Demystifying Hydrogen Peroxide

Demystifying Hydrogen Peroxide

Kathryn Wright
May 19, 2010

A post last week for an all-purpose cleaner recipe that uses hydrogen peroxide as a key ingredient seems to have left a few questions about safety and how to use this solution. So here are a few facts drawn from the medical safety data sheet and other sources.

  • The regular variety 3% hydrogen peroxide solution is ideal for household use, and should be available at your drugstore. Stronger commercial grade concentrations can be dangerous.

  • Hydrogen peroxide should be stored in a dark container in a cool place. Exposure to light, air, and heat cause it to break down rapidly into water and oxygen. So if you plan to use hydrogen peroxide as a household cleaner, use it as quickly as possible.

  • Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant that can be used to kill bacteria, mold, and even salmonella. It is also a bleaching agent, so if you are using it on wood of fabric make sure to try a test area first.

  • Contact with eyes, or ingesting large amounts may cause irritation. Both exposures can be treated with water. There are no known adverse health effects caused by long-term exposure to hydrogen peroxide.

  • At low concentrations, 3% or less, hydrogen peroxide is safe for humans and animals. But obviously, common sense should prevail.

For more information see the Hydrogen Peroxide Medical Safety Data Sheet.

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