Hydrogen Peroxide Hacks You’ll Wish You Had Known Sooner

Most people know hydrogen peroxide as the stinging, bubbling liquid your parents forced on your cuts when you were younger. The simplest peroxide, hydrogen peroxide is the chemical compound H202, which acts as a bleaching agent, antibacterial, and antiseptic. There’s plenty you can do with that untouched bottle in your home.

Since hydrogen peroxide is relatively safe, you can use it to whiten your teeth, clean your ears, and care for your skin. You can clean your entire house with hydrogen peroxide alone–if you know how to use it correctly. Here are the best hydrogen peroxide hacks that’ll make your life ten times easier.

Remove Ink Stains From Clothes

YouTuber demonstrates how to remove clothing stains with hydrogen peroxide


It’s nearly impossible to rub ink out of clothing. At least, it would be if we didn’t have hydrogen peroxide. For light-colored clothing, you can soak a cotton ball in hydrogen peroxide and dab it on the infected area. Then wash your clothes as normal.

If this doesn’t work, your fabric may need a heavy-duty recipe. Create a solution of 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% ammonia. The ammonia catalyzes the peroxide to work better. Only use clear ammonia, and don’t use it on wool or silk since the ammonia will eat through the proteins on both fabrics.

Time For Teeth Whitening

Close-up of young man brushing his teeth

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According to a 2004 study in the Journal of Dentistry, hydrogen peroxide effectively bleaches teeth. To whiten your teeth, create a solution of 1/2 water and 1/2 hydrogen peroxide. Swish it around in your mouth for at least 30 seconds, or as long as you can stand. Spit the solution out if it hurts your mouth, and don’t swallow it.

The higher the concentration, the brighter the whitening. However, a 2006 study from the same journal reported that higher concentrations could harm the enamel. If you use a higher concentration (25% or 35%), shorten the amount of time that the peroxide is in your mouth.

Help Your Plants Grow Big And Strong

Spraying a plant with hydrogen peroxide to help it grow

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Hydrogen peroxide works by releasing oxygen. Because plants use oxygen to absorb nutrients from the soil, they love this extra oxygen molecule. This promotes healthier, more vigorous plant growth for your garden.

To encourage garden growth, mix one teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide per one cup of water. After you pour the mixture into a spray bottle, mist your plants. If you want to cover an entire garden, increase your dosage to 35% hydrogen peroxide. You can also use this to pre-treat seeds. Since peroxide kills fungi, it also wards off potential diseases such as root infections.

It Can Save Your Dog’s Life

Dog owner, Fen Reilly, strokes her dog Larry in Battersea Park in London

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Dog owners understand the risk of accidental poisoning. As soon as your dog eats a lot of grapes or chocolate, you’re on the clock. You can safely induce vomiting by feeding your dog a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide creates a mild reaction but not extreme enough to cause harm.

To induce vomiting, give your dog 3% hydrogen peroxide (any higher concentration is toxic). Feed your dog one teaspoon per five pounds of their body weight. The vomiting works ten to 15 minutes after eating, and it can last for up to 45 minutes. Afterward, follow up with your vet.

Re-Beautify Your Makeup Brushes

Pouring hydrogen peroxide into a cup with makeup brushes

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“Through daily use, makeup brushes can accumulate dead skin cells, dirt, oil, pollution, and bacteria, says dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer, who co-founded the Dermatology Associates of New York. Dirty makeup brushes can result in staph infections if they aren’t cleaned properly. Fortunately, hydrogen peroxide sufficiently disinfects them.

Add a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide to a bowl of warm water. Soak your brushes in the mixture for ten minutes. Swish the brushes around every now again. Afterward, remove your makeup brushes, rinse them with cold water, and let them air dry. If there’s any remaining residue, you can wash it off with soap.

Wash Your Fruits And Vegetables

Using hydrogen peroxide to clean vegetables and fruits

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It’s essential to wash your fruits and vegetables when you bring them home. You never know who touched them or which pesticides they came into contact with. But instead of paying $8 for a veggie wash, why don’t you use a little bit of hydrogen peroxide?

