The Benefits and Drawbacks to Using Hydrogen Peroxide

The Benefits and Drawbacks to Using Hydrogen Peroxide


Hydrogen peroxide is a staple in medicine cabinets and first aid kits, and it should be part of your survival kits and bug out bags as well.  It has numerous uses, in addition to first aid, that make it worth having a supply on hand.  However, there are also some misconceptions about using hydrogen peroxide, particularly when it comes to cleaning wounds, that are important to know about.  Let’s take a closer look at hydrogen peroxide and how you can make the most of this fantastic product.

Wound Care

The effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide when it comes to cleaning wounds and preventing infections is hotly-debated.  On one hand, it’s been the go-to treatment for minor scrapes and cuts for decades, and people are simply conditioned to believe that it works.  On the other hand, an emerging body of research keeps confirming that hydrogen peroxide does little to disinfect wounds, and it can actually do more harm than good.

The reason is that while hydrogen peroxide does destroy bacteria by eating through their membranes and causing them to break apart, it also kills healthy cells as well.  Consequently, it can help to control infections, but it does so at the expense of healthy tissue that may interfere with the healing process.  On the other hand, by carefully applying the peroxide to the affected area and not the surrounding tissues, peripheral damage can be reduced. 

Another mixed-bag with peroxide is that it does lift dirt, grime, dust and other impurities from wounds and skin.  So, it is useful as a cleanser and disinfectant.  The question is how to apply it in a way that does the most good while minimizing damage.  The general consensus is that you should use it as sparingly as possible, avoid using it on deep wounds or serious infections, and dilute it with water in order to reduce skin irritation.  Finally, applying a dab of peroxide over a wound and then quickly rinsing with water can also reduce peripheral damage to healthy cells.


Aside from wound care, hydrogen peroxide has quite a few beneficial uses that make it worth keeping around.  You can use it to kill bacteria in your mouth, whiten teeth and even slow the spread of gum disease.  Many people know about the traditional method of mixing baking soda and peroxide with a little bit of water to make an effective toothpaste, and it really works.  It also works as a gargle as long as it’s diluted with water and you thoroughly rinse your mouth afterward.  You can also use hydrogen peroxide to soak toothbrushes in order to kill off bacteria. 

Hydrogen peroxide, used in conjunction with olive oil, can help to loosen wax and relieve the symptoms of swimmers ear.  Apply a few drops directly into the ear canal and let it rest for a minute or two.  You may feel some burning or a sizzling, popping sensation, and this is good as it shows that the oxidation is killing bacteria and drying out earwax. 

Once the time has passed, add some olive oil and cover with a cotton ball.  Wait a few more minutes before draining the ear with some warm water, and the wax will start to dislodge.  Keep in mind that you may need more than one treatment, particularly if you have a considerable of excess wax that needs to be removed.  The peroxide can also help to kill off bacteria in the ear canal that causes swimmers ear.

It can also be used to disinfect surfaces, help to remove mold and mildew and clean grout between tiles.  It is also known to kill bacteria in toilets, bathtubs and sinks, and you can also use it to wipe down cooking surfaces and utensils in order to minimize the risk of cross contamination during food preparation.

Hydrogen peroxide is also a pretty-effective anti-fungal agent, and it can be used on people, pets as well as plants.  There is also a strong link to spraying a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on seeds to promote germination and minimize bacterial invasions that harm plants. 

These are just a few of dozens of benefits associated with hydrogen peroxide, but it’s important to use it under the right conditions for best results.  Take a closer look at why it may not be the first or best choice for wound care, but also learn more about how you can put it to everyday use in many other ways as well.  No matter how you slice it, hydrogen peroxide has earned it’s place as a staple item, and you definitely want to have some on hand at all times. 


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