Wondering where to buy hydrogen peroxide for cleaning? Here are my go-to places to shop for this green cleaning staple, as well as the percentage you should buy.
You might think of hydrogen peroxide as a first-aid staple for cleaning cuts and scrapes, or for treating dental problems. However, that amber glass bottle is full of uses beyond purely medical ones. You can use hydrogen peroxide to naturally clean your home the non-toxic way and you can use it to freshen up your laundry on wash day. It’s a natural cleaning do-it-all!
What Is Hydrogen Peroxide Exactly?
You might be wondering what hydrogen peroxide is exactly. Hydrogen peroxide is the chemical compound H2O2. This chemical formula denotes that it is made up of two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms. This means it’s essentially water (H2O) with one extra oxygen atom.
Put like that, hydrogen peroxide might seem innocuous. In actual fact, it is really bad news for germs and bacteria. That extra oxygen atom is highly volatile and causes oxidation. This is a reaction in which the hydrogen peroxide steals electrons from bacteria, breaking down their cell walls. With no cell walls, bacteria, which are simple microorganisms, die, leaving surfaces germ-free.
In addition, when used in natural cleaning, hydrogen peroxide doesn’t leave any harsh chemical residue on your surfaces. This is because when hydrogen peroxide reacts with organic material, it breaks down into oxygen and water. All this makes hydrogen peroxide an effective natural cleaner without the cloying odour or eye and lung-irritating properties of bleach.
What Can You Clean?
From naturally disinfecting your kitchen sponges to sanitising hard surfaces, removing bloodstains, and naturally keeping whites white, amongst a myriad of uses, there are so many things you can clean with hydrogen peroxide.
Whilst it is an effective natural cleaner, there are some safety concerns that you need to take heed of. First, never mix hydrogen peroxide with vinegar as it can be very harmful to your health (see my guide to cleaning with white vinegar for the full details). And never mix hydrogen peroxide with bleach, as again this can be incredibly dangerous. Doing so can release poisonous gases.
Used correctly though, it’s a green cleaning powerhouse, so don’t let these concerns put you off.
What Strength Hydrogen Peroxide Is Best For Cleaning?
Hydrogen peroxide is sold in a variety of strengths – from 3% through to 12%. For cleaning, the weakest strength – the 3% strength – is more than enough for all of your natural cleaning and disinfecting needs. There is never any reason why you would need a higher percentage than 6% for cleaning.
Where To Buy Hydrogen Peroxide For Cleaning
Here in the UK, hydrogen peroxide can generally only be bought from pharmacies as its sale is quite heavily restricted.
Pharmacies keep it behind the counter, so you will have to specifically ask for a bottle. Even then, there is no guarantee the pharmacist will sell it to you without a valid reason. As I’ve learned the hard way, green cleaning isn’t always a valid reason for buying hydrogen peroxide!
As such, I personally find it easier to buy hydrogen peroxide online. I recommend buying just one bottle at a time as it can be tricky to store – it goes flat and loses its effectiveness over time – so never buy more than one bottle:
Sephora UK sells a 200 ml glass bottle of 6% hydrogen peroxide for £1.05 (currently out of stock). You can dilute this with water, in a 50:50 ratio, to make the 3% dilution that I recommend for cleaning.
When diluting hydrogen peroxide, only dilute it when you need to use it, and only in the exact quantity that you require. After use, I would recommend discarding any unused diluted solution. This is because hydrogen peroxide’s active ingredients don’t last long when diluted. After a short time, it would be no better than cleaning with plain water.
Whilst Amazon is not my preferred place to shop, for a litany of ethical reasons, Amazon does stock 250 ml bottles of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Amazon also has other bottle sizes and buying options, should you want to explore larger bottles, if you’re confident you can use up the bottle within a short time frame.
eBay is another handy place to buy hydrogen peroxide for cleaning online, particularly if you want to avoid Amazon. Whilst there are lots of buying options, remember to stick to the 3% version for cleaning.
How To Store Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide comes in an amber glass bottle because it’s quite a delicate substance. Once opened, and exposed to heat, light, and air, it starts to break down to water quite quickly.
Once you’re done using the bottle, make sure you seal the bottle tightly and store it in a cool, dark place away from direct heat.
Hydrogen peroxide is best used within six months of opening. If it doesn’t fizz when you clean with it, it’s past its best. This is why I don’t recommend buying more than one bottle at a time.
If you are looking for more green cleaning help and inspiration, then do check out my guide to natural cleaning product recipes. Here I talk you through my best natural cleaning recipes and guides to make a wide range of effective non-toxic cleaning solutions for your whole home.