To create a veggie cleaner, fill your sink with cold water and add 1/4 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Don’t use a higher concentration since it’s not food safe. Wash your fruit and vegetables in the mixture, and then rinse them thoroughly with fresh water. According to Poison Control, hydrogen peroxide isn’t toxic, except in large amounts.

Here’s How To Safely Remove Wax From Your Ears

Woman Cleaning Ears

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A 2015 study from Australian Family Physician supports ear irrigation as the most effective way to remove ear wax. Ear irrigation involves a liquid that softens the wax and dislodges it. Since hydrogen peroxide makes the wax bubble and weaken, it’s a safe way to clean your ears.

Start by lying on your side. Place a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your upward-facing ear. Wait five minutes, then sit up and use a tissue to absorb any excess liquid. Then do the same on your other ear. Remember to consult your doctor before trying these home remedies.

Disinfect Your Walls, Windows, Mirrors, And Countertops

Gala employee cleaning the walls and shelves with water and white vinegar


Hydrogen peroxide is an anti-viral and anti-bacterial. That’s why many household cleaners include this ingredient. If you’re running low on kitchen cleaners, use 3% hydrogen peroxide instead. Store it in a spray bottle and use as you would any other household cleaner.

Although hydrogen peroxide is a powerful disinfectant, it takes time to work. You might want to leave the solution on your countertops or walls for a minute before wiping. A mixture of vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and plain soap makes an efficient cleaning solution for windows and mirrors.

Hydrogen Peroxide Is A Natural Deodorant

Woman applying spray deodorant.

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When bacteria breaks down sweat, it creates body odor. Because our armpits sweat more than any other area, they’re the main culprit of body odor. Some people use 3% hydrogen peroxide to kill these germs, and hence halt the B.O.

Hydrogen peroxide is not an antiperspirant, so it won’t inhibit your sweating. But neither do deodorants. Swipe or spray some hydrogen peroxide wherever you’re sweating for odor relief. And it’s certainly cheaper than paying for a deodorant that could contain harmful substances like aluminum.

Bye Bye, Burn Residue

Cleaning a burnt pot with hydrogen peroxide

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Burn residue can take ages to scrub off. Since burned debris cakes onto the surface of pots and pans, just scrubbing won’t do much. You need a substance that dissolves and lifts the residue. Use hydrogen peroxide to remove the grime without having to scrub.

Pour a generous amount of hydrogen peroxide (3% is fine) to cover all the burned areas. Then stir in a pile of baking soda. Leave it for at least a couple of hours; aim for six hours. The debris should lift right off! Wipe off any sticky remains until your pot or pan looks like new.

Lighten Your Hair At Half The Price

Lightening hair without bleach


Hydrogen peroxide makes up 6% to 10% of most blonde hair dyes. To save money, you can use the liquid chemical to lighten your hair instead of a lengthy routine. Mix hydrogen peroxide with baking soda, an alkaline chemical that will lower the acidity. Spread the paste through your hair and leave it on from 15 to 60 minutes. Then, rinse your hair with cold water.

While the solution won’t turn your hair bleach blonde, it will lighten the color noticeably. Be careful handling hydrogen peroxide, because it easily irritates the eyes. And if you use too much, it can damage your hair and skin.

Have Discolored Nails? Try This

Soaking nails in warm water


Fungi can transform your nails into yellowed, cracked fragments of what they used to be. Hydrogen peroxide can kill this fungus quickly and efficiently. In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup of hot water with one teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide. For extra strength, include one teaspoon of baking soda.

Soak your nails in this solution for about ten minutes. If you don’t want your skin to soften, you can soak a cotton ball in the mixture and press it to your nails. If you need to, scrub stains off with a clean, unused toothbrush or a nail brush.

