Besides white vinegar and washing soda, 3% hydrogen peroxide is a“must-have” basic in your laundry supply cabinet. Like the first two, it is inexpensive, non-toxic and a great disinfectant. In fact hydrogen peroxide is so versatile, it is a good idea to keep a bottle in your kitchen and bathroom cabinets too.
Hydrogen peroxide is basically a water-oxygen (x2) compound that is found in most living organisms exposed to oxygen. It is the foundation for products such as Oxiclean and the benzoyle peroxide found in acne products.
If unopened, a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution can last at least a year from purchase. Once you have opened the bottle, hydrogen peroxide will start losing its effectiveness after approximately 30 to 45 days.
Due to the oxidizing properties of hydrogen peroxide, it is often used as a bleaching agent, which is why care should be exercised when using it with bright colors and dark fabrics. So, even though it is safer to use than bleach you should treat it as though it were bleach when it comes to removing color from clothes. With that in mind, here are some great ideas for using 3% hydrogen peroxide in your laundry:
Blood stains – Pour straight peroxide on the spot and let it sit for a few minutes before washing. Remember that it may fade or “bleach out”anything other than white! Fresh stains should yield better results,where old set-in stains may be unsalvageable.
Brighten whites – Pour a cup of peroxide in the bleach or presoak compartment when washing a regular sized load of whites instead of bleach. If you do not have a washer with those features, then just add to the water when tub has filled and let it agitate for a few seconds to mix, before adding items to water.
Disinfect Cloth Diapers – Following the above instructions for brightening whites, you can effectively disinfect cloth diapers without the harshness of bleach. Remember not to overload the washer and rinse well.
Soap scum and mildew on shower curtains – Adding a cup of peroxide to the rinse cycle will help get rid of the built-up crud. Wash with a white towel or two, to balance the load.
To freshen smelly towels and washcloths – Presoak with ½ cup distilled white vinegar and ½ cup 3% hydrogen peroxide, then wash as usual.
Red Wine Stains – Apply equal parts of peroxide and liquid detergent to the stain and blot with clean cloth. Wash in warmest temperature allowed by care label. Same caution as blood stains in regard to colors.
Ring around the collar – Spray with equal parts peroxide and liquid laundry detergent and let set before washing.
Yellow Armpit Stains – Remove yellow under arm stains on white t-shirts by soaking the area in equal parts peroxide and water for 30 min, then rinse well and wash. Be realistic too – if the shirt has been badly stained for years, do not expect it to completely remove the stain.
Yellowed Lace curtains and tablecloths – Soak in a laundry tub with 2cups of hydrogen peroxide for minimum of one hour, rinse well in cold water and air dry away from direct sunlight.