The Different Uses and Properties of Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a very useful chemical and it is one of those compounds you usually see inside your homes. Most people working with the compound know how important it is. In fact, you can see the application of this simple peroxide compound in different fields. This compound is actually more interesting than what we know. Based on the rules assigned when naming compounds, you can call it hydrogen dioxide although this is a remotely popular name. It shares the same elements as water, by containing only oxygen and hydrogen atoms, but it has one more oxygen atom. And this molecular difference creates all the difference, as water and this peroxide don’t share too many common properties. To say the least, you cannot drink the peroxide compound.

The botanical applications of this compound have never been discussed in so many books. But little does anyone know that rainwater may contain this compound. Traces of this compound in rainwater makes it more effective than tap water to use for plants, but as the atmosphere gets more polluted, the peroxide compound reacts with the gaseous pollutants. Thus, much less of the peroxide chemical reaches the ground. This is why farmers spray their crops with dilute solutions of this substance.

Let’s talk a bit about the physical properties of this compound. You write it down either as H2O2 or HOOH. The former describes the number of hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the molecule while the latter tells the molecular arrangement, at least the sequence of the atoms in the structure. The chemical has no odor and no color. It is stable under proper conditions but is usually volatile. Without radiation and contamination, HOOH can last long with a dissociation rate of 10% a year.

Note that the chemical formula of this compound is like H2O plus an O (oxygen atom), which is a reactive element and is known as a free radical. Can you recall popular knowledge saying that free radicals hasten aging and cause cellular mutation? However, in safe amounts, free radicals can help the body fight harmful microbes. In fact, H2O2 owes its disinfecting and antiseptic properties from its oxidizing power. You see the evolution of small bubbles when you rinse your wound or cut. The gas bubbles are actually oxygen being released as the chemical kills the bacteria. However, too much of this compound may also harm the tissues. Anyway, our bodies also produce this chemical in small amounts but it is actually a waste product that is quickly decomposed by enzymes.

It may have undesirable health effects but it does have some health benefits. According to some research studies, HOOH takes part in some chemical reactions in the body. There is a remarkable discovery that exposes how HOOH is produced when vitamin C activates your defenses and how lactobacilli in the large intestine and vaginal lining produce the peroxide. The production of this peroxide is thought to be responsible for regulating the populations of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that may otherwise cause various infections.

Some recommend a very dilute solution of the peroxide as an enema in case the population of pathogenic bacteria or viruses in the colon increases too much. The solution can be prepared by mixing 3 teaspoons of 3% HOOH in a quart of water, preferably distilled. You may want to consult your GP before going through this process. One of the most popular uses of household peroxide is being an oral antiseptic which can be achieved by diluting it in water. Then use this solution to gargle. This is the cheapest mouthwash solution.