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hydrogen peroxide: a cinderella story

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by Clarence Totleben
Plant Manager
APCO Packaging

Once upon a time, there was an ordinary household chemical. It was found in every medicine cabinet in America. Contained in a familiar brown bottle, it was used to disinfect a child’s skinned knee, put a blonde streak in a woman’s hair, sanitize hard surfaces in hospitals, clean toothbrushes, whiten teeth, bleach paper, purify water, make plants grow and even propel rockets.

This magical compound was not the invention of some mad scientist, but fell to earth naturally, in rain.

The diverse utility of peroxide inspired a book, written by Rebecca Mundt, called "101 Home Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide." Her book not only offers specific instructions for the many uses of peroxide, but explains the dangers of one of the most ubiquitous toxic household chemicals-- sodium hypochlorite.

Sodium hypochlorite is one of the most effective bleaches and disinfectants ever made, but also one of the most dangerous to humans and the environment because it contains chlorine.

By contrast, hydrogen peroxide is not only versatile, but also ecologically sound and non-toxic under normal use. As such, it is rapidly replacing chlorine bleach as the cleansing and sanitizing chemical of choice.

In powdered cleaning formulations, hydrogen peroxide’s dry form, sodium percarbonate, can be used in place of phosphates & chlorine bleach; leaving our water clearer, while cleaning and brightening our clothes.

Although banned for use in laundry detergents for many years, phosphates still were used in dishwashing detergents until recently. Now, more earth-friendly formulations use hydrogen peroxide. Like its less “green” predecessor, peroxide bleaches and sanitizes. Unlike phosphates, it does not present a problem for water purification plants.

Probably one of the most well-known “Cinderella stories” about oxygenating cleaners is the amazing success story of Oxi-Clean®, a multi-purpose granular cleaner. The public response was wildly enthusiastic to this cleanser that was powerful, as well as kind to household materials, human beings and the environment. It was a marketing breakthrough, and became the standard for oxygenated general use cleaners.

When considering changing a formulation to include hydrogen peroxide, consider working with a contract manufacturer with personnel, facilities and systems specifically geared for handling oxygenated cleaners.