May 10, 2009–Today’s Way: One of my favorite house cleaning ingredients is hydrogen peroxide.  Primarily oxygen and water (H2O2), hydrogen peroxide is a mild germicidal and disinfectant, yet non-toxic at the 3% dilution sold in your average drug store.  I keep a spray bottle of it handy on every floor of the house, and use it for everything from stains and spills to grout and tile work.  It’ll remove fresh blood and red wine (the sooner after the spill, the better) and even sweat stains from fabrics, foaming the stains away right before your very eyes.  It’s also great for removing many other food and protein stains.  Add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your load of whites in the wash.  Spray some on your grout and let it do its magic, naturally bleaching out the tile and disinfecting from germs and killing mold at the same time.   It also works nicely to help remove stains from tubs, sinks and toilets.  You can use it as a disinfectant on bathroom or kitchen counters.  Spray it on your cutting boards after washing them, you can also use it as an antiseptic mouth wash (be careful not to swallow it and rinse your mouth with water after) and tooth whitener.  Hydrogen peroxide is a wonderful alternative to using chemical disinfectant soaks in manicures and pedicures, and for disinfecting tools and your station afterward.  You can use hydrogen peroxide as a cleanser for your office kitchen or work areas.

Hydrogen peroxide does all of these cleaning chores very well, but I love that it doesn’t accost me with noxious fumes or indiscriminately kill everything that comes into its path, whether good or bad.  Chlorine bleach is bad for septic systems—which we have—because it kills the beneficial microbes which are necessary for the proper function of the system, and in city sewage systems, bleach co-mingles with all the other chemicals that are going down everyone’s drains and can create a toxic chemical soup that is dangerous to wildlife.  Hydrogen peroxide, on the other hand, breaks down quickly in light and air, so it is much safer for the environment.  This is also why it is typically sold in a brown opaque bottle, to protect the solution from light.  I just switch out a sprayer on the bottle to keep the hydrogen peroxide fresh, making it easier to dispense.