Many of us have experienced the value of hydrogen peroxide-based cleaners. These cleaning products can do things that conventional cleaning products just can’t do! Hydrogen peroxide-based cleaners generate an oxygen bleach which adds a relatively safe ‘bleaching’ action to your cleaning process. As well as dissolving soils, they can also destroy organic soils by converting them into water and harmless gases.
Hydrogen peroxide is important to the cleaning industry. Despite its great value, it does have some concerns. Most of these concerns center around its instability, which by the way is the property which makes it such a good cleaning agent. Hydrogen peroxide is water (H2O) with an additional oxygen molecule (H2O2). H2O2 wants to give up that extra oxygen and become water, which is extremely stable.
Hydrogen peroxide-based cleaners usually have a pH around 2 to keep the H2O2 stable. This means they are acidic and therefore require proper PPE and handling. H2O2 is an oxidizer, so it is reactive and therefore dangerous when combined with the wrong chemicals. Cleaning staff working with hydrogen peroxide-based products should always have proper chemical handling training and thoroughly review the product safety data sheet or SDS.
When hydrogen peroxide gives up its oxygen, the oxygen desperately wants to bond to something or oxidize it. Oxidizing organic matter is how it cleans or ‘bleaches.’
So, what happens as we increase the pH of our hydrogen peroxide-based cleaner? The higher the pH, the more unstable the hydrogen peroxide…the more it gives up its extra oxygen… the faster it cleans. Previously, manufacturers have struggled to formulate hydrogen peroxide-based cleaners with a pH above 5 or 5.5 due to the inability to manage the increasing instability.
Assuming the above makes sense, then it is understandable why pure cleaning magic is available when a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaner can be manufactured and stay stable for a year with a pH of 8!* Organic soils including body fluids, pet stains, coffee, red wine, food and drink stains disappear without agitation AND now that the product is no longer acidic, it is safe for use on carpet and fabrics. No building or home with people, pets or food in it should be without such a time-saving product.
Hydrogen peroxide, properly formulated, is changing the way we clean.