Mary Ann Lienhart Cross
Extension Educator – Health & Human Sciences
Purdue Extension Elkhart County
For immediate release
Using Hydrogen Peroxide for Sanitizing and Disinfecting
Now is the time to remind ourselves what we can do to stay healthy this flu season says Mary Ann Lienhart Cross, Purdue Extension Educator in Health and Human Sciences. Keeping surfaces clean and disinfected can really help prevent bacteria growth. One of the most economical and safe ways to disinfect is with hydrogen peroxide. It offers a natural way to sanitize your home without using dangerous and toxic chemicals. Hydrogen peroxide has antibacterial and antiviral qualities and works better than white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and acetic acid.
Hydrogen peroxide is used as an antiseptic because it kills bacteria cells by destroying the cell’s walls. When it comes to fungus, its antifungal properties make it excellent for treating fungal infections like athlete’s foot. It is also more effective than chlorine bleach at reaching and killing mold on porous surfaces.
It is good for cleaning walls, glass, doorknobs, countertops, toilets and other hard surfaces. Use the three percent solution undiluted in a spray bottle and spray it on the surface to be cleaned. Allow it to stand for several minutes then wipe. Some of the surfaces that you can clean frequently with hydrogen peroxide are appliances, countertops, cutting boards, bathtubs, mirrors, toilets and windows.
To use as a disinfectant, spray it on the surface, allow the bubbles to subside, then air dry or wipe dry with a clean cloth. You can also soak items like your toothbrush, retainer or thermometer in the peroxide to disinfect them.
Hydrogen peroxide can also be used in the laundry room. Use it to whiten and brighten clothes and remove stains. Remember, it is a bleach and will leave spots on darker colors. Lienhart Cross suggests you always test a spot on an inside seam before using it on the entire garment.
Remember this cold and flu season to practice other habits to keep you and your family healthy. Wash your hands often with warm water and soap for 20 seconds and keep your hands away from your face. Drink plenty of water and eat a variety of foods, especially vegetables and fruit. Also, make sure to get adequate sleep.###