Sunday, January 25, 2009

Beyond Bleach to Disinfect...and no, It's Not Vinegar!

Ha, I'll bet you thought I'd suggest vinegar! (I do have a bit of a vinegar dependency issue...but we'll deal with that another day.) Today, the disinfectant of choice is hydrogen peroxide. AKA: My favorite new cleaning necessity.

Maybe you're the sort of person who grew up cleaning with bleach. You might have fond memories of Mom scrubbing the bathtub with scouring pads and bleach, her yellow rubber gloves tightly snapped on. Those bright yellow gloves meant business. And darn it, that cleaning business included heavy doses of chlorine bleach! Those fumes lingered in the air for days...ahhh, the memories.

But...since then a lot of us have decided that we're not so fond of cleaning with bleach. Mom (and Grandma, too) might deny that any other cleaner can clean as effectively, and can kill just as many germs. So, maybe we should keep this news of a 'new' bleach-y type cleaner all to ourselves.

Ta da! It's simply that bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide that you keep stored in the medicine chest for small scratches and assorted boo boos . This stuff is also an amazing, powerful disinfectant agent. And, if you're not so fond of the vinegar (which I've already admitted having a powerful bond with) then you'll like the very UN-vinegar-ish odor of hydrogen peroxide. Basically, peroxide has no odor. I smelled it today to make sure, and I can confirm 100% that it is practically odorless.

So, to whip up a natural cleaning and disinfectant cleaner, take a clean spray bottle (not one that has stored other chemicals - you just never know if there will be weird reactions) and:

  • Fill about one half full with 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Fill the rest of the way with tap water or distilled water, if you so choose.
  • Give the bottle a wee shake-up for good measure...
  • And then clean to your heart's content! It's especially fantastic in those areas where germs like to gather - like the kitchen and bathroom.

More hydrogen peroxide tips to come...and if you have one to share, just post a comment or email me. Another quick one is to use hydrogen peroxide (just the 3% pharmacy stuff, not the ultra-powerful industrial strength 35% which is actually seriously heavy duty stuff) full strength on stains - really great on grout stains. (Just pour some on an oversized cotton pad or cotton ball and smoosh it right on the stain and let it sit a while. If you're worried about possible bleaching, just do a test spot somewhere inconspicuous first.)

Happy cleaning to you! (Yes, that is possible...You crazy cynics, you.)



Dianne said...

That's a great suggestion. I love alternatives to expensive packaged items. I just tried using vinegar to stretch my clothes softener (I use liquid and not those throw away towelettes that seem so wasteful) and not only did my clothes come out just as soft, but the perfumy odor of the softener wasn't there. I understand, in a pinch, vinegar can be used in place of softener...I think I may just try it, and this suggestion too! I'm unemployed now, so all the economic suggestions are really wonderful for me, and I'm sure others too. Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

I've just started using peroxide too.
I pour it on sponges and let them sit for a bit,wipe down the sink and rinse them.
Fresh and clean and it doesn't eat them up like bleach does.
I also use it to clean my toothbrush and cup.Just pour some in the cup and let your toothbrush sit in it for a few minutes.
For these I use it full strength.

Anonymous said...

3% peroxide uses -
1. Take one capful (the little white cap that comes with the bottle) and hold in your mouth for 10 minutes daily, then spit it out. (I do it when I bathe) No more canker sores and your teeth will be whiter without expensive pastes. Use it instead of mouthwash. (Small print says mouth wash and gargle right on the bottle)

2. Let your toothbrushes soak in a cup of "Peroxide" to keep them free of germs.

3. Clean your counters, table tops with peroxide to kill germs and leave a fresh smell. Simply put a little on your dishrag when you wipe, or spray it on the counters.

4. After rinsing off your wooden cutting board, pour peroxide on it to kill salmonella and other bacteria.

5. For foot fungus spray a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water on them (especially the toes) every night and let dry.

6. Soak any infections or cuts in 3% peroxide for five to ten minutes several times a day.

7. Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water and keep it in every bathroom to disinfect without harming your septic system like bleach or most other disinfectants will.

8. Tilt your head back and spray into nostrils with your 50/50 mixture whenever you have a cold, or plugged sinuses. It will bubble and help to kill the bacteria. Hold for a few minutes then blow your nose into a tissue.

9. If you have a terrible toothache and cannot get to a dentist right away, put a capful of 3% peroxide into your mouth and hold it for ten minutes several times a day. The pain will lessen greatly.

10. And of course, if you like a natural look to your hair, spray the 50/50 solution on your wet hair after a shower and comb it through. You will not have the peroxide burnt blonde hair like the hair dye packages, but more natural highlights if your hair is a light brown, reddish, or dirty blonde. It also lightens gradually so it's not a drastic change.

11. Put half a bottle of peroxide in your bath to help rid boils, fungus, or other skin infections.

12. You can also add a cup of peroxide instead of bleach to a load of whites in your laundry to whiten them. If there is blood on clothing, pour directly on the soiled spot. Let it sit for a minute, then rub it and rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary.

13. I use peroxide to clean my mirrors with, and there is no smearing which is why I love it so much for this.

14 . To make pet urine odors disappear – no matter how old – 1 c. peroxide, 1 tsp. baking soda, and 1 drop liquid soap. Mix w/ plastic spoon for 15 seconds. Pour on area and let dry up to 2 days. May need to be reapplied – works fantastically! Do not mix and try to store – it could explode! But, for a large area, it can be doubled!

smileytoo said...

I've used peroxide to clean my bathroom sink and faucet area for about a year. It was there when I needed a quick pick-me-up cleaner, and was pleased with the results. Thanks for the thumbs up on its uses!