You Should Keep a Bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide Next to Your Dish Soap — Here’s Why

updated Dec 13, 2021
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Whether you cooked up a delicious lasagna or burned a pot of soup, burnt-on grime is easy to come by and hard to remove. When it comes to conquering caked-on food and grime from dishes, simply scrubbing harder (or using more soap) doesn’t always solve the problem — sometimes, you need to enlist the help of other, more powerful ingredients — like hydrogen peroxide. 

Keeping a bottle of peroxide next to your dish-washing detergent can help when it comes time to banish that stubborn, burned-on food from your cookware, says Bailey Carson, head of cleaning at Handy. Essentially, Carson says, hydrogen peroxide boosts the power of your detergent whether you’re washing by hand or in the dishwasher.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

On its own, it’s a disinfectant that can be used to clean your dishes and other surfaces in your home, Carson says. The de-griming magic you’re looking for happens when you combine it with soap. “When you add peroxide to dish soap, it breaks down into oxygen and water. The soapy water then traps that oxygen, creating bubbles, making your dish soap extra foamy.” 

To harness the full power of peroxide and dish soap, there are a few basic guidelines to follow. First, make sure you use a peroxide that’s between three to six percent dilution (just check the product label first), says Carson. If you’re running your dishwasher, you can add about two ounces of peroxide to your detergent before starting it. You can also add the same amount of peroxide to your dish soap, which will make it a stronger sanitizer for banishing germs.

And if you want to use peroxide to disinfect other surfaces in your home, you can put it into a spray bottle, so it’s easy to grab and spritz on whatever you need, from your countertops to your plates and cups. Just make sure to wipe down your surfaces really well before you spray the peroxide (always clean before you disinfect!). And if you’re using the spray on anything you’ll be eating off of — like dishes — wash the item with soap as normal right after. 

One last thing to keep in mind: As with most household chemicals and store-bought cleaning products, always practice caution when you’re using hydrogen peroxide. In this case, it’s important to avoid mixing vinegar and peroxide (even vinegar-based cleaning products), says Carson. If combined, the two ingredients can create a dangerous acid.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Why You Should Keep a Bottle of Peroxide Next to Your Dish Detergent