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Life Hacks

10 Brilliant Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide That May Surprise You

If you are a homeowner, hydrogen peroxide is one of those products you must have on hand. You can use it to treat minor cuts and kill germs, but also to clean sinks and eliminate bathroom scum. And there are plenty of other ways to use it beyond the traditional tricks. Get more out of your peroxide (and avoid more expensive fixes) with these 10 tips!

1. Rescue ailing houseplants.

Even with regular watering, the leaves of your houseplants have started turning yellow and have lost their lushness. The likely cause? Root rot.

To eliminate it, fill a spray bottle with one cup of water and one ounce of hydrogen peroxide, then use the solution to water plants as usual. The peroxide helps release extra oxygen to aerate the soil and strengthen the plants so they can thrive again.

2. Restore a grimy cookie sheet.

That last batch of oatmeal cookies was tasty, but left gunk stuck on your baking sheets. What can help?

Sprinkle a layer of baking soda on the pan and pour hydrogen peroxide over it. Let it sit for two hours, then scrub with dish soap and water. The bubbly combination of peroxide and baking soda will loosen any baked-on grime.

3. Brighten up yellow nails.

Yikes! You removed your bright red polish only to discover that it left your nails looking rather yellow. To the rescue: hydrogen peroxide! It oxidizes the polish’s pigment, restoring nails’ natural hue.

Simply fill a bowl with enough peroxide to cover your fingertips, then soak nails for a few minutes. Next, dip a cotton swab in the bowl and use it to wipe under the nails’ tips. (Click through to learn how hydrogen peroxide can get rid of unsightly dark ear wax, too.)

4. Banish a dog’s acne.

Your poor pup has a few blemishes on his chin that don’t seem to be clearing up.

The solution: Moisten a soft cloth with hydrogen peroxide and use it to wipe his chin twice a day. As an antimicrobial, peroxide destroys the acne-causing bacteria so Buster’s chin is blemish-free in no time.

5. Rid produce of bacteria.

The easy way to sanitize your fruit and veggies so they’re free of dirt, pesticides, and germs? Fill a large bowl with cold water and add 1 ⁄4 cup of peroxide. Soak produce for one minute, then rinse with running water.

Peroxide effectively kills dirt and bacteria by creating an oxygen-rich environment in which they can’t survive. (And if you’re squeamish about using it to clean your produce, check out this simple alternative.)

6. Guarantee clear glassware.

Those pesky spots on your glasses can sap the beauty of a nicely set table. The simple solution: Add two to four tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to the dishwasher’s rinse compartment and run as usual. It dissolves stubborn hard-water deposits so glassware is crystal-clear.

7. Lift wine stains with ease.

Spill a little red wine on your pristine white shirt? Try this: Pour a mixture of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water directly onto the affected area. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then launder as usual. Unlike bleach, which can turn whites gray, peroxide will react with the wine to break down the stain without damaging the fabric.

8. Soothe tired tootsies.

The new boots you bought look fabulous! But after a day spent breaking them in, your feet are tired, sore, and blistered.

For quick relief, fill a basin with two cups of water and two cups of hydrogen peroxide, then soak your feet for 30 minutes. The peroxide will provide a cooling sensation to rejuvenate tired feet, plus help speed healing for any blisters that have formed. Aah…

9. Freshen a humidifier.

A simple way to avoid bacteria buildup inside a humidifier: Every three days, unplug the device and remove the water tank. Saturate a clean cloth with hydrogen peroxide and wipe down the base of the humidifier. Then, fill the tank with one gallon of water and one pint of the peroxide. Rinse with fresh water after 30 minutes. The liquid will kill any harmful microorganisms.

10. Whiten stains between teeth.

You like to use whitening strips to brighten your smile, but they don’t do much for unsightly, hard-to-reach stains between teeth.

The save: Pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide into a shallow bowl, dip regular dental floss into it, then floss as usual. Peroxide, which is found in most tooth-whitening products, releases oxygen to break down stains and whiten any discoloration.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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