Ordinary chlorine vs hydrogen peroxide as a bleach

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I've bought some of the stuff recently mainly to replace normal household chlorine bleach. It fizzes when it's destroying germs, and unlike ordinary bleach, doesn't smell a fraction as bad (and is great as a mouthwash or completely removing pet smells etc.). Unlike chlorine bleach, it also doesn't leave any toxic residue as it decomposes to oxygen and water.

So my question is: Why aren't we all using h2o2 instead?
 

alxm

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Because we don't want to destroy our clothes?

That's just a stupid idea in every way.
 
Hey, even better, lets all take baths in Hydrozine, and then try to catch a comet.

Why the hell would you use peroxide?!?! Do you wear exlusively white clothing from head to toe?!
 
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Er, not *quite* the answers I expected.

I never mentioned clothes - you wouldn't use household bleach for clothes (having said that, I've heard h2o2 being used for washing, at least for white clothes, but that's certainly not what I bought it for).

Why the hell would you use peroxide?!?!
I've already said. It doesn't smell, and doesn't leave a toxic residue, so it is safer to use around food surfaces etc. Perhaps research it a bit first. It is better than you think. A lot better.
 
Er, not *quite* the answers I expected.

I never mentioned clothes - you wouldn't use household bleach for clothes (having said that, I've heard h2o2 being used for washing, at least for white clothes, but that's certainly not what I bought it for).


I've already said. It doesn't smell, and doesn't leave a toxic residue, so it is safer to use around food surfaces etc. Perhaps research it a bit first. It is better than you think. A lot better.
It doesn't smell... and doesn't leave a "toxic residue"?

:bugeye: Unless you're very chemically sensitive, I'd guess your problems are more to do with scents and bitterant additives.

What evidence do you have comparing Bleach/Peroxide toxicity and rediues?

Oh... and um... hydrogen... oxygen...

AND... yeah bleach is used for clothing, what do you think people used before 'bleach for colors'? What exactly are you cleaning that requires peroxide other than wounds? Soap (without Triclosan etc...) is enough if used properly, and it can give you the nice visual effect of foaming.

Oh, and for wounds, unless you're a glutton for pain, try a preperation of Benzalkonium Chloride.
 

Borek

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Hydrogen peroxide is much less stable, so it can't be stored as effectively as hypochlorites.
 
There would also be concerns about the use of large quantities of H2O2, or rather, the possible stockpiling of it.
 
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Hydrogen peroxide is much less stable, so it can't be stored as effectively as hypochlorites.
Refrigerated, I've heard reports of less than 1% lost per year, more than good enough for domestic use, and probably most industrial uses. If you want, I'll give you citations. In the freezer (the 35% strength doesn't freeze solid AFAIK), I expect it's even better.

I'm pretty sure they use this stuff on trains as I very occasionally have smelt the whiff of HP (which is a far fainter smell than chlorine bleach will ever be, and no I'm not hypersensitive or anything, it's just the smell really is horrible). It also cleared up a patch of dog urine on my carpet so utterly (and without any smell) that the patch smelt better than the rest of the carpet afterwards.

Oh, and no chlorine gas is ever released with HP, thus avoiding accidental dodgy chemical mixes, so no worries about having to wipe everything with water first before using HP.

There are dozens of other common household uses that HP has with a quick search on Google.
 
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I'm more concerned with this notion of comparitive 'toxic residue'. One of the upsides of bleach is that it DOES leave a bacteriostatic/cidal residue; Persoxide's action is passing.

I guess I'm curious what it is you're worried about re: bleach.

Now, for a carpet, I get it... it's the same as "Oxy Clean", but I think I'd go for an enzymatic cleaner first. Depending on what your carpet is made of, you might want to take it easy with H2O2.
 

Borek

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Refrigerated, I've heard reports of less than 1% lost per year
If you need to keep it cold it means additional cost.

I have no idea why hypochlorites are used, but they are - and not because we don't know about hydrogen peroxide. My bet is there is economy behind. Perhaps safety as well.

Do you think we would be using hypochlorites if hydrogen peroxide was really better?
 
The fact that (sale/ownership of) large concentrations/amounts of H2O2 are monitored is a telling thing...
 
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I'm more concerned with this notion of comparitive 'toxic residue'. One of the upsides of bleach is that it DOES leave a bacteriostatic/cidal residue; Persoxide's action is passing.
Yes, that's a good point. However, I'm thinking of things like food surfaces, or items which involve skin contact (taps, door handles etc.). h2o2 will completely break down after a while obviously, so it's a true "spray/wipe and forget" cleaning procedure. Also, we don't need complete sterilization in our homes - a certain amount of germs can't be bad ("what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" etc.).

