Domestic cleaning and commercial cleaning have few differences because, at the end of the day, cleaning is cleaning. Most of the time, it boils down to the equipment or materials used. For instance, professional cleaners use high-powered, industrial level machines and chemicals that are often unnecessary for more basic home applications.
That said, you may also be surprised at how many home cleaning solutions and “hacks” are also used by commercial cleaners. The tried-and-tested baking soda and white vinegar mixture is a great example. Another is hydrogen peroxide, which will be discussed more below.
What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound with a wide range of applications. It’s primarily used as an ingredient in personal care products, including toothpaste, mouthwash, and certain types of hair dye.
Hydrogen peroxide is also a common component in first aid antiseptics. It also breaks down quickly when it gets into contact with air or water; thus, it’s a safer option for treating water compared to chlorine.
In its pure form, hydrogen peroxide has a very pale blue colour. It differs from water by one extra molecule of oxygen, making it a powerful oxidiser. This is why it’s effective in removing stains, particularly those that are organic in nature.
How Does Hydrogen Peroxide Work?
The reason why hydrogen peroxide is such an effective cleaning agent is that it can break down stains at a molecular level. It combines with the oxygen molecules from the stain, and then brings them up to the surface for washing or rinsing. The same process can also destroy odours, making hydrogen peroxide an excellent deodoriser.
Do note that hydrogen peroxide is best used against stains that contain carbon and/or protein. These include food stains, grass stains, blood, and urine. If you’re dealing with petroleum-based stains, it’s best to use other cleaners. Some hydrogen peroxide cleaners also have a pH level that isn’t ideal for use on sealed surfaces (e.g., sealed concrete).
The Benefits of Using Hydrogen Peroxide in Cleaning
One of the biggest benefits of using hydrogen peroxide as a cleaning agent is that it’s eco-friendly and non-toxic. It doesn’t produce any harmful fumes or pollutants, leaving behind only water and oxygen when it dissipates.
Besides its safety, hydrogen peroxide is also inexpensive and accessible. You can easily find it in supermarkets, department stores, and pharmacies. Finally and perhaps more importantly, hydrogen peroxide has been found to be effective in killing bacteria, fungi, viruses, and even mould spores.
That said, here are some of the ways you can use this natural compound for cleaning:
In the bathroom:
- Sanitising toothbrushes, makeup brushes, and other personal care tools.
- Cleaning and sanitising the toilet, sink, and bathtub.
- Removing soap scum and water stains from glass doors and windows.
- Removing grime from tile grout.
In the kitchen:
- Disinfecting kitchen counters and food preparation areas.
- Disinfecting cutting boards, sinks, and dishwashing sponges.
- Scrubbing appliances such as microwave ovens, dishwashers, and stovetops.
- Removing dried food stains and debris from pots and pans.
- Soaking and washing vegetables (to extend shelf life).
- Deodorising the garbage bin.
In the laundry room:
- Removing stubborn stains from clothing and other fabrics.
- Making white clothes whiter.
In the garden:
- Removing fungi and other parasites from plants and trees.
- Cleaning algae from ponds and aquariums.
- Softening seeds before planting to help ensure healthy germination.
As you can see, hydrogen peroxide is an excellent all-around cleaner that you can use in every room in the house and workplace. The key is to know how to use it properly, which will be discussed in the next section.
Things to Remember When Using Hydrogen Peroxide for Cleaning
The best formulation of hydrogen peroxide to use for cleaning is the 3% concentration. You can mix one cup of this with 1 litre, stir or shake well, and put it into a spray bottle. You can then spritz this solution to the surface or material you want to clean, let it sit, then wash or rinse accordingly.
If you want a more diluted solution, add 1 more litre of water into the mixture. This is perfect for routine cleaning. Meanwhile, for intensive deep-cleaning sessions, you can mix a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water.
When choosing a hydrogen peroxide formulation, stick to a maximum of 5% concentration. Check the label of the bottle to be sure of its contents. Anything higher than 5% can be hazardous and require more careful handling. In particular, vapours from highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide (e.g., 30% concentration) can cause asphyxiation.
Do note that 3% to 5% hydrogen peroxide cannot be absorbed by intact skin. However, they can be irritating to the eyes, nose, and upper throat. It’s also inadvisable to ingest any volume or concentration of the substance.
Finally, studies have shown that hydrogen peroxide may cause scarring. If you have wounds that would be exposed to the liquid while cleaning, make sure to cover them appropriately.
Cleaning can be, literally, quite a chore. Thankfully, there are plenty of cleaning aids that can make it a little easier to do. If you’re a homeowner, try using hydrogen peroxide in one of your cleaning sessions in the future. If you’re an office manager or a professional cleaner, you might want to stock up on hydrogen peroxide for quick yet effective disinfection. It will make all the difference!