The Amazing Oxi-Cleaners
Nearly 200 years since its discovery, hydrogen peroxide has become a powerful tool in a cleaner’s toolbox. Recognized for its bleaching effect on natural fibers peroxide was first used in bleaching straw hats, and now finds use across many industries. From torpedo propellant to a treatment for root rot, hydrogen peroxide’s most powerful characteristic is its ability to break down to water and oxygen without toxicity. This incredible characteristic means hydrogen peroxide is even found in toothpastes, something that can’t be said for many other cleaning and bleaching products. Peroxide based cleaning products, or oxi cleaners, are among the safest options for use in the home. It’s non-toxic decomposition makes it ideal for use around pets or children.
Amazingly it is the same ability to break down into oxygen and water that makes peroxide so effective as a cleaning agent. Just as we may use peroxide on a scraped knee to clean germs from the wound, we can use peroxide cleaners to kill germs on surfaces. The oxidizing action readily breaks down the cell walls of fungi, mold, bacteria, and viruses leaving them to die. Science suggests that some anerobic bacteria may be resistant to this oxidising attack as they have a special enzyme that reacts with the peroxide, diluting it and reducing its cleaning strength. Though peroxide may not kill every kind of bacteria, it is also a bacteriostatic agent, meaning it inhibits the bacteria’s ability to reproduce. These combined characteristics, and the ability to attack fungi, mold, and viruses, make for a great choice as a cleaner.
There is currently a great deal of concern over antibacterial resistant strains of bacteria that are becoming increasingly challenging to deal with in medical settings because of the reduced ability for medications that were once effective, to do their job. Luckily, hydrogen peroxide cleaning products can kill or inactivate even the resistant germs. With the government of Canada forecasting a 10x increase in complications from antibiotic resistant germs over the next 30 years, peroxide cleaners may be the answer.
The possible uses for oxi cleaners in the home or at work are plentiful. Odours caused by mold or fungus can be easily stopped dead, organic stains like blood or grass can be effortlessly removed, and shower mildew will loosen up to be simply wiped off. All of this without any harmful by-products to wash down the drain.
As with any cleaner, giving the peroxide cleaner time to do its job is critical. Many people will spray down what they intend on cleaning and immediately wipe it down, but this is not enough time to kill germs. Even with the most powerful and toxic of cleaning agents a certain dwell time, or contact period, is required. Peroxide cleaners will need to sit longer on more soiled jobs and may need to be wiped away and reapplied as it goes to work killing germs and breaks down into oxygen and water. Letting the bubbles work for a minute, or perhaps 10 for heavily soiled spots, will make sure there is time for the hydrogen peroxide cleaner to do its job.
Whether you are tackling the oven, your fish’s aquarium, that sticky highchair, or stains in the carpet, a hydrogen peroxide based cleaner is a great choice. Its uses are plentiful, and the oxygen and water left behind will do no damage to the environment. Try some in your home or business and see how many places you can find to put it to work.