In many homes—I can’t say all or most, but in many homes—there is at least one bottle of hydrogen peroxide. It always comes in a brown bottle because once exposed to sunlight it becomes unstable, it separates, and becomes useless. When buying it you will most often find it in the first aid aisle, which is why it’s most often used as… a first aid product. Well, it has a variety of other uses, especially when it comes to cleaning. According to the CDC, hydrogen peroxide is an effective disinfectant that can kill viruses, bacteria, and other types of germs.
One quick note—whenever you’re making any type of DIY cleaning recipe featuring hydrogen peroxide, make it on demand and dump it when you’re done. Basically, only whip up as much as you need because it won’t last. Oh, and when using it as a stain remover or whitener always test it in a hidden area first to make sure it doesn’t harm or discolor the surface/garment.
Miracle Stain Remover
Years ago there was a viral recipe going around Pinterest called the Dawn Miracle Cleaner. It was essentially 2 parts hydrogen peroxide, and 1 part Dawn dish soap. Now, it can be any dish soap quite frankly, although Dawn does work really well, but so do other dish soaps. The most important thing here is that you treat the stain the way you would treat any stain. First, you remove any residual debris/liquid first by scraping and blotting—you always want to treat a dry stain. Then, you can apply this stain remover product using a cleaning toothbrush by gently brush it in (don’t overuse the product or you’ll have to do more rinsing afterward). Let it sit for 10 minutes then blot with a clean cloth and water to rinse away the product (then launder as usual if applicable). This is one of those times that you would want to test it in an inconspicuous area first before you use it on a soft surface (like a sofa or carpet).
Cutting Board Cleaner
Glass cutting boards are pretty impervious to odors, but wood (and even plastic) are known to get quite smelly over time. If you notice that your cutting board is smelly it’s telling you that there’s some bacteria on the surface that needs to be dealt with. A simple way to deal with it is to use straight hydrogen peroxide; spray it on the surface, let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then give your cutting board a good clean with soap and water, rinse well, and allow it to dry. The hydrogen peroxide used straight will definitely take care of any odor-causing bacteria.
Garbage, recycling, and compost bins can get pretty smelly. Whether they’re the ones that you keep inside your home, or in your garage, these things need to be dealt with on a regular basis to avoid lingering odors. A great way to deal with these is to first, make sure they’ve been cleaned, but then to remove any odors, apply some straight hydrogen peroxide. Spray the interior of the bins thoroughly and allow them to sit for about 10 minutes. Once this time has passed simply give them a good wipe down. If the odors remain you can apply this method a couple of times to restore your otherwise smelly bins to a nice neutral state.
If you get a bloodstain on your clothing or bedding, having a bottle of hydrogen peroxide handy is a quick and easy fix. Once a bloodstain sets in it’s really hard to get out, so always deal with it ASAP. As soon as you notice a bloodstain, remove the garment, pour a little bit of hydrogen peroxide onto the area, and you should notice almost immediately that that bloodstain starts to dissipate. You might even notice some bubbling—that’s a good thing! Let this sit for a minute and then rinse it off with cool water. Repeat this until the stain is gone, then launder the item as usual.
Toilet Plume + Toothbrush = Nasty!
You may have heard me talk about toilet plume in the past. If you don’t know what toilet plume is, well… it’s the microscopic spray that comes out of your toilet every time you flush it—and yes, if your oral healthcare implements (toothbrush!) are withing reasonable proximity (six feet or so?), you can expect with reasonable certainty that some of that toilet plume is going to land on them. All of that to say, you can make a simple solution of 3 parts water to 1 part hydrogen peroxide and use that as a soak for any of your oral health care implements. I do this with my Invisaligns all the time. Let items soak for up to 30 minutes, give them a good rinse, and let them air dry to kill that bacteria. As an aside, close that lid before you flush. ;P
There are so many types of kids’ toys, and so many ways to clean them. But, let’s say you just have a pile of plastic toys—no batteries, no internal parts—there’s a really easy way to clean and disinfect them. Take a bowl, fill it with a liter/quart of water, add 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide (so a 4 to 1 mix) and you can put your toys in there to soak for about 10 minutes. This is going to get rid of most bacteria and germs that have developed on those toys. To finish, simply give them a good rinse and allow them to air dry.
Makeup Sponges & Blenders
For those of us who wear makeup, we know that we have to clean our beauty tools on a somewhat regular basis. If you’re someone that uses sponges to apply your makeup, these can be really hard to clean. What I would recommend for that is to, first and foremost, clean them with soapy water. Then, you can do a soak for about 10 minutes in a 3 to 1 solution—3 parts water, 1 part hydrogen peroxide. Let sit for about 10 minutes. This is going to help kill any acne-causing bacteria that you definitely want to get rid of. Now, for brushes, you can clean those in soapy water as well, and then you can spray them with a little bit of hydrogen peroxide, leave it for a minute or 2, rinse, and dry.
If you’re concerned about the cleanliness of your produce when you come home from the grocery store, there’s a simple wash you can put together. Simply fill a large bowl with a liter/quart of water and 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide. Throw all of your produce in there and let it soak for about 5 minutes. This should be an adequate amount of time for the hydrogen peroxide to deal with any germs and/or bacteria that exists on the surface of your produce. Then—really important—give everything a good thorough rinse and dry before putting them in the fridge or storing on the counter.
Do we ever really think about cleaning our reusable bags? Think about where they’ve been—grocery store floors, conveyor belts, car trunks, public transit floors, kitchen floors, garage floors, the list goes on. An easy way to clean these is by using—you guessed it—hydrogen peroxide. Simply throw them into the washing machine with regular detergent and add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to the bleach compartment. If you simply add this to your laundry you can reasonably expect that your bags will come out not only cleaner but also free of any bacteria, viruses, and other nasty stuff.
Hydrogen peroxide is famous for its ability to whiten, which is why we love using it to whiten grout. A simple recipe for a grout whitener would be 2 parts baking soda to 1 part hydrogen peroxide. You can mix that up in a bowl—remember you only want to make up as much as you need to use at that time—and then apply it to your dirty grout with a cleaning toothbrush. Let this sit for about 5 minutes then get that cleaning toothbrush back out and scrub a little more, then rinse with a clean cloth (baking soda tends to leave a little bit of grittiness behind so you really want to focus on this when rinsing).
Hydrogen peroxide is also a great toilet bowl stain remover. Take a cup of hydrogen peroxide, toss it into your toilet bowl, and then scrub with your toilet bowl brush as usual. You should notice that any stains start to dissipate almost immediately. Let this ruminate for a minute or 2 to let the hydrogen peroxide do its work, and then rinse thoroughly. The most important thing here is to not mix hydrogen peroxide with any other product so you want to do this as a standalone cleaning task.