So other than that, my main point was about the strong smell, and maybe about the potential for chlorine gas from normal bleach and therefore the inconvenience of being careful where you use it before wiping with water (horror story here - granted, I'm sure that's very rare).

I have no idea why hypochlorites are used, but they are - and not because we don't know about hydrogen peroxide. My bet is there is economy behind. Perhaps safety as well.
I don't know why we all don't use it either - hence my post to this forum. I DO know however that it's definitely used in hospitals/ambulances, and maybe public areas and transport like trains.

You mentioned economy. I would hope that if there are economical reasons, it isn't because of the potential for greed (less money in HP and no patent issues). I know you didn't mean it like that, and I generally hate conspiracy theories, so we'll leave it at that.

However, I'm sure there would be a market for "Odorless bleach (NEW!)".

Safety for hydrogen peroxide is er, interesting. According to various material safety data sheets out there, 35% strength is 4/4 corrosive, but evidence would appear otherwise according to my (accidental) experience and also this Youtube video. However, people react differently, so I'm sure that to some, a drop of 35% solution would indeed give a nasty burn. The IDLH limit is 75ppm, or 1ppm over 8 hours. You also don't want to swallow HP, though I'm not sure how that compares to SH.

In any case, it can be bought at a weaker strength, though economy could be a problem then (but then the same would apply to Sodium hypochlorite?).

The fact that (sale/ownership of) large concentrations/amounts of H2O2 are monitored is a telling thing...
Again, I would hope that has nothing to do with it, since it would be stupid to deny the masses of such an amazing substance just because of paranoia.
 
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Borek

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it would be stupid to deny the masses of such an amazing substance just because of paranoia.
Sadly, paranoia taking over common sense is a standard approach.
 
Yes, that's a good point. However, I'm thinking of things like food surfaces, or items which involve skin contact (taps, door handles etc.). h2o2 will completely break down after a while obviously, so it's a true "spray/wipe and forget" cleaning procedure. Also, we don't need complete sterilization in our homes - a certain amount of germs can't be bad ("what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" etc.).

So other than that, my main point was about the strong smell, and maybe about the potential for chlorine gas from normal bleach and therefore the inconvenience of being careful where you use it before wiping with water (horror story here - granted, I'm sure that's very rare).


I don't know why we all don't use it either - hence my post to this forum. I DO know however that it's definitely used in hospitals/ambulances, and maybe public areas and transport like trains.

You mentioned economy. I would hope that if there are economical reasons, it isn't because of the potential for greed (less money in HP and no patent issues). I know you didn't mean it like that, and I generally hate conspiracy theories, so we'll leave it at that.

However, I'm sure there would be a market for "Odorless bleach (NEW!)".

Safety for hydrogen peroxide is er, interesting. According to various material safety data sheets out there, 35% strength is 4/4 corrosive, but evidence would appear otherwise according to my (accidental) experience and also this Youtube video. However, people react differently, so I'm sure that to some, a drop of 35% solution would indeed give a nasty burn. The IDLH limit is 75ppm, or 1ppm over 8 hours. You also don't want to swallow HP, though I'm not sure how that compares to SH.

In any case, it can be bought at a weaker strength, though economy could be a problem then (but then the same would apply to Sodium hypochlorite?).


Again, I would hope that has nothing to do with it, since it would be stupid to deny the masses of such an amazing substance just because of paranoia.
Hmmmm... OK, I'll do some research on this, you've piqued by my curiosity, and your last point is inescapable. Certainly it's no more dangerous that ammonium nitrate fertalizer.
 
that concentrated H2O2 (30% or so) was making the rounds in the alternative medicine crowd. i thought FDA was going to put its foot down on the issue, but haven't really followed it. various grades seem to be available, still, at least online.

in the US, we use hypochlorite bleach for whites, and some kind of "oxygenating" bleach for colored clothes. i'm not really sure what the colored-clothes bleach uses, but it's not chlorine. chlorine bleach will damage colored clothes. and oxygen bleaches don't seem to be that effective on whites.

the 35% H2O2 may be dangerous, but apparently the concentration used in propellants is much higher: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_test_peroxide

^ about the ammonium nitrate, i don't think it's as easy to buy in quantity since 9/11. at least not in a non-diluted form.
 
that concentrated H2O2 (30% or so) was making the rounds in the alternative medicine crowd. i thought FDA was going to put its foot down on the issue, but haven't really followed it. various grades seem to be available, still, at least online.

in the US, we use hypochlorite bleach for whites, and some kind of "oxygenating" bleach for colored clothes. i'm not really sure what the colored-clothes bleach uses, but it's not chlorine. chlorine bleach will damage colored clothes. and oxygen bleaches don't seem to be that effective on whites.

the 35% H2O2 may be dangerous, but apparently the concentration used in propellants is much higher: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_test_peroxide

^ about the ammonium nitrate, i don't think it's as easy to buy in quantity since 9/11. at least not in a non-diluted form.
Exactly, and farmers are regularly inspected and tracked by the ATF.
 

