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Hydrogen Peroxide


Hydrogen Peroxide is a clear colourless liquid. It is slightly more viscous than water and has a wide range of uses in industry, the laboratory and the home. It is a strong oxidiser and is most commonly referred to as bleach, which is known for its disinfectant and antiseptic properties. In industry, Hydrogen Peroxide is most widely used in paper making and paper bleaching. It is also used in dilute form in the manufacture of laundry cleaning powders and liquids. Hydrogen Peroxide is also widely used in industrial processes to manufacture Sodium Percarbonate and Sodium Perborate.

Domestically, a dilute solution of Hydrogen Peroxide or H2O2 (Hydrogen Dioxide) is used as a bleaching agent, particularly for bleaching hair. A concentration of between 2% and 3% is typically used and this removes the colour, leaving hair of a 'white' appearance and giving rise to the common expression 'peroxide blonde'. If dilute Hydrogen peroxide comes into contact with the skin, it will cause a temporary embolism and turn the skin white. It is also used to whiten bones which are being displayed such as museum pieces.

hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide has long been used as an antiseptic and its anti-bacterial properties are well documented. Hydrogen Peroxide can be used for cleaning wounds and is effective at quickly stopping capillary bleeding from small blood vessels in abrasions. A mixture of Hydrogen Peroxide, baking powder and soap can be used to effectively remove the odour of skunk.

Hydrogen Peroxide can also be used as a toothpaste when mixed with baking soda and salt. When mixed with Benzoyl Peroxide, Hydrogen Peroxide is effective in the treatment of acne. Some veterinary practices still use Hydrogen Peroxide as an emetic in animals. Hydrogen Peroxide is an oxidizing agent, classified as Corrosive and can cause serious burns to the skin and eyes.

Hydrogen Peroxide should always be handled with care and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should include approved eye protection, gloves, protective clothing and approved safety footwear. Hydrogen Peroxide should always be kept away from acids and flammable materials. As it is an oxidizer, Hydrogen Peroxide can promote the spread of fire by providing oxygen. Hydrogen Peroxide reacts vigorously with acids such as Sulphuric Acid.

Hydrogen Peroxide is found in many household cleaning products such as toilet cleaners and drain cleaners. When using 100 vol Hydrogen Peroxide it is essential that a vented cap is used. This is a legal requirement. At elevated temperatures, Hydrogen peroxide can give off oxygen causing bottles to swell, so it is important to have a cap that will vent. For further information on other aspects of Hydrogen Peroxide, please refer to the relevant pages of this website.

The information contained on this website is for advice and is freely available to copy, reproduce, print or share with others. Whilst every endeavour is made to keep the information up-to-date, we do not accept any responsibility for any incidence occurring as a result of this information being out-of-date.

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