosphere to do this work for you, it may take several months, even years to have nice rust. And you can’t control the amount of rust you want either.

If you think about it, rusting is just a fancy word for oxidation process metal go under. And when it comes to oxidation, there is no other agent more trustworthy than hydrogen peroxide. So how effective is hydrogen peroxide in inducing rust?

Rusting Using Hydrogen Peroxide

As we have mentioned this several times, hydrogen peroxide contains a loose oxygen bound to its atom. By coming into contact with the atmosphere, hydrogen peroxide readily releases reactive oxygen which can react with a plethora of substances to produce a variety of products. Therefore, one can predict hydrogen peroxide can be used as an excellent rusting tool as well.

In our reaction, we combine the strength of hydrogen peroxide with vinegar to boost its efficacy. This provides an excellent way for rusting. Using this combination, you can have a hard patina in just 12 hours. And the best part is, you get to watch and control all of this stratagem happening!

The Procedure

The procedure of rusting your metal is very simple and can be concise in seven simple steps. However, while performing the procedure make sure to properly equip yourself with goggles and gloves. Moreover, it is ideal to have someone experienced under supervision. Also, the rust can be removed from the iron surface, but the rust can never go back to being iron.

  1. The first step is to prepare your working space. We recommend performing this procedure in your backyard and completely removing all the reactive objects in the vicinity.
  2. Remove the paint/glaze/grease from the surface of your iron plate using a degreaser and paint stripper and a cloth.
  3. Sand the surface of the metal using fine-grit sandpaper. This helps to further expose the surface and make it prone to chemicals.
  4. Spray pure vinegar over the surface. Let the metal dry and repeat this process 4-5 times. You will start to notice rusting already
  5. Make a solution with 4 parts hydrogen peroxide and 1 part vinegar. Spray this over your metal and leave it for a couple of hours.
  6. Once you have reached your desired patina, wipe off the solution
  7. Apply a clear coat or sealer to prevent further rusting and preserve the look!

Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe for Day-to-Day Use? – Some Precautions

According to hundreds of researchers and experts, hydrogen peroxide is completely safe for human use in limited concentration. The concentration of hydrogen peroxide of 3% or under is completely fine to keep in homes and use in various procedures.

However, this does not mean you can be careless around it. A chemical is a chemical regardless of how compatible it is.

As you can guess, the best way to avoid any injuries or unwanted consequences is to know what percentage of hydrogen peroxide you are using. At higher concentrations like 10% or more, hydrogen peroxide can become corrosive and damage the skin.

Similarly, if you are performing a procedure that requires longer periods or higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide exposure, make sure to use gloves. To clean wounds too, the hydrogen peroxide contact of the skin should not exceed 5-10 minutes. People have reported experiencing skin itching and irritations at high concentrations.

It goes without saying but keep hydrogen peroxide away from your nose and eyes regardless of the concentration. Hydrogen peroxide can easily react with the delicate mucosal surfaces of the eyes and nose and lead to irritations and in worse cases, conjunctiva damage and respiratory distress.

What Concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide Should You Buy?

When it comes to using hydrogen peroxide for households, 3% concentration is the way to go. Most household procedures require relatively lower levels of chemical reactivity. Therefore, 3% hydrogen peroxide provides an adequate amount of chemical activity without compromising the safety protocols.

Moreover, the 3% hydrogen peroxide concentration is widely available and is very economical. The higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can be a pain to get; granted they can be difficult to handle!

Final Words

Across hundreds of articles and expert advice, hydrogen peroxide has established itself as one of the most versatile and functional chemicals available in the market. Combine that with the fact that it is economical, easily available, usable, and does not have any toxic byproducts. Hydrogen peroxide becomes too good to be true!

From being used as a medicinal tool to monitor asthma and irrigate wounds to being a forensic tool, hydrogen peroxide can be used in unfathomable ways. And newer uses are being discovered by the day!

Therefore, get yourself a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide today and join the game!

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