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Is it safe to drink hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) for medical reasons?

Question:
Is it true that drinking a small amount of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) with water can kill bacteria in the urinary tract or help in other ways? Is this safe -- or is it dangerous?

Answer:
It is not advisable to ingest (swallow) hydrogen peroxide and there is little evidence of benefit from doing so. Ingesting the more concentrated form (35%), which is sold in some online health food stores, is particularly dangerous. For details, see the full answer >>

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chad16477   February 21, 2018
I keep my toothbrush in a cup with hydrogen peroxide (slightly diluted 3%) every night. Changing the solution once a week. I rinse the brush before using but not vigorously. See any issues with that?

ConsumerLab.com   February 21, 2018
Hi Chad - There doesn't seem to be any danger in doing that, but it might be better to let the brush air dry after disinfecting, rather than remaining in solution over night.

Marni15380   August 10, 2017
I have used 35% hydrogen peroxide as a substitute for bleach to disinfect laundry and get stains out. I wear gloves to transfer it between containers & dilute it etc because when i accidentally splashed a little on my hand, it burned. I can't imagine putting it directly in or on my body anymore than i would bleach.

I grew up using the 3% hydrogen peroxide for disinfecting minor cuts and still do that. I used to rinse my mouth with it if i feel like an irritation might be getting infected, but haven't since my dentist told me that it can actually delay healing, and salt water rinses are effective and less destructive to tissue. The other weird thing i do with it - at times when i've felt i'm getting a sinus infection, i've taken a q-tip with 3% peroxide and *very* gently swabbed a little up in that sinus. It stings a lot and can cause dryness (which increases risk of nosebleed), but i have had it nip an incipient sinus infection in the bud. I don't know if i would tell anyone else to do it though.


donna15916   October 21, 2017
Thank you, for this as a possible option

Deborah11173   August 15, 2016
Steve, would you say that using 3% H2O2 in a 50/50 combination with water as an oral rinse is a good idea, though? I've been using it for years as I've had periodontal issues. I then rinse with plain water.

Btw, I and a friend found that coQ10 was very helpful re: gum issues.

Thanks!

Stephen11140   August 7, 2016
Steve 08/7/16
I am a retired dentist and know that as an oral rinse it can kill anarobic bacteria helping in periodontal disease. I works by releasing one atom of oxygen and leaving behind water. The released oxygen is a single atom, the most reactive form that has an ionic charge. That is the definition of a free radicle. In the original question is was asked about ingesting hydrogen peroxide. We take antioxidents to prevent damage from free radicals so I would have to say that it is not a good idea.

Julie Ann11114   July 28, 2016
I have many wholistic friends who use food grade peroxide and swear by it. I tried it and ended up with Harry tongue a very painful tongue condition. Didn't work for me.

Sarah 11107   July 28, 2016
3% hydrogen peroxide has been recommended to me several times in the past by veterinarians (and used by them in their offices) to induce vomiting in dogs that had ingested rat poison. (With my dog it never worked -- the vets moved on to morphine injections or powder under the eyelid). It is still being recommended on various pet health internet sites in spite of its potential for causing irritation. The dog for whom it did not work must have -- between my efforts and the vet's -- consumed a quart of 3% H2O2 with no apparent ill effects. But I wouldn't try it with my present dog.

Stan11108   July 28, 2016
I am a practicing DVM for 45 yrs & have effectively & safely used peoxide to induce vomiting in hundreds of patients---works about 80% of the time in 15min with 1 or 2 doses. I dilute 1/2 & 1/2 with water to make 1.5% & give 1 tsp per 5lbs body weight, up to 3 tablespoons. Many give snack or bread before peroxide to fill stomach & enhance nausea. Both Plumb's Vet Drug book & Animal Poison Control currently recommend it's use as well. Remember: old peoxide won't fizz, & making pet move around to "shake peroxide" may help too. Also if you need peroxide, you NEED to be consulting your DVM
about additional care/signs to watch for.


Jeanne11109   July 28, 2016
I came down with a virus for 3 days and just wasn't feeling good on the 4th day- and had to go back to work! I work in a functional medical practice that uses a lot of IV therapies. I tried a H2O2 IV and the next day it was if I had never been sick!

I had been skeptical before, but am sold on this one. Next time I have trouble shaking a bug, I will do it again.

ConsumerLab.com   July 28, 2016
As noted in our Answer above, IV administraton of hydrogen peroxide poses dangers. We are not aware of any clinical evidence suggesting that it would help treat a virus. Be careful.

Lisbett15375   August 9, 2017
I had a friend that insisted on taking the oral Hydrogen Peroxide over various days, increasing the dosage and then decreasing. I was very alarmed and at one point he started to look gray in the face. He survived the experience, but I never saw any advantages to doing this.

Reza11131   August 3, 2016
It might also mean you were going to get better anyway and were lucky you didn't have any bad effects. This kind of endorsement can lead other people to try this based on your n of 1 and possibly not be so lucky.

Susan15374   August 9, 2017
How do you know it was a virus? On the fourth day, many viruses resolve on their own, or maybe it was an allergy or...? Your N of 1 example is not proof of efficacy, and there are no randomized controlled trials that proves that this folk remedy reliably cures anything when taken internally or by IV.

This CL Answer initially posted on 7/26/2016. Last updated 2/17/2018.

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