Soften Those Cracked Heels

Photo of foot bath illustrating the benefit it has for pain


Why spend your money on spa foot treatments when you have so many other things to pay for? If you have cracked, rough callouses on the edges of your feet, hydrogen peroxide can soften that skin by breaking down the tissue around it.

Dilute two cups of hydrogen peroxide into two cups of hot water. Soak feet for 30 minutes. After you dry them off, scrub off all the dead skin. Then lather your feet with lotion, pop on some warm fuzzy socks, and hit the hay. Your feet will feel super soft in the morning.

This Can Alleviate A Painful Canker Sore

Man suffers from a toothache

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Anyone who has had a canker sore knows that it hurts. While hydrogen peroxide can’t make a canker sore disappear, it can speed up the healing. The peroxide kills growing bacteria in your mouth, which may ameliorate some pain.

Dilute 3% hydrogen peroxide with water–no more than half and half. Apply the mixture to your canker sore. Either dip a cotton ball in the solution and press it to your sore, or swish the liquid in your mouth. Either way, make sure not to swallow any of the peroxide. Oh, and it might sting a bit.

Here’s How To Clean Your Toothbrushes

cleaning toothbrush


Have you ever thought about how many germs gather on your toothbrushes? The reality is that they attract plenty of bacteria, and yet most people never clean their toothbrushes. According to the Children’s Oral Health Institute, hydrogen peroxide is a safe method of disinfecting your child’s toothbrushes.

Pour 3% hydrogen peroxide into a cup, and place your toothbrushes into it bristles-down. Leave the toothbrushes in there until the liquid stops bubbling. Afterward, rinse the toothbrush thoroughly before use. Another method is to swish your toothbrush through a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide before use.

Remove Labels or Glue


Facebook/FCT Surface Cleaning

It can be difficult and frustrating trying to remove a label or a sticker from a product you purchased. More often than not, the label or sticker will break apart into irritating small bits that take way too much work to get off. Plus you end up getting the label or sticker stuck under your nails, and it makes a big mess.

An easier way to remove labels and stickers is by using hydrogen peroxide. Set the product on a flat surface and spray the label or sticker with hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit. After about 10 minutes, the label should easily come off with a little light scrubbing.

Protect Your Shower From Mildew

Person cleans a shower using hydrogen peroxide

YouTube/Sandra J Schultz

Nobody likes cleaning their shower. That’s why it’s best to clean a shower and shield it from future mold at the same time. Fill a spray bottle with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Spritz the walls of your shower and let it work its magic for 10 minutes. Then, wipe the mildew away.

According to a 2013 study in BMC Research Notes, hydrogen peroxide effectively kills microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria. It also demolishes budding yeast systems, so you won’t have to clean your shower for a while longer.

If You Have Carpet Stains, Check This Out

Coffee spills onto white carpet


Commercial carpet-cleaning products contain sodium percarbonate, which is a powdered form of hydrogen peroxide. That’s why cleaners often have “Oxy” or “Oxi” in the name. Why don’t you skip the extra charge and use hydrogen peroxide instead?

Before you start pouring, dilute the peroxide. Mix one part 3% hydrogen peroxide with five parts water. Spray it on the dirty spot and wait for a couple of minutes, and then scrub the stain away. You might want to test it on a small area first.

Kill Mold Without Using Harsh Chemicals

Employee prepares to sanitize mold on a wall


Mold can develop within 24 hours. Leaving it unattended can result in respiratory illnesses; it’s a hazard to those with allergies. While it’s important to kill mold quickly, most people don’t want to spray chemicals everywhere. Here’s a way to eradicate mold without those dangerous cleaners.

Add 3% hydrogen peroxide to a spray bottle. Saturate the mold-infected walls with the solution, and leave it there for ten minutes. Over time, the anti-fungal liquid will destroy the organisms. After ten minutes pass, scrub the area to remove all the stains. Then wipe the surface to dislodge any remaining mold stains.

