A 3-cent tooth whitener and 7 other surprising uses for hydrogen peroxide

surprising uses for hydrogen peroxide
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There’s a good chance you have a little brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your bathroom right now — but you probably don’t use it for much other than the occasional disinfection of minor cuts and scrapes. Behold all the affordable (and ingenious) uses you've been missing out on.

Chris Lenfert / Today

Whiten teeth 
Instead of unloading serious cash at the drugstore for whitening mouthwash, try three-percent hydrogen peroxide, which you'll find on drugstore shelves for around a dollar a bottle. “Rinsing with [it] can result in whitening benefits such as less bacteria buildup, less inflamed gums, and fresher breath,” says Dr. Sivan Finkel, of NYC’s Dental Parlour. 

Fight foot fungus
If you’ve ever been plagued with athlete’s foot, there’s a good chance all the over-the-counter creams and powders haven’t given you a permanent solution. Instead, put hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle and spritz your feet all over two to three times per day until the symptoms disappear. 

Revive beauty tools
“In small quantities peroxide can be useful to clean artificial makeup brushes weekly,” says Dr. Debra Luftman, dermatologist with the Simple Advisory Board. Dilute peroxide with 50-percent water in a cup or mason jar, stick your best brushes in for five minutes, and then rinse. 

Prevent pimples
One cause of acne is the build-up of bacteria inside pores. Combat germs by swiping a hydrogen peroxide-soaked cotton swab over particularly acne-prone areas and give your existing routine a zit-fighting boost.

Brighten nails
If red polish has left your nails stained, try soaking fingertips in peroxide for three to four minutes. If that doesn’t do the trick, keep swabbing peroxide over the nail beds until the yellow has been fully removed.

Freshen breath
Bad breath is more often than not the result of nasty bacterial overgrowth (not that garlic spinach pizza you had for dinner last night). Try brushing your teeth, then your tongue before gargling with a tablespoon of peroxide for 30 to 60 seconds. 

Whiten fabrics
Instead of harsh bleach, add two full cups of hydrogen peroxide to your load of whites.

D.I.Y deodorant
Wipe hydrogen peroxide under your arms to kill the odor-causing bacteria that's behind body odor.