7 Health Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Was this helpful?
  • Selective focus of hydrogen peroxide solution in brown amber bottle.

    You probably have a brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide tucked away in a bathroom or kitchen cabinet. For many years, hydrogen peroxide was a home medicine kit must-have, used to disinfect cuts and scrapes. Doctors now say hydrogen peroxide should not be dabbed on wounds because it can irritate skin and cause injuries to take longer to heal. However, this doesn’t mean tossing your bottle. Experts have found that hydrogen peroxide has many other uses that can improve your health. Here are seven for you to consider.

    (Warning: There are reports of people inhaling hydrogen peroxide to treat or prevent COVID-19. This is not safe and can damage your airways and lungs. Although there are some uses of hydrogen peroxide in the mouth, the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America states, "It is dangerous to put hydrogen peroxide into your nebulizer and breathe it in.")

  • 1
    Getting rid of warts
    man is covering the plantar wart on his foot with salicylic acid patch

    If you want to make a wart disappear, hydrogen peroxide can help. In a recent study, test subjects put 3% hydrogen peroxide (the most common type found in stores) on their warts and covered them with plastic tape for one hour daily for six weeks. The warts disappeared, while a placebo group saw no change. Stronger 6% hydrogen peroxide also worked. Don’t try this on genital warts or on facial acne; experts say hydrogen peroxide is too harsh for sensitive skin.

  • 2
    Clearing an earwax blockage
    Close-up of Caucasian man grimacing with finger in ear

    Sometimes when earwax builds up inside your ear, it requires a doctor to remove it. If you are prone to earwax blockages, you can try to prevent earwax from accumulating by using over-the-counter ear drops—or you can try hydrogen peroxide. Place an equal mix of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water in an eye dropper. Squeeze a few drops of this diluted hydrogen peroxide in your ear canal to soften your earwax. Caution: Don’t try this method if you have an ear infection, unless recommended by your doctor.

  • 3
    Killing germs in your mouth
    Man Rinsing And Gargling With Water In Glass

    During the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, the American Dental Association advised dentists to have patients rinse their mouths with a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution before treatment, since hydrogen peroxide is known for its germ-killing properties. Hydrogen peroxide also can be used to prevent gum disease. Some dentists recommend creating a hydrogen peroxide mouthwash by using a 30/70 mix (one part of 3% peroxide diluted with two parts water). Swish for about 60 seconds before spitting, taking care not to swallow, as ingesting peroxide can be dangerous. Stop using this mixture if your mouth stings.

  • 4
    Whitening your teeth
    Close up view on senior dentures

    Though whitening toothpastes are available in stores, toothpaste manufacturer Colgate suggests a hydrogen peroxide teeth whitening formula you can make yourself. Mix 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide with 1 tablespoon of baking soda to make a non-gritty paste. Brush and let stand on your teeth for about one minute before rinsing thoroughly. Do this no more than 2 to 3 times per week, since doing so more often risks breaking down tooth enamel and causing tooth sensitivity. Maintain your regular oral care as well, and of course check with your dentist first to make sure this is safe for your teeth.

  • 5
    Cleaning your fruits and veggies

    To remove potentially harmful bacteria and pesticides from your fruits and vegetables, clean them with diluted hydrogen peroxide. One method: Fill your kitchen sink with cold water. Stir in one quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide. Soak your produce in this mixture for about 20 to 30 minutes, then rinse very well and dry before eating. Another option is to spray produce with a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water, rinse and dry, then store as you normally would before eating.

  • 6
    Disinfecting surfaces in your home

    If you want to make your home germ-free, hydrogen peroxide is an effective alternative to commercial cleaners or strong-smelling bleach. It can be used on a variety of surfaces, from countertops to mirrors, sinks and toilets. To use, first wipe with soap and water. Then, spray with a 50/50 water/peroxide mix. After about five minutes, rinse any surfaces that come in contact with food, like cutting boards. Then let everything air dry. Be sure to ventilate the area and wear gloves to avoid skin irritation.

  • 7
    Easing bug-bite pain and itching
    Close-up of red insect or spider bite on unseen woman's forearm

    If you’ve been bitten by a mosquito or spider or stung by a bee, you know how intense the itching and sometimes pain can be. Commercial products are available to numb or treat these symptoms, but if you don’t have any on hand, give hydrogen peroxide a try. Some experts say to dab full-strength 3% peroxide on a bite directly, then apply an ice pack. Others suggest diluting peroxide in half with water, putting this on a bite, then rinsing after two minutes. Hydrogen peroxide can also help prevent bug-bite infection (though antibiotic ointment should also be applied after peroxide treatment).

Was this helpful?
Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2021 Jun 30
View All Lifestyle and Wellness Articles
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. Natural Solutions for Cleaning Your Produce. The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine. https://kaplanclinic.com/natural-solutions-for-cleaning-your-produce/
  2. What Is Hydrogen Peroxide Good For? Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-hydrogen-peroxide-good-for/
  3. Mahran AM, Twisy HO, Elghazally SA, Badran AY. Evaluation of different concentrations of hydrogen peroxide solution (3% and 6%) as a potential new therapeutic option of nongenital warts: A randomized controlled triple-blinded clinical trial. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2020 Feb;19(2):416-422. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13021. Epub 2019 Jun 8. PMID: 31175696.
  4. Treating Insect Bites. Ask Dr. Sears. https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/skin-care/insect-bites-stings/treating-insect-bites/
  5. How to Recognize and Treat 7 Different Bug Bites To Avoid Skin Damage and Even Scarring. Harding Medical Institute. https://hardingmedicalinstitute.com/how-to-recognize-and-treat-7-different-bug-bites-to-avoid-skin-damage-and-even-scarring/
  6. Mahran AM, Twisy HO, Elghazally SA, Badran AY. Evaluation of different concentrations of hydrogen peroxide solution (3% and 6%) as a potential new therapeutic option of nongenital warts: A randomized controlled triple-blinded clinical trial. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2020 Feb;19(2):416-422. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13021.
  7. How to Make Your Own Teeth-Whitening Paste. Colgate. https://www.colgate.com/en-gb/oral-health/teeth-whitening/how-to-make-your-own-teeth-whitening-paste-0315
  8. Sevy JO, Singh A. Cerumen Impaction Removal. [Updated 2020 Dec 23]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448155/
  9. Earwax blockage. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/earwax-blockage/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353007
  10. Is It Safe to Gargle With Hydrogen Peroxide? Williams, Daily & Frazier Dental. https://www.wdfdental.com/blog/is-it-safe-to-gargle-with-hydrogen-peroxide
  11. How to properly clean your fruits and vegetables the organic way. Dallas Morning News. https://www.dallasnews.com/food/cooking/2019/01/19/how-to-properly-clean-your-fruits-and-vegetables-the-organic-way/
  12. How to Clean & Disinfect with Hydrogen Peroxide. Merry Maids. https://www.merrymaids.com/cleaning-tips/quick-tips/how-to-clean-disinfect-with-hydrogen-peroxide/