Episode 4: March 26, 2012
by Amanda Thomas
There is a growing number of Americans who are opting for chemical-free cleaning options for their homes. But let’s be honest, the alternatives have to actually work too, right? Did you know that something you probably already have in your medicine cabinet is a great multi-purpose cleaning agent for your home? Good old fashioned hydrogen peroxide is an effective, inexpensive household product with a variety of uses. The bonus about using hydrogen peroxide is that it’s totally green. Hydrogen peroxide is produced in nature (it’s really just water with an extra oxygen molecule), so it’s not harmful to your family or the environment!
Here are 7 Quick and Dirty Tips for using that cheap little brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide to make your home a happier and healthier place:
1. Whiten Whites and Remove Stains
Hydrogen peroxide is a natural alternative to bleach. A cup of hydrogen peroxide added to a load of laundry is just as effective at brightening up your whites. Simply pour it in the presoak, or put it in the bleach compartment in the washer, and let it do its job. It can also be used to remove blood stains from clothes. Just pour the hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain and watch it bubble. If the stain has hardened, you may want to first rinse it with cold water, just to get it un-crusty.
A word of caution: Even though it is much safer to use than bleach, H2O2 can still remove color from clothes, so treat it as you would bleach. Test a small, inconspicuous area of the clothing to make sure it won’t damage the piece.
2. Clean Cutting Boards or Counter Top
After using your cutting board for chicken and other meats, hydrogen peroxide is a great way to make sure no bacteria (like salmonella) stick around. Wash and rinse like you normally would, but then pour the peroxide directly on the board to remove all the lingering germs. The same principle applies to cleaning your counters and eating surfaces. You can either dampen a clean rag with a little peroxide, or keep a dark spray bottle full of peroxide to spritz on the counters before wiping them down. The dark bottle is key, as light breaks down hydrogen peroxide and makes it ineffective. That’s why it’s always sold in a brown bottle.
3. Wash Fruits and Veggies
Fruit and veggie washes are becoming popular for those of us who want to make sure our foods are free of germs and pesticides before eating them. Instead of purchasing an expensive wash or spray, you can use your handy dandy hydrogen peroxide to clean them up. Just add a quarter to a half cup of peroxide to a sink full of water and wash fresh fruits and veggies to eliminate germs and neutralize pesticides.
4. Sanitize the Bathroom
For a more natural way to clean and sanitize your bathroom, fill a spray bottle with diluted peroxide (about a 50/50 mixture with water) and spray down the sink and toilet areas. Wipe them with a clean rag and you will have germ-free surfaces, without the harsh chemical residues. Added bonus: It helps eliminate odors as well as germs.
5. De-germ Toothbrushes
You use your toothbrush to keep your chompers, clean but how clean is that toothbrush? A lot of germs can collect on your toothbrush in the 3 months between recommended switching, especially the mechanical toothbrushes that have lots of nooks and crannies for germs to hide. You can purchase expensive toothbrush cleaners, but hydrogen peroxide offers a cheaper and dare I say, easier option. To prevent ingesting any unwanted germs, pour a little hydrogen peroxide over the toothbrush after you use it each day. Another quick option is to pour a little hydrogen peroxide in a cup and allow your brush to soak for a few minutes.
6. Grow Lush Plants
Not only is hydrogen peroxide good for keeping the things we humans touch and eat germ-free, it’s also great at keeping our houseplants free of fungus. Add an ounce of peroxide to a cup of water and spray houseplants daily. It helps prevent fungus growth, which will let plants grow greener and fuller.
7. Renew Plastic Kitchenware
You know those stains we get on our plastic storage containers or cooking utensils that no amount of scrubbing will conquer? Whether it’s from tomato sauce or turmeric, hydrogen peroxide is your solution again. Just soak the item in peroxide for a day. Depending on how old or bad the yellowing is, you will either see a noticeable reduction of the staining, or your plastic pieces will be returned to like-new condition.
These are a just a few ideas to get you started. Once you get in the habit of using hydrogen peroxide, you will find many more ways it can be used in your day-to-day life.
Have a question about anything in this episode? Or a suggestion for a future podcast? Send me an email at DomesticCEO@quickanddirtytips.com or post it on the Domestic CEO Facebook wall.
Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.
Hydrogen Peroxide image from Shutterstock