Reshine Your Rusty Tools

rust removal hammer


When is the last time you cleaned your gardening shovel, screws, or hammer? Probably never. If your tools begin to rust, it’s time for a scrub. Pour a small amount of 3% hydrogen peroxide onto the rusted area and rub it with steel wool or a brush. If you need a stronger solution, mix the peroxide with borax.

Before you dive into this DIY, test a small of hydrogen peroxide. H202 may react with some metallic irons, although it shouldn’t affect stainless steel, aluminum, or brass. Double-check what your tools are made of before experimenting.

Finally, An Easy Way To Clean Your Retainer Or Mouthguard

Woman holds up clear retainers to demonstrate how to clean them

YouTube/Teeth Talk Girl

That tiny plastic mold that you have to stuff into your mouth every night is hard to keep clean. But you can clean your retainer for little-to-no money by using hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and water.

Place your retainer into a jar and submerge it in water. Add one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide and a sprinkle of baking soda. Leave the retainer in there for about ten minutes. Afterward, take it out and rinse all the residue off. Make sure to rinse your retainer thoroughly before popping it back in your mouth.

Give Your Dishwasher More Oomph

Glasses and cups stand in a dishwasher in Düsseldorf.

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Dishwashers make everything easier–when they work. If you don’t clean your dishwasher, the extra residue will cake the walls and leave your dishes less than lustrous. Plus, the hydrogen peroxide will lend your dishwasher soap more cleaning power.

Before you run your next load, add 1/4 cup (or three ounces) of 3% hydrogen peroxide to your dishwasher. Close the door and run it. The hot water will swirl it around, and the peroxide will disinfect the surface. That’s all you have to do!

Your Humidifier Needs Cleaning, Too

Cleaning a humidifier with vinegar and hydrogen peroxide

Pinterest/Chrissy Yoder

When’s the last time you cleaned your humidifier or diffuser? Bacteria adore wet, warm places. Humidifiers remain damp for a long time. Plus, standing water allows bacteria to multiply. Dirty humidifiers can trigger allergy symptoms rather than help them.

To clean a humidifier or diffuser, add two cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide to one gallon of water. Pour it into the humidifier’s water tank and filter, scrub it, and let it sit for 10 to 30 minutes. Then rinse the base in clean water and leave it to air dry.

Treat Acne Spots

Acne doesn't make you ugly


Hydrogen peroxide works as a spot treatment for acne. When the peroxide touches your skin, it loses an extra oxygen atom. That oxidization process kills off the bacteria, which allows your skin to heal faster. Don’t use it for acne scars, as overuse can damage your skin further.

To spot-treat your acne, saturate a cotton ball with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Dab the cotton ball over the infected areas, leave for five minutes, and then rinse your face with cold water. Limit your use to three times a week, and make sure to wash your face before applying hydrogen peroxide.

Beat That Bad Breath


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Hydrogen peroxide not only whitens your teeth, but it also eliminates bad breath. Gargling hydrogen peroxide kills the bacteria in your throat, so it can also assuage sore throats and gum inflammation. Before you pour it straight into your mouth, dilute the peroxide in water.

Pour 3% hydrogen peroxide into water: one part peroxide per two parts water. This will lower the concentration to 1% hydrogen peroxide. Gargle and swish the solution around your mouth for 30 to 60 seconds and then spit it out. Do not swallow. Rinse your mouth afterward, and you’re ready to go!

Clear Your Contact Lenses

Woman puts in contact lenses


If you don’t clean your contact lenses, you run the risk of spreading an eye infection. Instead of buying a solution, you can clear your lenses with hydrogen peroxide. This technique may help people who are sensitive to the preservatives used in contact solutions. To prevent hydrogen peroxide from stinging your eyes, you’ll need a neutralizer as well.

To clean your contact lenses, you can place them in 3% hydrogen peroxide for a little while. Afterward, leave them in a neutralizer for a couple of hours. Usually, the directions on the bottle will tell you exactly how long to leave them in.

Disinfect Your Sponges

Cleaning a mug with a sponge

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When your sponge starts smelling, it’s time to clean it. You don’t have to throw your sponge away every time it smells germ-infested. Hydrogen peroxide will soak into the sponge and kill all bacteria inside the tiniest crevices.