Borek

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about the ammonium nitrate, i don't think it's as easy to buy in quantity since 9/11. at least not in a non-diluted form.
And not after Oklahoma City bombing?
 
And not after Oklahoma City bombing?
AFAIK, that's when the current rules by the ATF were put in place, after Oklahoma City.
 
And not after Oklahoma City bombing?
yeah, that one. oops. it was a few years earlier, too. funny, i remember when i was in high school my dad had a 50lb bag of it in the shed. i had briefly considered experimenting with it until i read that oxides of nitrogen could end up being a lot of nasty things.
 
yeah, that one. oops. it was a few years earlier, too. funny, i remember when i was in high school my dad had a 50lb bag of it in the shed. i had briefly considered experimenting with it until i read that oxides of nitrogen could end up being a lot of nasty things.
The more I get to know curious people, who were bright and curious as kids... the more I'm amazed we're not all dead before adulthood.

Hell, I once sifted the magnesium shaving out of Drano, mixed it with some other things, and started a reaction that made snow appear to burn. Looking back, I'm lucky it didn't blow up in my face, literally... clueless idiot that I was.

Then you have your rocketeer friends, your electronics guys and gals (zzzt!), etc... etc...

Hell, I heard a story (secondhand) of a kid who made a pipe bomb in my old neighborhood out of firework innards cardboard, and aluminum foil. Mind you, he apparantly called it a big firework, but the police took some convincing, or so it's said.
 
The more I get to know curious people, who were bright and curious as kids... the more I'm amazed we're not all dead before adulthood.

Hell, I once sifted the magnesium shaving out of Drano, mixed it with some other things, and started a reaction that made snow appear to burn. Looking back, I'm lucky it didn't blow up in my face, literally... clueless idiot that I was.

Then you have your rocketeer friends, your electronics guys and gals (zzzt!), etc... etc...

Hell, I heard a story (secondhand) of a kid who made a pipe bomb in my old neighborhood out of firework innards cardboard, and aluminum foil. Mind you, he apparantly called it a big firework, but the police took some convincing, or so it's said.
yeah, i went to high school with a kid that caught a piece of pipe shrapnel in his knee. and i did the fireworks thing myself, but with soft plastic and a lot of salt. i do not recommend it.

anyhoo, getting back on topic. i looked on the label of the granular oxygen bleach here, and what it uses is a mixture of sodium carbonate (water softener) and sodium percarbonate, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_percarbonate" [Broken]. so it seems the answer is that we do use hydrogen peroxide as laundry bleach, just not normally on white clothes. perhaps someone else can check to see if actual hydrogen peroxide is used in liquid formulations of bleach for colored clothes.
 
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yeah, i went to high school with a kid that caught a piece of pipe shrapnel in his knee. and i did the fireworks thing myself, but with soft plastic and a lot of salt. i do not recommend it.

anyhoo, getting back on topic. i looked on the label of the granular oxygen bleach here, and what it uses is a mixture of sodium carbonate (water softener) and sodium percarbonate, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_percarbonate" [Broken]. so it seems the answer is that we do use hydrogen peroxide as laundry bleach, just not normally on white clothes. perhaps someone else can check to see if actual hydrogen peroxide is used in liquid formulations of bleach for colored clothes.
Yep... it's something I think we all try (given enough Geekage), and we either live with the scars and learn our lesson, or come close to being maimed with the same result.

*sigh*... it was fun to be so innocent that one could think that chemistry was just a playground... ah well.
 
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Though hypochlorite breaks down in storage --I had to test our tankers of it every week-- peroxide decomposition can be catalysed with unfortunate effects. There's no accident that 'hi test' peroxide bottles are vented for safety.

FWIW, we managed to accidentally 'burn' a hole through a T-shirt with some 'Once' mouth-ulcer treatment that contained peroxide...

IIRC, hypochlorite bleach just needs electrolysis of stirred brine. Peroxide is trickier, and intolerant of many minerals. But, yes, it sterilises without leaving salt residues...

Uh, when strict controls on 'hi test' peroxide were enforced, I spent some time trying to find if eg calcium or magnesium would dissolve in liquid ammonia --NOT Ammonia Solution-- the same way as eg Sodium or Potassium can produce a golden 'metallic' liquid. The idea was to have a rocket fuel with a 'harmless' ingredient dissolved in the ammonia which would react with the extra water in the safely dilute peroxide...
 

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