16 Hydrogen Peroxide Uses You Never Knew About

Updated: Jun. 24, 2024

Keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in every room of your house to whiten teeth, clean mirrors, prevent stains and more.

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Someone pouring a capful of mouthwash.

Use Hydrogen Peroxide as a Mouth Rinse

Some hydrogen peroxide uses aren’t intuitive, but they still work. Hydrogen peroxide is a common active ingredient in many types of mouthwash, according to the American Dental Association. If you do have mouthwash, there are tons of uses for mouthwash around the house. Save money on mouthwash by mixing equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water and swish it around your mouth. Bonus: It’ll help naturally whiten your teeth in the process.

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Disinfect Toothbrushes and Dental Appliances

Dental hygiene is one of the most effective uses for hydrogen peroxide. Though toothbrushes should be replaced every three months or after you have a cold, you may not always have time to run to the drugstore to buy a new one. In the meantime, soak your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide to kill the germs. One study published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry found that it’s far more effective than rinsing the toothbrush with water. It works for retainers and mouth guards, too.

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People cutting and washing vegetables for a salad.

Clean Your Fruit and Veggies

If you’re looking for an alternative to expensive fruit and vegetable washes, spritz a little food-grade hydrogen peroxide on them instead to help clean bacteria away. (The FDA says it’s safe!) Be sure to rinse fruit and vegetables thoroughly before consuming.

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A soapy sponge in the kitchen sink.

Clean Your Grubby Sponges

Have some funky sponges in the kitchen or bathroom? The many uses for hydrogen peroxide can also help you get rid of their dirty appearance and weird smell. It’s considered one of the safest disinfectant products out there. Soak sponges in equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water, then rinse thoroughly. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to toss it. After all, it ranks among everyday items dirtier than a toilet seat.

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Handwashing fabric.

Get Out That Stubborn Bloodstain

Most hydrogen peroxide uses involve brightening or bleaching an object, which makes sense because the chemical compound is a kind of bleach. That means it’ll do wonders on stained white fabrics. Pour some directly onto a stain and let it sit, then blot it out and rinse it in cold water. You can also use these common items that remove blood stains if you don’t have any hydrogen peroxide on hand.

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Perfectly clean, manicured fingernails.

Whiten Your Nails Naturally

Count this as one of the best tricks to get healthy and gorgeous nails. Dana Stern, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, recommends this process: Take three to four tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and combine with 1/2 cup of water. Let it soak for two to three minutes, then gently scrub your nails before rinsing with water. Repeat two to three times per week.

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Clean Your Fridge and Dishwasher

Hydrogen peroxide’s disinfecting powers aren’t limited to toothbrushes and sponges. Spritz it in an empty dishwasher or cleaned-out fridge. After letting it sit for a while, you’ll be able to wipe the mess away cleanly. Don’t miss these cleaning myths you need to stop believing.

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Clean, pedicured toenails.

Get Softer, Cleaner Feet

Fungus thrives in warm, moist places—like your feet. But a one-to-one ratio of hydrogen peroxide and water added to a soaking bowl should help you avoid it. “Hydrogen peroxide can ‘fight off’ foot fungus due to its properties to dry out the skin,” says Alan Bass, DPM, a podiatrist in Manalapan, New Jersey and a spokesman for the American Podiatric Medical Association.

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Billowy white bed sheets.

Whiten Your Clothes Without Bleach

Just like with bloodstains, hydrogen peroxide can be used as a general bleach for whites in your wash. Instead of bleach, add half a cup to your wash cycle.

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Mist from a humidifier.

Get Rid of Mildew in Your Humidifier

A moldy, mildewy humidifier helps no one. That’s why the Mayo Clinic recommends cleaning your humidifier every three days. Start with soap and water and then disinfect it with a hydrogen peroxide and water solution.

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Man's shirt shows underarm sweat.

Remove Sweat Stains

One part dishwashing liquid and two parts hydrogen peroxide applied to the sweat stain for about an hour should do the trick; scrub with baking soda if it’s a particularly tough stain. Still can’t get it out? Try one of these home remedies to clean sweat stains.

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Woman cleaning a mirror.

Get Streak-Free Mirrors

Spray the hydrogen peroxide onto a paper towel and then wipe down your mirrors for a streak-free, disinfected, and clean finish.

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Clean dishes, glasses, and utensils in a dishwasher.

Add It to Your Dishwasher or Dish Soap

For an antibacterial boost, add a drop or two to your dishwasher or your regular dish soap. But whatever you do, never put these things in the dishwasher.

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Young boy playing with toys.

Clean Your Kids’ Toys

Instead of buying fancy wipes, just spray your kids’ toys with hydrogen peroxide. It’s non-toxic, making it safer for you and your child.

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Get Rid of Shower Curtain Grime

If you can’t put your shower curtain in the washing machine, use hydrogen peroxide to wipe it down instead. A study published in the Journal of Infection Prevention found that hydrogen peroxide eliminated germs on contaminated hospital curtains—and they’ve got to be grosser than the one hanging in your bathroom! Just make sure you don’t make these bathroom cleaning mistakes in the process.

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Closeup of a mattress.

Banish Dust Mites From Your Mattress

Dust mites are almost inevitable, but they don’t have to build up. Spray hydrogen peroxide on your bare mattress to rid it of any invisible critters. Next, find out the household vinegar uses you never knew about.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest