H2o2 is a common medical and household product better known as Hydrogen Peroxide. In its pure form, it is a clear liquid that is only slightly more viscous than water. There is a whole category of substances that fall under the category of peroxide, but h2o2 is the simplest among them. The hydrogen peroxide molecule is a combination of two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms which come together to generate some amazing capabilities.
Uses for H2O2
Hydrogen peroxide has many uses other than the common usage most of us are familiar with- disinfecting minor wounds. The medical grade of the substance, which is a mixture of 97% water and 3% h2o2, has the correct level of strength for uses that will bring it into contact with the sensitive tissues of the body. It can be used as a very effective mouthwash and topical disinfectant. It is excellent for treating external fungus infections such as athlete’s foot and jock itch and is also an effective localized treatment for acne.
These are common uses for h2o2, but there are many more ways that this amazing substance can be put to use in your everyday life such as:
- Cleaning a cutting board: h2o2 will get down into the impossible to reach cracks and crevasses in a well-used cutting board to kill germs and keep them away from your food. You can also use it to clean sponges, tile, stone tile and many other items that are porous and hard to clean.
- Use as a bleach substitute: h2o2 was used to lighten hair long before the fashion industry started pushing those smelly hair lightening bleach products. It’s also much gentler than bleach for this purpose. You can also use it to whiten your teeth, but this should only be done with your dentist’s supervision or using a teeth whitening product that is designed for this purpose. You can use it to lighten stains or brighten white fabrics. Again, it’s much gentler than bleach and will not eat holes in your linens if you pour it on too heavily.
- Remove blood stains: because h2o2 is such a simple substance, not a mixture of chemical additives, and because of its bubbly nature and tendency to act as a bleaching agent- it’s perfect for getting blood stains out of fabrics. Club Soda is good for this purpose too- but peroxide is even better- and you don’t have to be over the age of 21 to get it. It also does an equally good job cleaning up all kinds of stubborn stains like red wine and ketchup.
- Clean and kill mold: whether it’s in your shower, refrigerator, toilet bowls, sinks, tile, or anyplace you find embedded mold and grime- hydrogen peroxide is very useful in getting it out. Not only does it kill any mold that might be present, but it gets deep down into the hidden spots to kill all the mold and loosen up hidden bits of dirt and filth.
Is H2O2 Poisonous?
H2o2 can be dangerous if used in concentrated forms for the wrong purpose. The concentration that best used for the purposes listed above is the common 3% concentration you can get at just about any grocery or drug store. The 3% solution is also sometimes called “pharmaceutical grade,” and is appropriate for disinfecting wounds and the like. The higher concentrations it comes in are:
- 35% – This is also good for personal use, but requires more care and knowledge.
- 1% – This is the concentration that some people use for internal purposes.
Pure h2o2 can be very dangerous and should never be used for personal care.
Is H2O2 Polar or Nonpolar?
A lot of chemistry students run into this question on their exams, and it’s not so easy to answer at first. That’s because the hydrogen atoms on the h2o2 molecule are not symmetrical. One points off in one direction, and the other kind of points off to the side a bit. This leads a lot of people to assume it is nonpolar. But the truth is that h2o2 is a polar molecule. Looking at a model of its magnetic field reveals that it has a north and south pole- they just aren’t quite on opposite sides to each other. So yes, h2o2 is actually a polar molecule.