The First Thing You Should Do with a New Bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide

updated May 21, 2021
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Bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide
Credit: Joe Lingeman

I always used to keep hydrogen peroxide on hand for cleaning cuts and scrapes, but I learned pretty recently that this popular use is actually not a good idea. Turns out that the same properties that destroy the cell walls of the bacteria you want to kill also damage healthy cells. (The best way to clean out most cuts and scrapes is with soap and running water.) 

So I took my hydrogen peroxide out of the medicine cabinet, and since then I’ve learned a lot about how else to use it around the house. For instance, you can use hydrogen peroxide to clean your stovetop, whiten grout, and disinfect your dishwasher, among other things. 

One of my favorite ways to use hydrogen peroxide is to clean dirty baking sheets. We all have those baking sheets that are caked with cooked-on grease — grease and crud that seems permanent — but the hydrogen peroxide treatment dissolves the grime and makes them so much more like new. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Clean Baking Sheets

The trick to getting this method to work its best (and it does work) is to catch your pans before a decade goes by — because at that point, nothing’s going to bring your baking sheets back to the glory days. While you don’t have to obsess about keeping them pristine every single time you wash them, using hydrogen peroxide periodically will give them the best chance at maintaining their gleam. But who wants to add “clean baking sheets” to their kitchen task list? 

That’s why, once again, we recommend using the trigger method. Which means tying one task to one action. In this case: Every time you open a new bottle of hydrogen peroxide, use it as a trigger to remind yourself that it’s time for periodic baking sheet maintenance. 

When you first open a new bottle of hydrogen peroxide, screw a spray nozzle onto it. Pull your baking sheets out and spread them over the counter. Sprinkle them liberally with baking soda. You want a pretty even layer with no pan showing through. Spray the baking soda generously with hydrogen peroxide. Let the sheets sit for a good while, preferably overnight. 

Read more: How To Get Your Baking Sheets Looking (Nearly) as Good as New

You’ll see the delightfully disgusting phenomenon of the hydrogen peroxide-soaked baking soda pulling up the grease and grime from your baking sheet and turning the snowy powder a deep, dark brown. Scrape the paste off with a plastic scraper tool and then wash the baking sheets clean.