To start, place your sponge in a container. Pour hydrogen peroxide until the sponge is mostly submerged, and watch for the white bubbles. That means the bacteria is dying. After a few minutes, flip the sponge over and leave it for a few more minutes. Then take out the sponge and rinse it. You’re done!

Safely De-Germ Your Children’s Toys

The Playmobil toy figure

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If you’re worried about chemical cleaners, you’ll want to keep hydrogen peroxide in mind. It’s a great tool to use on kids’ toys since it doesn’t leave harmful residue. A mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water can easily disinfect plastic toys.

First, wipe off visible dirt. Remove any batteries if the toy has them. Then, create a solution that’s half water and half 3% hydrogen peroxide. (If you use all peroxide, it may strip the paint off.) You can either place the toy in a bowl of the mixture, or you can soak a towel and rub the toy.

The Perfect Cooler And Lunchbox Solution

A first grader opening his lunch box at the Theodor Storm Elementary School in Berlin

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According to a study from e-cloth, 73% of lunchboxes and coolers have bacteria that could cause food poisoning. Protect your family from this bacteria by cleaning these cases regularly. What better way to clean them than with hydrogen peroxide?

To start, remove all the food debris with soap and water. Then, fill your cooler or lunchbox with hydrogen peroxide. If you need more liquid, combine the hydrogen peroxide with water, but know that it’ll have less strength. Leave it for ten minutes, and then rinse your containers.

Get Your Cutting Board Food-Ready

Young woman slicing vegetables on a wooden cutting board.

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If you think about it, cutting boards touch our food as often (if not more often) as our plates do. As your cutting board touches raw vegetables and meat, it’ll accumulate bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Just washing the cutting board isn’t enough; you’ll want to disinfect it too.

After you clear your cutting board of food and water, rinse it thoroughly. Fill a container–large, glass baking pans should work–with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Leave your cutting board in there for ten minutes. Once you remove it, rinse it thoroughly, and look forward to your next meal.

Sometimes The Air Needs Cleaning, Too

An aromatherpy diffuser in action


Remember when we discussed cleaning your humidifier with hydrogen peroxide? We talked about how clean air improves your quality of life. Well, you can combine hydrogen peroxide and a humidifier for a different reason: to reduce the germs floating through your home.

You’ll want to dilute your 3% hydrogen peroxide a lot. Mix one part of peroxide with eight parts of water, and add the mixture to your humidifier. If you have a diffuser, you can add some drops of essential oils for a pleasant smell. Then let the machine work its magic. Don’t use this technique if you have pets around.

Is It Time To Do Your Roots?

Woman with dark roots


Anyone who has dyed their hair blonde understands the struggle of having your roots grow in. It’s awkward to see a dark line of hair touch your blonde locks. If you don’t want to use hydrogen peroxide to lighten your hair, why not use it to make your roots look better?

Dab some 3% hydrogen peroxide onto your roots, and let it sit for half and hour. Then wash it out. If you want it to appear more blonde, do it again. And if your head begins to sting, rinse your hair earlier.

Get Your Shower Grout Shining

A shower is seen as Sara Goo shows off her recently renovated bathroom in her home

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Cleaning bathrooms can be a dirty job, right? All of the moisture in the room and build-up from products in the shower and sinks can require a lot of elbow grease to clean. Luckily, hydrogen peroxide is also helpful with cleaning the shower grout.

Combine hydrogen peroxide with a little water and some lemon. Spray on the grout and give it some time to sit and work its magic. After, scrub into the grout. It will still take some work, but will make the job much easier!

Pour Some Into Your Bath For A Detox

Bathtub with elegant shoes and old-fashioned water tab

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You’ve probably never heard of this hydrogen peroxide hack before! Surprisingly, the product can help kill germs and bacteria on your body, which will help prevent and fight off illness. (Try it this winter!)

