If you have hydrogen peroxide in your home, chances are it’s in your first aid kit. And that’s a shame, really. For one, applying peroxide to cuts and scrapes really isn’t the best way to go about repairing your skin — it actually does more harm than good! For another, hydrogen peroxide has a number of fantastic uses outside of first aid. As a tough, nontoxic chemical, the stuff works wonders in your home. And it’s cheap, too! Click through to check out several surprising ways to use hydrogen peroxide.
Note: All of these tips and tricks call for the 3% concentration of hydrogen peroxide, the percentage you’d typically find in your first aid kit or at your pharmacy.
2. Grow Mushrooms in the Fridge. It’s true! With the help of hydrogen peroxide, you can grow oyster mushrooms in a freezer bag in your fridge. For detailed instructions, click here.
3. Make Sure Your Veggies are Safe. Nobody wants bacteria-filled vegetables. Place 3% hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle and mist over your produce, letting it soak for about five minutes before rinsing off and drying.
4. Clean Sponges. Just can’t seem to get that funky smell out of your sponges? Combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water in a shallow bowl, and let the sponge soak for about 15 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
Related: 14 Surprising Uses for Onions
5. Red Wine. Have a little too much fun last night? Cover the evidence by combining equal parts hydrogen peroxide and liquid detergent and pouring over the stain. Blot with a towel, wash with warm water, and let it dry.
6. Armpits. Sweaty? Get rid of embarrassing armpit stains by placing a mixture of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide on the affected area. Let it sit for about an hour before rinsing away in cold water.
7. Blood. Hydrogen peroxide is a bleach, so it’ll help get rid of pesky blood stains. Pour it directly onto the stain and let it sit for about five minutes. Blot and rinse in cold water. You may need to repeat this once or twice to fully lift the stain. Word of warning: as a (albeit mild) bleach, it can also whiten your clothes — use caution!
8. Stained Tiles & Stone Countertops. No matter what the culprit was, hydrogen peroxide works wonders on removing stains from stone and tile. Combine it with flour to create a thick paste and apply to the stain. Let it sit overnight covered in plastic wrap. Carefully remove in the morning.
See Also: 23 Ingenious Uses for White Vinegar
Health & Beauty
9. Whiten Nails. Who needs a French manicure when you can make your nails shine with a little hydrogen peroxide? Click here for instructions.
10. Get Rid of a Cold. It might sound a little strange, but putting a few drops of hydrogen peroxide into each of your ears every morning can help you beat a cold. Read more about this method here.
11. Use as a Mouthwash. Dilute in water (the mixture should be about half water-half hydrogen peroxide) and use as a mouthwash, being very careful not to swallow any of the stuff. It’ll kill germs & whiten your teeth. Some experts even think it helps alleviate toothaches and canker sores!
12. Disinfect Countertops. Hydrogen peroxide is great for keeping your countertops clean and safe. Spray onto counters, let it sit, and wipe clean.
13. Clean Toilet Bowls. Easy: just pour the stuff into the bowl and let it soak for about 20-30 minutes before scrubbing clean.
14. Clean Out the Fridge. Non-toxic hydrogen peroxide is an ideal cleaning tool for your fridge. Apply, let it soak, and wipe clean. You can also do this with dishwashers.
15. Clean up Mold. Hydrogen peroxide works wonders on pesky mold — even the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agrees!