Ok, here’s a little chemistry quiz: What has antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and bleaching properties, can be found in any drug store, and can save you time and money on household cleaning while posing no hazard to your health or the environment?
Give up? It’s H₂O₂, more commonly known as hydrogen peroxide. What was once widely used as a wound disinfectant (not so much now, as it slows healing time) is now an inexpensive and powerful all-purpose cleaner with a variety of uses. Here are some that may surprise you.
Tile and grout cleaner. Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide in a sealable container. Then add one teaspoon of liquid dish soap, close the lid securely, and shake well. Put on a pair of protective gloves and apply to tile and grout. Let sit for 5 minutes while the solution lifts stains and even mold, then rinse clean with water.
Deep clean the mattress. First, strip the linens and vacuum the mattress. Then, make a solution of 50/50 water and hydrogen peroxide and use a clean toothbrush to work it into stains caused by drinks, food, bodily fluids, and other organic materials. Let sit for 5 minutes and repeat if needed until the stains start to fade. Let dry fully before making the bed.
Banish bathtub grime. Skip the chemical-filled bath and shower cleaners and reach for hydrogen peroxide. Make a mold and grime-fighting paste of 2/3 baking soda and 1/3 hydrogen peroxide and apply to the shower and tub area. Wait about 30 minutes then rinse clean. Give the area a final spritz of 50/50 water and vinegar to dissolve any leftover soap scum.
Freshen the toilet bowl. Pour a half cup of hydrogen peroxide into the bowl, let sit for 30 minutes, and scrub with a toilet brush. Do this once a week to keep your toilets free of bacteria and germs. Freshen the toilet brush with a spritz of hydrogen peroxide and let air dry before putting it back in its holder.
Age the finish on metals. Going for an antique look on metal fixtures? Remove any paint and sand the surface, then spritz with white vinegar to begin the corrosion process. Then, mix 1 ½ teaspoons of regular table salt, 2 cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide, and 4 tablespoons of white vinegar in a large bottle. Shake thoroughly and soak the metal surface with the solution. A vintage-looking patina should begin forming right before your eyes. Be sure to do this work in a well-ventilated area.
Get rid of rust. Add equal parts cream of tartar and baking soda in a bowl. Add just enough drops of hydrogen peroxide to form a paste. Rub the paste onto rusted tools or other objects, wait an hour, and wash clean with water.
Sanitize wooden cutting boards. Cuts in wooden cutting boards can trap dirt and bacteria. But because they’re porous and can warp from high heat, dishwasher use is not recommended. To safely clean and disinfect your wooden cutting boards, spray with white vinegar, wait five minutes, and wipe dry. Then, pour 3% hydrogen peroxide over the board, making sure the liquid is distributed evenly. Let sit for 10 minutes, then sprinkle table salt on the board and gently rub it into the grain with a half a lemon. Allow everything to soak into the surface for at least 10 minutes, wipe with a damp cloth, and air dry.
Keep granite counters looking like new. Remove water marks from granite by placing a half cup of baking soda and a few drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide in a bowl. Mix into a paste and spread it over the water-stained area. Let sit for 10 minutes than wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Too much to remember? Probably. So don’t even try. Instead, print a copy of this page and store somewhere you’ll be sure to find it when the job calls for hydrogen peroxide along with other organic ingredients.
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