Once you get your warm bath running, add some hydrogen peroxide and soak for 30 minutes. Afterward, you’ll want to shower to rinse it off your skin. This is a cheap and easy hack for helping prevent illness if you’ve been in a germy environment like a kids’ arcade or ball pit.

A Few Drops Can Help Prevent Ear Infections

Roy Vidal holds his daughter, Savannah Vidal, as Dr. Elisa Nicholas check her for an ear infection

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Some kids and adults are more prone to ear infections than the average person. According to MedlinePlus, ear infections are the most common reason that parents bring their kids into the doctor, and three out of four children will have at least one ear infection by the time they reach three years old.

Reduce the risk of an ear infection by adding a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide to a q-tip, and cleaning out the ears. There are more harmful bacteria in our ears than we think, and this little step goes a long way.

Get Rid Of Dead Skin Cells On Towels

Simona Halep of Romania covers her face with a towel

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Bathroom towels often become one of the dirtiest things that we have to clean. Sometimes, good ole detergent and hot water just don’t do the trick– towels can collect loads of dead skin cells!

Luckily, you can get rid of dead skin cells on your bathroom towels with yep — you guessed it — hydrogen peroxide. Not every time, but every so often, add ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide to your wash load of towels. Add another ½ of vinegar, too! It will get your towels next-level clean.

Hydrogen Peroxide Gets Rid Of Blood Stains

Otto Porter Jr. #22 of the Washington Wizards is tended to after getting a bloody nose

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“He’s bleeding! Grab a towel!” is not something that you ever want to hear in your household, but these things happen. And you know you’ll grab whatever’s within reach to stop the bleeding when you have to. Luckily, there’s a hack for that.

If you have a blood-stained towel, add some hydrogen peroxide to the affected area, and let it sit. Then, rinse under warm water with soap. Repeat if it doesn’t come out the first time, but it should make a big difference!

Get Rid Of Foot Odor In Shoes

Nebraska Cornhuskers players in Adidas shoes are seen before the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini

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No one wants to buy a different product for every purpose, which makes hydrogen peroxide all the more beneficial. Sure, you could find a product at the store specifically for getting rid of foot odor in shoes, but why would you when you have a bottle of hydrogen peroxide at home?

Mix it with baking soda to create a paste. Then, put it in your shoes and set them out to dry. Once dried, removed the residue with a cloth. It’ll help a lot!

Clean Your Toilet Bowl

Bathroom in Sugar Hill Housing, New York

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Once again, hydrogen peroxide is the magic cleaning ingredient that you need in the bathroom! While you’re waiting for it to set on the grout in the shower, spray some hydrogen peroxide into your toilet bowl to get a good clean.

Mix it with ½ cup of baking soda and ¼ cup of castile soap. Throw in some warm water, too. This hack is great for saving money, or if you run out of toilet bowl cleaner and have some last-minute guests arriving.

Clean a Wound

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) wears a bandage on his eye after colliding with LA Clippers guard Tyrone Wallace (9)

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Hydrogen peroxide also acts as a quick agent for cleaning a cut or wound. This is most likely one of the most common uses for the product, but if you don’t already know about it, it’s worth mentioning!

This hack is another that saves money, if you were to go to the store and select various different products for antibacterial and disinfectant purposes. Apply the hydrogen peroxide to minor wounds to clean away dead tissue, stop minor bleeding, and clean the area to prevent infection.

Brighten Your Curtains And Tablecloths

A pair of unidentified models, one in a yellow, red, and black plaid top, look at yellow print curtains in a window, 1965

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Have your curtains yellowed over time? It happens. Check the bottom of your curtains for discoloration; if it’s messy, grab your bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Soak the yellowed part of your curtains in 3% hydrogen peroxide for five to ten minutes, and then throw them in the wash.

You can use the same method to remove stains from tablecloths. Soak the stained spots in hydrogen peroxide for a while. If food has caked onto the cloth, use a damp rag or sponge to scrub it off after the soak. Then run it through the wash.