What Is Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide and How Can You Use It?

Food Hydrogen peroxide is a clear and odorless liquid made out of hydrogen and oxygen. This versatile liquid is often used as an antiseptic, bleaching agent, oxidizer, and disinfectant.

Hydrogen peroxide comes in different potencies and dilutions. Here are the most common:

  • 3% hydrogen peroxide – this is known as the “household” dilution and probably the safest one to handle. You can buy this in supermarkets and drugstores.
  • 6% to 10% hydrogen peroxide – this is used for bleaching your hair.
  • 35% hydrogen peroxide – this is referred to as “food grade hydrogen peroxide” and is safe enough to interact with food.
  • 90% hydrogen peroxide – this is referred to as “industrial strength” hydrogen peroxide. This is usually used to bleach textiles and paper, produce foam rubber, and is an ingredient in making rocket fuel.

Today, we focus on food grade hydrogen peroxide.

What is food grade hydrogen peroxide?

Food grade hydrogen peroxide is composed of 35% hydrogen peroxide and 65% water. Food grade hydrogen peroxide does not contain phenol, sodium sanate, acetanilide, and tetrasodium pyrophosphate. These are stabilizers found in other hydrogen peroxide strengths, and these stabilizers could not be ingested. Without these stabilizers present, food grade hydrogen peroxide is considered to be safe enough to interact with processes or items that deal with your food.

Food producers use 35% hydrogen peroxide for many purposes, the most popular of which are killing off germs and bacteria in food packaging materials, processing cheese, producing whey-containing products, and bleaching wheat flour. You should know, though, that even if food grade hydrogen peroxide no longer contains the harsh metals and chemicals in it, it is also 11 times stronger than the usual 3% household hydrogen peroxide used as first aid antiseptic. Extreme caution is required when handling food grade hydrogen peroxide since it is highly concentrated and more corrosive.

How food grade hydrogen peroxide is being used

Just because it is called “food grade” does not necessarily mean that it has only food-related uses. Food-grade hydrogen peroxide is just as versatile as the typical household 3% hydrogen peroxide. Here is a list of some of its common uses:

Medical care

  • Small cuts and scrapes disinfection
  • Sore throat gargle
  • Acne treatment
  • Foot fungus treatment
  • Corns and callus softener
  • Ear infection treatment
  • Nail whitening
  • Boils soaking
  • Skin mites elimination
  • Wart removal

Dental care

  • Tooth whitening
  • Mouthwash
  • Toothbrush cleaning
  • Toothpaste (when mixed with baking soda)

Food prep and storage

  • Fruits and vegetable wash
  • Leafy greens preservative
  • Poultry and meat marinade

Food-related disinfection

  • Cutting board disinfection
  • Sponge and dish rag disinfection
  • Countertop disinfection
  • Pots and dishes cleaning
  • Refrigerator cleaning
  • Lunchbox disinfection

Precautions when using food grade hydrogen peroxide

Although food grade hydrogen peroxide is considered safe enough to come in contact with food products, you still must exercise some precautions when using it. It is always best to use protective gear like a mask, goggles, and gloves when using it.

Remember that food grade hydrogen peroxide is more potent than the common household hydrogen peroxide that we usually use. Here is a list of the possible side effects when you are not careful:

Inhalation

  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • cough

When you inhale food grade hydrogen peroxide and feel these symptoms, go to your doctor immediately.

Skin contact

  • pain
  • redness
  • whiteness
  • skin burn

Food grade hydrogen peroxide can be corrosive for your skin. If your skin is exposed, wash with lukewarm water and soap immediately. Do this for at least 10 minutes and then contact your doctor.

Eye contact

  • pain
  • blurred vision
  • redness
  • burns
  • corneal ulceration

The corrosive effects of food grade hydrogen peroxide are dangerous for the eyes. In case of eye contact, rinse your eyes with running water immediately for at least 15 minutes and then contact your doctor.

Ingesting

  • sore throat
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • abdominal pain
  • possible internal bleeding

In case you swallowed food grade hydrogen peroxide, you should drink as much water as you can immediately and then go to your doctor.

How to store food grade hydrogen peroxide

For a strong chemical, proper storage must be observed. Keep it in its original container as much as possible since these are designed to avoid light exposure. Store it in a cool place, away from other organic compounds, metallic salts, and combustibles. Make sure to add a bigger, additional label as an extra precaution to not be ingested accidentally.

Last thoughts

Food grade hydrogen peroxide has many useful functions, but you have to practice extreme caution when using it.

If you are considering using food grade hydrogen peroxide, especially for medical and dental reasons, you should always consult your doctor first.

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